Eastern coyote
coyote slope

Yesterday Skippy and I went for a walk in Estabrook Woods, a 1200 acre undeveloped tract of land in Concord, MA (about 12 mi from my house). We walked about a mile out on the trail at dusk. Very quiet and beautiful with the snow cover and trees glowing red. I always watch for coyotes, as they are pretty plentiful here now. Even near our house. But I’ve not seen one until now.

Unfortunately, I’m not so calm about wild animals and was not able to get a steady photo with the focus in the right spot. The coyote wasn’t very far off (100 ft). He was a stunning animal. About same size as Skippy (55 lbs), maybe a bit bigger, with a rich thick coat of fur. He looked very well fed and healthy.

After leashing Skippy and taking the photos, I panicked, turned and ran the mile back to my car. Silly. From looking at my second photo, it looks like he ran away from me as fast as I ran from him.

11 Comments. Leave new

  • Hi, a fellow Mass resident here. I stumbled upon your blog and have enjoyed reading it. This will be my first year growing veggies, it has been fun to read your experiences. I am on the South Coast so slight difference in zoneage. Oh, and your pizza has me drooling at 9am!

    I don’t blame you from running after your coyote encounter, if I am outside at night with the dogs and we here one none of us can get in the house fast enough, LOL.

    Happy gardening, let us know how those bulbs work for you. I bought cool white but would upgrade if it makes a difference for next year.

  • Those coyotes in recent years really have expanded their range into the suburbs. In Winchester we occasionally get them, but not very often. The foxes seem more prevalent.

  • Coyotes around here are actually pretty small – 35-40 lbs. They have very thick coats though, and honestly, I run away from everything, it could be a fox kit that’s adorable – I’d still run away and take pictures from the car! We actually have a whole bunch of Coyotes in Belmont – the local animal control officer John gives talks on them – they have killed a lot of cats in Belmont over the last few years. I’m always on the look out for them at Beaver Brook and the community gardens – but I haven’t seen one yet.

  • About a month ago I was half way through our walk in the suburbs and saw a coyote. It was about 7am. I think it was an adolescent approx 40lbs. We get a lot around where we live but they usually stay on the hills.

  • I pulled up the large version on flickr, the coyotes front paw looks like it is lifted, just ready to turn around. You really don’t know what wildlife will do, especially when you have an animal with you. You have good reason to not be calm.

    I was photographing a Moose under a similar setting in Algonquin last fall. It is tough to get a focused shot when there is branches in the way. I have had pretty good results leaving the camera on continuous shot mode and slightly panning the camera around well holding down the shot button. That way the camera will refocus each time and you can get 10 or so shots off in a few seconds… Then Run 🙂

  • Kathy … I used to live in Storrs, CT in the middle of a lot of woods. We had a lot of coyotes around and one summer day, middle of the afternoon,one went walking through the top of my property. I was watching her move through when my dog (35 lbs) saw it. He was running free in the yard and so went up and the coyote let the dog get close … then bit him on the haunch to the extent of stitches. I think the coyote was a bitch, otherwise it would have done greater damage to my dog.

  • The coyote is beautiful. I would be scared too, not knowing what a wild animial might do, it was wise to leash Skippy, he must be a well trained dog. We have to remeber human greed has flushed these animals out of their natural habitats.

  • pjkobulnicky, I’m glad your dog was OK. This is my understanding too. That a coyote is looking for dinner, while a dog may be expecting to play.

    A friend of mine told me a story about a meeting she had with a pack of coyotes. This happened very near my community garden, in Belmont, and I take it seriously as Skippy and I spend a lot of time there. She was alone with 2 dogs: her cautious large dog and a neighbor’s playful small young dog. She saw a coyote approach the small dog and appeared to be playing (luring?). The small dog followed. In the direction they went, my friend then saw a group of coyotes.

    Fortunately, the small dog didn’t go far. My friend (a small brave woman) ended up facing down the pack at close range. Her big cautious dog stood her ground just in front of her. They all stared at each other. She felt that turning to run would not have worked this situation. The small dog was probably the coyotes’ interest. (Coyotes in Belmont have taken numerous cats in past years.) Eventually the pack leader broke the stare, she said, and they turned and moved off.

    I think my friend’s large cautious, well trained dog was very good in this situation. He stood by her and didn’t go looking for play.

    I think Skippy is similar. I am glad to notice these days that he is very cautions with other dogs. He defaults to staying near me when in question. In any new area or dimming light he walks close by my side.

    I try to train him to meet the situations we may encounter. He comes well when I call with a serious tone to my voice. I’m VERY glad that it was no problem to immediately leash him when I saw the coyote the other day.

  • Given all that, I’m looking forward to another next encounter with another beautiful wild animal and trying Dan’s photo method!

  • Coyotes get a lot of disrespect, I think, but like all wildlife, it is a good idea to use some extra caution. It is unusual here (northwestern PA) to see them in the daylight, more often they are nocturnal and secretive.
    Enjoy the blog a lot but can’t even think of planting anything much before the end of March, peas outside (if the snow cover ever melts)tomatoes and peppers inside.

  • We have a lot of coyotes out in the Berkshires. They’re basically just shy, scruffy, flea-covered wild dogs–they tend to be timid and I’ve never had a negative experience with them though I hear them every night and see them occasionally. You do have to be careful about pets though–particularly outdoor cats.


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