May 292012
 
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This observation took place in the Great Trinity Forest just north of Interstate 20. I started this expedition at the Trinity River Audubon Center on Loop 12. My goal for this day was to reach Five Mile Creek far to the south.

I was still nearly 200 yards/meters away from Five Mile Creek when I caught a glimpse of a large tan animal moving through the woods near the creek’s edge. The animal passed through a clearing and then back into the woods before I could get to my camera.

This is the clearing where I first spotted the animal. If you look carefully you can see an object laying across the length of the clearing. At first, I thought this was a fallen tree. It turned out to be a large slab of concrete. When I first saw the creature he must have been walking on top of it.

I only got a fleeting glimpse of the animal, and with the distance between us, it was impossible to be sure what I had seen. Base upon my first impressions, though, I suspected that it was a deer.

Whatever it was, I fully expected that it would be long gone by the time I reached the creek, but since Five Mile Creek was my objective for the day anyways, I decided to try.

At about 100 yards/meters away, I came across a dried culvert which clearly led to Five Mile Creek. It was deep enough to give me some cover, and the soft dirt on its floor allowed me to approach more quietly. I followed it to the water’s edge.

Other factors were working in my favor as well. The wind was gusting hard today, blowing the trees and grass, and generally making a lot of noise. It was also blowing towards me, and carrying my scent away away from where I had seen the animal. Added to all this were the sounds of traffic on Interstate 20 just a little further south.

When I finally made it to Five Mile Creek, I stepped out onto a large sand bar to have a look around. I was fully exposed at the time. Nonetheless, as I stood there, a large healthy looking Coyote emerged from the woods just 30 yards/meters in front of me. He stepped out on to the same sand bar I was standing on and had a seat.

The Coyote’s back was turned to me, so he never knew I was there (though there were times when his peripheral vision should have picked me up). I started taking pictures!

How did this Coyote NOT see me!?!

The Coyote seemed to be just enjoying the day. He soaked up some rays for just about a minute, and then he stood up, gave himself a good shake, and then crossed the creek heading down the bank and away from me.

I gave him a few steps and then followed right behind. I expected him to see me and run at any moment, but instead he just kept going about his business unconcerned. The Coyote’s lack of caution speaks volumes about how remote this area of the Great Trinity Forest is. This Coyote simply did not expect to come across any people here.

As I approached the place where the Coyote crossed the creek I got another surprise. A second Coyote emerged from the woods just a little ahead of my position. I took a few pictures of this Coyote, but he was mostly obscured by vegetation. When I tried to move to a better vantage point the second Coyote spotted me and quickly moved back into the woods.

The second Coyote.

No warning was given to his compadre though, so I returned to photographing the first Coyote as he went about exploring the far bank of the creek. Slowly, he was making his way around a bend that would take him out of my line of sight. I knew this is where our photography session would end.

Notice the white egret in the lower left-hand corner.

Just before the Coyote stepped out of view, I gave a short whistle to see if I could get his attention. His first response was to bolt, but he did not go far before turning around to see just what had made that strange, unexpected noise. The Coyote took several steps in my direction before he finally had it figured out. Once he saw me he retreated up the sandy bank and disappeared into the woods.

Gone!

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  5 Responses to “Coyote – Close Encounter”

  1. Wow. Just … wow. Great photos of an unexpected encounter. A lucky day. And glad that the coyote was skittish once it saw you – keeping wildlife wild is essential to their survival!

    • Yes, keeping these guys wild is the key to minimizing problems with them. Wild Coyotes will do everything in their power to avoid direct contact with people.

  2. I’m in the Frisco-McKinney area over by 121 and I see dead coyotes on the roads leading to the highway all the time… it makes me to see such beautiful animals as roadkill. I’m very glad to have seen your pictures and happy you were so lucky to have such an experience!

    • Roads are the biggest challenge faced by urban wildlife. Even our most adaptable animals are just not equipped to deal with a major thoroughfare like 121.

  3. I live on the greenbelt in the Jackson Ranch development in Lake Dallas. Last spring, there was a bobcat on our deck. I got a blurred picture of it before it went into the woods. I was able to watch it head toward the open area for the gas line, and got several pictures of it. I have also seen coyotes there. Last spring I was sitting inside by a double window, and looked up to see a coyote IN my next door neighbors yard. That really unsettled me. My neighbor, 2 houses from me, said they saw a family of 5 coyotes just beyond their back fence in the greenbelt. We have 4 feet tall black wrought iron fences here. About a month ago, I saw one on the greenbelt during the day, while my 6 year old daughter and I were in the backyard. I had read to yell at the coyote while walking toward it to claim the territory. So I did that, and after staring at me for about 10-15 seconds, it finally turned and trotted away. The other night, 1/20/16 at 11:15, I took my 2 dogs out before going to bed. Our property is 1/2 an acre, so there’s a good amount of distance from the back fence, when I heard several yips that turned into howls. I could tell there were more than 3 coyotes just beyond the fence. I was terrified and trembling!!! I scuffed my 12 year old arthritic black lab and quickly pulled her up the deck steps. My 10 pound chihuahua NEVER goes off the leash unless I’m right there with him, usually throwing the ball for him. There are too many hawks around to allow him that kind of freedom. Just a few miles away in the Orchard Farms development, a woman put her dachshund on a lead in the backyard for about 15 minutes. When she went to let the dog back in, it was nowhere to be found. Looking at the lead, they found blood on it. I feel as if we’re living in the jungle out here!!

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