This week, Offbeat Outdoors serves up a trio of unusual tales about America’s prolific wild canine, the coyote.
Bass Angler Catches Coyote
Onalaska, Wis., angler Darren Zumach was fishing for bass on a Mississippi River slough when he received a cell phone call from his buddy Bruce Chandler, who was in a separate boat in the same general area. His pal and sometimes-tournament partner informed him that he’d just hooked a 25- to 30-pound pound coyote and needed some help landing and releasing it.
“What have you been smoking?” Zumach matter-of-factly asked his buddy.
But sure enough, when Zumach motored to Chandler’s location near Goose Island, he found the Holmen, Wis., fisherman engaged in an unlikely on-the-water battle with an adult coyote that had leapt from the tall grass to attack his shoreline presentation of Ish’s Phat Frog topwater bass lure.
“In a blink of an eye, it was that quick. It looked as shocked as I was,” Chandler, 62, later told outdoor writer Bob Lamb of the LaCrosse Tribune. “(And) all I thought was that coyote had my $9 frog that I had just bought and I wanted it back!”
When Chandler used his trolling motor to maneuver the coyote into open water, he found the animal became surprisingly submissive.
“I never saw anything funnier. Here was Bruce, holding onto the pole and motoring slowly down the slough, with the coyote trailing behind,” Zumach told the local paper. “I took a picture with my cell phone because I knew nobody would believe us if I didn’t.”
Working in tandem, as Chandler held the line tight, Zumach used some needle-nosed pliers to remove the hook from the coyote’s lip and set the bewildered critter free. The animal returned to the shore, where it rested for awhile and then disappeared.
It didn’t take long for the story of Chandler’s unusual catch to circulate among the local angling community. At a tournament the following day, he was the butt of a multitude of jokes and good-natured ribbing.
“Some guys said they wanted to check my livewell to see how many coyotes I had caught that day,” he said.
Coyote Jumps Turkey Hunter
Bill Robinson situated his hen decoy and began using his mouth call from nearby cover when he became the victim of a mistaken identity attack by a confused coyote during Maine’s Spring turkey season.
“When he bit down on my upper arm, he went through four layers—a heavy jacket, a sweatshirt, a long-sleeve shirt and a T-shirt,” Robinson told the Bangor Daily News. “As I peeled off each layer there were two holes in each one. When I got to my arm, it was just burning and bleeding out of two holes.”
Robinson said the coyote “came in high,” a hunting maneuver designed to ensure his feathered prey couldn’t fly off. Once the wild canine realized it had jumped a human, and not a hen, it sprinted away.
“It turned and ran 100 miles an hour across that field,” Robinson said. “It was as shocked and surprised to see me, as I was to see it. I took a shot at it, but it was too far off by then. I turned it around for a second when I hit him in the haunch with a few pellets from my turkey load, just to say goodbye.”
The hunter sought medical attention at the Down East Community Hospital in Machias, where he began a two-week regimen of precautionary rabies vaccine injections.
“I walked into that hospital with one sore arm and left with two,” he said “But I don’t blame the coyote. It was doing what coyotes do, hunting.”
Poodle Tug o' War
There’s little doubt that coyotes are adapting to life in America’s suburbs, and backyard pets are increasingly becoming their targets.
A 60-year-old woman recently found herself in a tug of war with a coyote, over her miniature poodle--in a Lincolnwood, Illinois shopping mall parking lot. According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, the coyote grabbed Cissy Lacks’ pet by its hindquarters and was prepared to turn it into a happy meal when the retired high school English teacher decided to make a contest out of it.
Lacks later said the fight for fifi lasted “a brutally long 15 seconds.” In the course of the battle, she yelled, kicked the attacker, and smacked it with a bag of clothes she was carrying. Finally, the coyote released its grip, and simply trotted off.
“It sauntered away as if nothing happened,” she said. “It just seemed to lose interest. I can’t say I was heroic and fought it off. It’s even scarier because of that.”
The Tribune story noted that the parking lot showdown was among the most brazen in a series of recent coyote attacks in the Chicago suburbs. Coyotes recently killed a terrier on a Northfield front lawn, a beagle in a Glencoe back yard and a 3 1/2-pound Yorkshire terrier snatched in front of its owner outside an Arlington Heights home.