Boyz in the Woods: Coyote Tells It Like It Is

It’s the Chinese Year of the Dog, and just the other night we heard a distant coyote family howling under a full moon. So it seemed only right that we revisit this column from the early years of In the Same Boat. Coyote doesn’t have an easy time of it in the Adirondack foothills these days. Pursued by dogs, targeted by “varmint” hunters, “harvested” by trappers… Coyote finds enemies everywhere he turns. But make no mistake: He’s not giving up. Coyote is here to stay.

by Tamia Nelson | January 5, 2018

A Note to the Reader

It was early evening. Cool, but not cold — in the 20s, in fact. Warm for February. A light dusting of new snow covered the bare ground, reflecting the pale silver light of a waxing moon. I stepped outside. Except for a barking dog in the far distance, the ‘Flow was quiet. Suddenly, a shrill yip shattered the stillness. It was immediately answered by a second. The distant dog stopped barking. Silence. Then there was a third yip. And another. And yet another. And soon a swelling chorus of yips and tremolos sounded from one end of the ‘Flow to the other, their echoes rebounding from the hills and swirling over the ice.

The howling seemed to come from everywhere at once. Behind me, I heard the shuffle of a deer, moving slowly up the slope into the shadowed woods.

The chorus continued. Farwell joined me, and we listened for a few minutes before going back inside. Next morning, on the snowy surface of the hill that rose behind the house, I saw the deer’s tracks — a deer with a dragging foot. And superimposed on the faltering footsteps of the deer, the four‑toed tracks of one other creature. There was no sign that the second animal was in any hurry.

Later that morning, when I sat down at my computer, I found this message… Read more…

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For half a century, Tamia Nelson has been ranging far and wide by bike, boat, and on foot. A geologist by training, an artist since she could hold a pencil, a photographer since her uncle gave her a twin-lens reflex camera when she was 10, she's made her living as a writer and novelist for two decades. Avocationally her interests span natural history, social history, cooking, art, and self-powered outdoor pursuits, and she has broad experience in mountaineering, canoeing, kayaking, cycling, snowshoeing and skiing.