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WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Those haunting howls still echo

WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Those haunting howls still echo


From what I have been hearing, coyotes have been sighted a lot more, and while this can be unsettling to many, they can be found just about anywhere, even in our suburbs.

In our area, I believe the first coyote was noted in the 1950s. If memory serves me correctly, it was taken by a local sportsman and even made the newspapers back then.

But this would not be the last time the pesky varmints have been encountered.

In my many years in the outdoors, I have had some encounters with coyotes, most of them fleeting, but there were a couple of times that I began to worry.

My very first encounter with a coyote was while bowhunting for deer in Vermont with my brother Paul. We were hunting an old apple orchard abutted by an abandoned hayfield. It was a beautiful fall evening and as I made my way back to the truck under the light of a full moon, I heard the mournful howl of a nearby coyote.

And, yes, it made me a bit leery because the howl of the coyote was really haunting, for want of a better word.

I met up with Paul and we listened to the coyote for bit, and then headed back to his home for supper. To this day, that encounter is still very vivid in my mind.

My next two encounters with coyotes occurred while hunting deer in Maine. The first came when I was on a stand waiting for a deer to come my way. I was sitting on the ground with my back against a stump when I caught movement coming down the hillside in front of me.

My heart kicked into gear when I saw it was a huge coyote. I knew a trapper in the area who would love to have its hide, so I decided to take it if I got a chance. My first shot missed and the coyote started to sprint towards me!

I missed it on the second shot and, as I got ready to fire a third shot, the critter was leaping over me!

We both escaped the incident unscathed. When I asked a Maine biologist what he thought of the incident, he said that that the coyote must have mistaken me for a meal and, when it got close enough, it must have realized what I was and beat feet out of the area.

And, yes, I know this sounds far-fetched, but believe me it did happen.

My next encounter also happened in Maine. I was in a hunting spot in the woods a couple of miles from our camp. Just as the sun began to set, I heard the howl of a coyote off to my left. And then another off to my right. And then it seemed like I was surrounded by coyotes.

I decided to head back to camp and was escorted out of the woods by coyotes who never came close enough to put me in danger, but they sure had my attention. I kept yelling and cursing at them at the top of my voice as I made my way back to the camp.

To this day, I do not believe that I was in any danger, but the memory of that walk out of the dark Maine woods is still fresh in my mind.

While hunting in Connecticut, I have seen numerous coyotes while in a treestand and never had an incident with any of them.

The problem they present at this time is if they get too comfortable living in the suburbs. They will eat just about anything, including small pet dogs and cats. Our niece in Haddam had one come right up onto her porch and grab a pet cat.

Fortunately, she was nearby and ran screaming at the coyote. The critter dropped the cat while it was still alive and ran off into the woods.

Believe me when I tell you the coyotes are just about everywhere and should be treated with caution. Do not feed them.

The CT DEEP says to be aware of any coyote behaving abnormally or exhibiting bold behavior, like approaching people for food, attacking leashed pets that are with their owners, stalking children or chasing joggers and bikers.

Any of these incidents should be reported to the authorities immediately.

Also, I know that many dog owners who hike and like to let their pets run off leash. When in the woods, with the increase of coyotes and black bears, this is not a good idea. Wild critters ARE NOT cartoon characters.

As for the coyotes, they seem to be able to survive just about anywhere. If you should keep seeing one in your yard, report it to the proper authorities.

St. Jude’s Day

The Meriden Rod & Gun Club will hold its annual fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital on Saturday, Oct. 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the club grounds on Ravens Lane in South Meriden.

Your $10 donation will get you all of the domestic and game food you can eat for the entire day. The food NEVER runs out!

Entry also allows use of the firing range and trap field for qualified firearms owners. There will also be a HUGE dportsmen’s raffle that has become famous over the years.

The event will take place rain or shine because childhood cancer does not let the weather prevent it from taking the lives of so many innocent children.

St. Jude founder Danny Thomas once said, “No child should die in the dawn of life.” The gang at the Meriden Rod & Gun Club believe that with all of their hearts. I hope to see you there.

See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops, police, firefighters and first responders wherever they may be serving our great country.