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Saturday, November 2, 2013


the bear

the bear and 2 coyotes--black coyote on right

bear and coyote
bear two nights before

These pictures were taken by a field camera triggered by motion, strapped to a tree. The place in the foreground  where the light is concentrated is the "bait pile," deer corn strewn over the ground and apples spread on the ground. The lore on coyotes says they don't eat apples. One of the pictures is a coyote with an apple in its mouth. It's the apples the coyotes are looking for here. The camera is about a tenth of a mile from my house on the other side of the road. I've been told bears were  in here, have seen traces, like at a rise in the road about half way between house and camera site a bear has been taking a dump on the road at the highest place that overlooks a great part of this valley between ridges. The camera recorded that the bear lay down comfortably in this place for two and a quarter hours. Coons, deer and coyotes passed through the pictures, the bear watching. I presume the bear knows the coyotes, the coons and the deer from nightly sightings. The bear is huge, estimated at 400+ pounds. From the standing picture, the bear looks pregnant to me, at least swollen up toward winter hibernation. I've become acquainted with this bear through the photographs. Since it appears comfortable here and has evidently been here several years, explaining the bear droppings on the place in the road that reappear from time to time, I feel like this is my bear sharing the mountain with me, my God-given neighbor.
coyote with apple in its mouth
ninja raccoon faces coyote intruder
coyote turns away
deer and raccoons
Most interesting to me, seeing this line of 500 images in the course of a couple of days and a nights, is seeing the critters living in the woods around here do not attack each other on sight. In a couple of the pictures, coons and coyotes face each other. In one of them the coon is standing on its back feet in a martial arts fighting stance (195). The coyote looks on with apprehension, body language saying, Looking for trouble I am not. Next frame (196) occurs in the same minute, the coyote showing its side, showing itself not a threat. Ninja Raccoon relaxes his stance. I believe, one-on-one, a coon could shred a coyote's face in a hurry. Two or more coyotes, I believe, could subdue a coon, but they'd have to be swift, which they are, and experienced, which they are, and work as a team, which they do. It appears the bait pile, like a watering hole, is a safe zone where it is collectively agreed, no killing at the communal kitchen. Until one of the deer feels for a split second the shaft of an arrow pierce the heart. My hunter friend, the only one with permission to hunt this part of the woods, is recording times the bucks pass through. The camera also gives him an idea of what is living in these woods. He had always been told coyotes don't eat apples. Turns out they do. It also turns out he is feeding the night critters of Air Bellows, day critters too. I'm feeding the birds here at the house and the donkeys with sunflower seeds and carrots. He's feeding everything else with corn and apples.
all four pictures the black coyote
I found several pictures of the black coyote, the one easily mistaken for wolf. I went looking at google images for wolves and coyotes. The long thin snout is coyote. A wolf's snout is more like a dog's. It looks like the black coyote travels on his own. Possibly he's the leader of the pack, top dog, scouting all the time, looking for something of interest. If it will take more than one, like maybe a lone calf in a meadow, he rounds up the pack and lays out his plan for attack. Don't get attached to any of the animals in these pictures. This plot of ground is no more than a slice of pepperoni on their whole pizza. They have an extensive range. Humans are looking to kill the deer and the coyotes as well as a bear. Humans don't kill the coons so much anymore, but going by the apparent understanding between the coon and the coyote, coons know that coyotes like raccoon meat. In the picture above, the back of the black coyote, notice his left front leg is missing, though its shadow is on the ground. His leg is raised carefully in slow motion, turning to the right to place his foot silently on dry leaves. Or maybe he's just trotting through, seeing what he can see, smelling the scent of every coyote, coon, squirrel, crow, turkey, deer, bear, human that had passed in and out of the communal kitchen, listening for any sound of footsteps on dry leaves. Whatever he is doing, he is doing it in full consciousness in the present moment. 
the reaper

While I was writing about the black coyote, three college-age girls came to the door and asked permission to park here and walk to the waterfalls. They'd been told the waterfalls are beautiful. Here I am, looking at these pictures for a few hours, writing about what I see, and three girls whose probable closest acquaintance with wildlife might be the cats they grew up with, I felt it important to advise them of what is in these woods. The bigger ones, the coyotes and the bears, are new to the area, the reason I don't go walking in the woods anymore. I advised them to step on twigs, talk a lot, make noise, let everything know a bunch of humans is passing through. I told them they won't see anything, because everything will see them first and go someplace else. I said none of these animals is looking to get you. They don't want to get you. They will leave you alone. If you see one, don't run. I said running means to them you want to play chase. You lose. Stand still like they do when they see one another. Show absence of aggression. My final advice, "Be wary. Don't worry." I came back to the house. I think they went back to the car and left. My hunter friends, who know what is going on in these woods, only go into the woods with a gun that has stopping power. Friend, who hunts here, walks into the woods in bow season, arrow in place. The only time he will require is the time it takes to pull back the string and let it go. I used to say nothing to city people visiting waterfalls about the possibility of running into a bear, coyote or wolf, but now that I know what is in these woods, I feel obliged to warn city people with no country experience about what they're getting into. Give them a chance to make a decision. It's no petting zoo.
the bear

1 comment:

  1. wow. i spent a lot of time in there when I was in high school....glad I never ran into mama bear.