Coyotes. Somehow the famous Warner cartoons and the Disney movies make them seem cute and funny and appealing. When they’re prowling through your back yard at two in the morning, they’re downright toxic. And scary. And looking to make a meal out of any critter they happen to find.
I don’t think I’d care too much if a coyote chowed down on one of the possums that come around, and I’m sure the raccoons could easily kick them some coyote butt (and I know I would not want to hear THAT going on) but the appeal for them in our yard is the small family of feral cats we’ve been taking care of for about a year now. I like those cats. I do not want to think of them being coyote chow.
At least one of the cats thinks the same way, because the other night I heard a scuffle and a yip and by the time I got to the window the mangy coyote was headed out the driveway at top speed. In the morning we found small blood drops on the pavement. I think one of our cats smacked not-so-Wile-E a good one across the chops, and more power to her if that’s what happened, but she’s not always going to be so lucky.
So our goal is to keep those lousy canines from getting into the yard in the first place regardless of how tasty it smells. We’re still not sure how they’re getting in. Probably over the wall between our house and our neighbor’s, which is wood on their side and stone on ours, or over the short chain link gate in the side yard. I did see a coyote slinking down the neighbor’s driveway once, and they have no barrier between driveway and back yard. We have a metal gate on our driveway, but I don’t think they are going over, under, or through it because we would hear it rattle. I didn’t see how the coyote got out of the driveway that night, nor did I hear the gate, so I’m guessing it went over the wall onto our front porch and out that way. Which means it knew the way and might have come in that way as well. They evolved to be stealthy.
So, after a little internet research, we decided on the least expensive deterrent: Locally Produced Large Male Carnivore Coyote Repellent. Yes, it’s what you think it is: The two resident males peed in a spray bottle and then went out and anointed all the possible coyote entrance routes. We figured this would not bother the cats because they’re familiar with the way our two resident male carnivores smell, and that turned out to be correct.
Then I bought some battery powered LED motion detector lights on closeout at Home Depot. The idea is to affix them to places where they’ll be more or less protected from the elements but still aimed to get into the eyes of marauding canines. Haven’t done that yet, still debating the best placement. I think probably on the wall of the garage, somewhere on the front porch and perhaps on the side wall of the house.
An article I read recently recommends “coyote hazing,” which means making plenty of noise and waving your hands around and generally giving the coyote the idea that he wants to be somewhere else. (No mention of whether yelling BEEP BEEP would make a difference.) I did try that, but at 2am I didn’t want to go full-out or the neighbors would be reporting me as a nuisance. For the first time in my life I’m considering buying a BB pistol. I don’t want to kill the coyotes (and I don’t want a real gun in the house) but it would be very satisfying indeed to be able to zing one of ’em on the ass as it trots off up the street.
Since we started spraying the Repellent around, we have not had any more nocturnal prowling, scuffling or yipping. Whether this is because the Repellent work or because the mangy beasts are off eating someone else’s critters, I don’t know. I’m just happy not to be waked up by sinister Canis latrans in the middle of the night.