Yesterday Nikita And I had an eerie encounter with a coyote.
Although you can’t see it in the photo very well (think Where’s Waldo, people! ) a coyote was hiding in the bushes along one of our most frequent paths, Dawson Park Trail.
I didn’t know this, and when Nikita came running out of the bush playing with a dog that looked like a husky cross, I thought nothing of it for a minute. Then it clicked that she was ‘playing’ with a coyote, not a dog. I was astounded. I’ve never seen a coyote that brave, nor encountered one so close.
I called Nikita away and we kept walking–I didn’t want to let random, possibly unfounded, fears about coyotes ruin our walk and this one was alone and acting harmless.
As we walked away, though, I looked back and saw another coyote watching is on top of a short hill. And the one Nikita had played with was following us.
We kept walking and every time I checked over my shoulder, the coyote was a little closer. But it didn’t seem terribly aggressive so I ignored it until I turned around and it was maybe 15 feet away from us, staring at Nikita and creeping towards her in what looked a lot like a stalking position; it was slightly crouched, ears flattened and moving slowly.
At that point I was nervous, so I shouted at it but it ignored me. I’m not sure if at that point I yelled lost and it turned and ran, or if Nikita charged it, but it took off and Nikita followed.
Now, this is a classic coyote hunting move. They are known to send out scouts who lure a dog back to the pack, who will then attack.
So I yelled at the top of my lungs for Nikita to come back, but for a nervous minute I thought she was going to ignore me, until she turned around and came back.
The coyote didn’t follow us again. I don’t know what convinced it, Nikita’s chase or my yelling, but it apparently decided Nikita wasn’t worth the hassle, thankfully.
I immediately called my brother. One summer he got a job with a research group in the city that tags, tracks and monitors Edmonton’s urban coyotes.
My brother told me that there is a website, edmontonurbancoyotes.ca, where you can report sightings. He also said there is a group called the
River Valley Rangers, who will take coyote reports as well and can be reached via 311 in Edmonton.
So if you happen to have an encounter with a coyote or even just see one, be more careful than I was and stay away from it.
You can report your sighting on the website or over the phone. These nreports help the groups monitor coyote behaviour and keep humans and animals alike safe.
(If you look really carefully, you can see the coyote on the hill. I would have taken the time to get a better picture, since it got so close to me, except I was concerned for my dog’s safety. C’est la vie.)