Posts tagged ‘predator’

Stalked and Charged by a Coyote in Yellowstone!

This was my last image before the Coyote rushed me. It is obvious from his intense eyes and forward-focusing ears that I was his prey.

I’ve never been attacked by mammal when in the field shooting…sure I’ve been dive-bombed by Skuas in Iceland, terns in Alaska and MN but never charged. Ryan spotted this Coyote first…It was crossing Slough Creek and never once looked at us. I decided to lay up against the river bank to see if he’d come out of the woods near me. Ryan went east to see if he could cut him off in the meadow. A few minutes later here comes the Coyote, only 50 feet away and slowly stalking something. But he was staring at me. I didn’t put 2 and 2 together that THE COYOTE WAS STALKING ME! I took video until he got within 30 feet or so. I then switched to taking stills. I got off 2 or 3 shots and then I stuck my head behind the camera again to check the LCD and when I looked around my camera a second later the Coyote was in my face! His head was above mine and he was only six feet away. I jumped up and started yelling at him…He sauntered off…He did not run…I finally found a rock and chucked it at him. He kept going. No time for fear until it was all done. My heart was beating! The Coyote had covered the last 25 feet is a split second…If I was a rabbit I wouldn’t have had a chance.
Watch the video and “reenactment” below

Coyote canine teeth are large and efficient killing tools…And I nearly got to experience them.

It’s a pretty unique photo…But little did I know he would be hunting me very soon.

We let a nearby campground host if he’d heard any strange Coyote stories lately…He laughed and said, “About an hour ago a couple in the campground were approached by a Coyote that just walked up to them to within 3 feet!…Not stalking just like it was begging.” We later found out that a woman had been bitten pretty badly by a Coyote a week previous in another part of the park. I don’t think this guy had rabies…eyes were clear, fur nice and thick, no foaming mouth…but this behavior is a bit unnerving. Anyway, a ranger was dispatched to the area to check it out…but we never did hear what happened to the Coyote of Slough Creek.

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Timber Wolf eating deer video

The trip to daycare is never dull…okay, most of the time it’s pretty dull. Birk and Bjorn stay pretty quiet as long as I have the radio tuned to WNCB Christian hit radio and keep tossing fishy crackers, granola bar bits, or whatever edible thing I find in the Subaru’s crevices into the back seat. But today, we didn’t get more than a mile from home when I saw a mammal in a hayfield. It was a long ways out, but at first glance I thought it was a Coyote. But it looked too bulky.


I had taken Bridget’s car this morning and so I didn’t have my camera along (Rule #1 of wildlife photography: ALWAYS have your camera in your car!). Fortunately Bridget did have her binoculars under the car seat and I was able to get a good look at the mystery animal. I put them up to my eyes and found myself staring into the distinctive face of a Timber Wolf! So I told the boys to “hang on!” and back we raced to the house. I nabbed my camera and tripod and sped back.

The wolf wasn’t there! I scanned the field cursing my lack of preparation when I spotted him, closer to the road now. He was laying down and gnawing on a deer carcass. I imagine he was able to kill the deer last night and just lingered on feasting until morning (it was past 8:30 am by now). I was filming in plain view but he gave me few glances. Wolves can only be confused with Coyotes under the worst conditions or at very long distance. Wolves are much bulkier, longer-legged, and lope with a loose-jointed gait. Their head is blockier and they often show white rings around the eyes. Wolves also lack the extensive red of some Coyotes and may be very white or very black (Coyotes don’t show this pelage variation).

I walked another 50 feet closer. He seemed undaunted but finally got up and without effort snapped a deer leg off to take with him (the original “take out” meal). He loped across the field and stopped near the tree line to take one last look at the man who interrupted his meal.

Back at the car, the troops were doing fine after about 20 minutes left to entertain themselves (I was always within sight of the car). I managed to find a bag with some mini rice cakes with chocolate drizzle, and these served as a fine treat for a very patient 3-year old and very tolerant 17-month old.

Canon 7D with Canon 400mm f5.6 and stacked 2x and 1.4x teleconverters, tripod.
The use of 2 teleconverters is not recommended for still photography except in occasions where it’s better to have a record photo rather than no photo at all. You lose quite a bit of sharpness and contrast. You can get away with it more easily in video though, where your filming at 1/60 second.]
[Photo is a single frame plucked from the video (1920x1080pixels).]