A Coyote Unexpectedly Killed a Human in 2009. Scientists Now Know Why
- It’s likely due to an unexpected dietary adaptation.
Dec. 12, 2022 3:27 p.m. PT
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In 2009, 19-year-old folk singer Taylor Mitchell was attacked by a pack of coyotes while on a hike at the Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Canada. She was just about to start the popular Skyline Trail when climbers in the area saw the animals close-in, unprovoked.
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“These coyotes are doing what coyotes do, which is, when their first or second choice of prey isn’t available, they’re going to explore and experiment and change their search range,” Gehrt said. “They’re adaptable, and that is the key to their success.”
From those movement devices, the team tested to see whether coyotes in the park were just familiar with people. However, patterns showed that the animals largely avoided areas of the park frequented by people. Instead, they preferred walking around at night.
“The lines of evidence suggest that this was a resource-poor area with really extreme environments that forced these very adaptable animals to expand their behavior,” Gehrt said. Or as the paper puts it, “our results suggest extreme unprovoked predatory attacks by coyotes on people are likely to be quite rare and associated with unique ecological characteristics.”
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Hard to imagine that a pack of coyotes could take down a human, IF (BIG IF) that human was armed.
While I’d be most afraid of running into a bear, I’d like to be prepared. I’d be most comfortable with my COLT 1911 45. I think that would discourage most predators — permanently.
With nine in a magazine, and at close range — say 10 feet — I’m pretty (overconfident) that I could his the target. Especially if it was moving towards me. I’d also assume that the predator would not like the loud noise, flash, and smoke.
I figure that I could deal with any “no hunting” objections as long as I was still alive to dispute them.
Seriously, why would you be so naïve as to think you don’t need protection. Back in the 70’s, in Nevada, away form the cities, I saw most folks packing some sort of firearm, At a gas station, I ask one attendant why he was pack in at the gas pump. I expected “crime” as the answer; “rattlesnakes” was the reply. “They ain’t afraid of humans; horses yes, humans no”. I filed that away in my memory banks and correctly answered the question in USAF survival school: “What animal is most dangerous to a human alone in a survival situation?” Not bad for a city boy and I shot expert too; guess I had watched too many westerns.
YMMV but preparation beats regrets.