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Friday, February 3, 2017



     Lately there have been more and more incidents of coyote engagements in Westchester, as their population grows and their habitat shrinks. The problem is not so easy to deal with, so this is a good time to learn more about coyotes and how to deal with them. Back in the old days, you could just order an anvil from the Acme company and figure out a way for it to drop onto the coyote's head. Alternatively, you could paint a large mural of a roadrunner in front of a cliff and wait for it to break through the mural and fall to its death. But today's times are different and there are probably coyote's rights groups organizing a protest right now.

     Coyotes are most likely to attack at dusk and at dawn. Rarely do they do anything during brunch hours. We hear them sometimes at night, the howling that sounds like a car alarm going off just as the battery is dying. Coyotes howl to affirm their status in the group, or to communicate their presence to other groups. Unlike my dog, who barks incessantly at the sound of a doorbell on TV. If it rings in real life she couldn't care less, but in her defense, the people who ring the doorbells on television are more interesting.

     Coyotes sometimes travel in a pack. You wouldn't have to worry too much if they traveled in the same pack that batteries come in, where I need to get a knife from the kitchen drawer and stab at the plastic like a serial killer until the batteries come spilling out and roll underneath the cabinets, where I have to fish them out all full of dust and small pieces of bacon and little stab wounds from the assault and battery upon the battery. But I'm not going to get off topic and talk about how angry that gets me. Let me just say that if I had a 20 millimeter Vulcan anti-aircraft gun I would line up all the packages of batteries and blast them, if I could be sure that Vulcan anti-aircraft guns don't run on batteries.

     Anyway, the point is that coyotes are rarely interested in picking a fight with people; they are usually involved in territorial disputes with dogs, not humans. For this reason, you should not allow dogs, especially small ones, to run free. How much you should charge them to run is up to you.

     Coyotes are most aggressive during mating season, which runs from January to March. If a coyote hasn't hooked up by April, it may simply be coming to you for advice.

     Experts agree that once coyotes identify you as human, they will avoid engagement with you. Make human noises and try to look as large as possible if confronted by one, and open your coat or hold your backpack above your head.  Do things that only a human would do, so that the coyote is absolutely positive about whom it is dealing with. For instance, take a selfie of yourself salsa dancing during the encounter, or try to explain to the coyote why Justin Bieber or Kim Kardashian is worth millions.

     Don't go running around in the woods wearing red cape like Little Red Riding Hood. Isn't that what a bullfighter uses to get the bull all riled up? So if there's a bull out there it's going to find her, the wolf is already penciled in, and with that picnic basket there is going to be an army of ants. There is probably a witch out there too, as if things weren't bad enough. If she thinks this is a recipe for a great day she is living in a fairy tale, let me tell you.

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