What I don’t get is the people who make disliking coyotes a lifestyle. I run into them from time to time. There are a few people, mainly men, who take up killing coyotes as a mission in life. They have persuaded themselves that coyotes are evil vermin, and on occasion they try to persuade me as well. “Have you seen what they’ll do to a calf? The suffering they cause?” they’ll ask. I have, in fact. I have also seen what happens in slaughterhouses, and I have a strong opinion about which is the greater evil.
Unpleasant topics aside, though, the main reason I don’t understand how people out here in the desert can have any feeling other than awed respect for coyotes is that they fit. They’re like redwood trees in a redwood forest, or bison on the prairie, or constellations in the night sky. Coyotes live in the desert as though every desert plant and animal donated their camouflage and trickery and resilience and spikiness, which was all then distilled into one crafty species. They are the lords of the Mojave Desert. Really, we’re just borrowing the place from them, and we may as well start to act like it.
By the way, you do know not to feed them, right? We’ll discuss why in an upcoming episode of 90 Miles from Needles, available at 90milesfromneedles.com or your favorite podcast source.