Living in Southern Ohio, we have not been use to dealing with coyotes. That time has ended. Coyotes have now made their presence known in our Appalachian forests.
Monday evening, around 5pm, I saw my first coyote, up close, running along our wood line, about 50 feet from my back door. It was being trailed by our two dogs, Maggie, a Blue Heeler, and Lucy, a Beagle/Hound mix.
The coyote was actually beautiful as it ran, easily out-distancing the girls. They were far behind, but Lucy, being the hound she is, continued after the rogue canine, Maggie following along in support. Hubby and I were able to call the dogs back before they also disappeared over the hillside into our valley.
My first thought was that my horses would be in danger if we have coyotes inhabiting our forest. We have 62 acres of timber, which has not been logged. Many of our neighbors have opted to have their properties logged, usually clear cut. We have one of the few properties with full timber growth. Ideal for the local wildlife. My next thought was to keep a firearm handy. Then, I decided, research before jumping to conclusions.
So, I took some time to read up on coyotes. I wanted to know what we might be up against. What I learned eased my mind, for the moment.
Coyotes are opportunists. They usually prey on smaller animals like rodents and rabbits, and smaller livestock like goats and sheep. Unfortunately, cats and smaller dogs fall into the category of smaller animals.
The coyote I saw was definitely bigger than Maggie and Lucy. They are medium sized dogs, both weighing 50 pounds each. The coyote looked to be taller, longer and probably more like 75-90 lbs.
Coyotes do not usually attack large, healthy, horses and cattle, from what I read. They usually avoid larger animals, even larger dogs. The other part of this, coyotes are smart and learn quickly. Working together, or in a pack, is often where the trouble comes in for livestock and animal/pet owners. Coyotes are known to bait their prey while the other one(s) come up behind and attack.
If anyone has personal experiences with coyotes, I'd be more than happy to hear about it. This is a new situation for me. I don't want to overreact to their presence yet when you see one coyote, and it is breeding season, there are bound to be more.