Lords of the Holler Part I: Dawn.

He doesn’t want to play nice with me! This coyote surprised me and stood his ground. He stared at me and even lowered his head as if preparing to charge. Gets your heart beating faster then your morning cup of joe!
All of these photos were taken at early, misty, dawn.
Like most wild animals, the coyotes know you are there, well before you know they are! Usually they move off, but the large alpha males sometimes don’t, and this always gets my full attention
They are gorgeous, highly-adaptive, intelligent animals. This one looks away.


Sometimes they watch you, but typically, move off rather quickly.
This one hears something that interests him more than me, which is always good.
They have incredible hearing and are remorseless pack hunters, bringing down calves, despite the efforts of the herds and the bulls to protect them.


This is a younger one.

They are definitely nothing like your friendly dog Spot! Please stay tuned for Lords of the Holler Part II: Night Terrors!

136 thoughts on “Lords of the Holler Part I: Dawn.

  1. Cindy, have you been on safari? I would love to see your shots of elephants, giraffes, etc. viewing your pics is a great way to live vicariously through your adventures.

    cheers, Linda

  2. such a visual treat. A feast for the eyes! Between the scenery and the amazing peek at an animal I have only glimpsed running away from behind…Cindy, wow!! You are BEE-rave, too…my heart woulda pounded outta my chest, and weren’t you afraid that, like dogs, he could sense your anxiety? And then worried about worrying about that…hahah…etc…

    Just incredible.

    1. All the anxiety just cancelled each other out!!! lol! I worry before stuff happens too much, so when it actually does, I am generally pretty calm. Funny. Also, I am vigiliant about precaution. When I did actually bump into a grizzly on a trail recently I had forgotten my pepper spray. I sang at him, and it was just so horrible he ambled away!!!lol!

  3. Anything with coyotes and you got my attention. It’s always interesting when my wife and I go out to shoot photos, and some animals which usually flee instantly, or are never seen to begin with, stare us down. The take a shot, move in, take a shot, move in, etc., thing is a tactic we use all the time. I’ve never seen a coyote act like this before though. What a great series of shots. Thanks, again.

    1. Yes, somehow the camera itself seems to let you get closer to the animals. It’s as if they are thinking that is an odd looking human with that thing on it’s face!!!!

  4. Not much for me to see today…but wait…I haven’t been down to the creek yet…
    A bit too cool here to even scare away the turtles. But yestersay I saw two trout that were about two feet in length.

    One winter though I did see a red fox loping through the snow…

  5. How close were these animals? We often see coyotes, and know they are in the area by their howling, but I’ve never had one face me off like yours did. They will usually turn tail and run off.

    Great shots

    1. The first coyote that got too close to me was a large male at my other house. Here it has happened a couple of times, more before we put in coyote proof fencing on the occupied part of our property. There are bold ones, definitely, and usually more shy ones.

  6. I hope you walked softly and carried a big stick. 🙂 We have coyotes around here, and a petite woman stopped me on my hill climb, and she said a coyote had followed her the day before. She was shuddering. I offered to walk with her, but she just shook her head and said she would not climb to the top today.

    1. She might want to try one of these options for coyote country: 1) Walk with a companion 2) Carry Bear Spray for an emergency 2) Carry a golf club as a deterrent, she can play golf with small rocks too, adding interest to her walk, and intimidating the coyotes! 🙂 3) Carry a cattle prod 3) Carry a aerosal marine horn (works wonders as coyote ears are very sensitive!) She should avoid walking small dogs alone and avoid walking at sunset and after, or at dawn to minimize encounters. People should not leave dog or cats outside alone in coyote country and should not leave pet food outside or anything else that coyotes like to eat. DON’T feed coyotes. It makes them bold around you. Poor lady!

  7. I guess I am alone in this – but if a coyote let me get that close (or got that close) I would be worried – rabies or maybe just crazy. Two days ago a friend told us that a coyote came inside his house (through a door that was wide open) – attacked his dog, dragged it outside and killed the dog. I respect coyotes, but they are wild, smart and can be dangerous.

    1. You are correct and not alone. These are wild animals and they are dangerous. I hope most people know this. When in packs in wild places like The Holler they require extreme caution. There is a website maintained by UC Davis called Coyote Bytes that collects data on negative coyote/human interactions. There are many such, usually initiated by people who feed them, or leave their pets unattended. Neither are very smart things to do. There have been human fatalities as well, although these are rare. One must always be prepared in coyote country. We estimate The Holler coyote packs to number 40-50 animals. Thank you for your very accurate observations!

      1. Yes I know the feeling. But facts are facts and I don’t like anyone biting anyone on my blog. This is a free speech, bite free, blog!! So thanks for speaking up!

  8. I love coyotes, Cindy. They are the trickster animals in a lot of cultures. Of course the most famous is from the Looney Tunes Roadrunner show. What a wonderful way to start your day. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  9. What a great series of pics, Cindy. Hope you’re keeping a safe distance and/or have some really adequate protection with you. These critters are not their shy, wild prairie cousins, but have become brazenly civilized and are rapidly losing their fear of humans (and a lot of other things). Be careful (as I know you are).

    1. Oh yes. The first year I lived here I was very afraid of them. Now we live in a state of detente. I won’t back down, but I also am extremely careful and avoid over challenging behavior. They can be very dangerous and one needs to remember they are wild animals bent on survival.

  10. Just yesterday there was a young deer grazing near our fence, when she suddenly made a hasty departure. She was followed at a determined pace by a beautiful coyote. He followed the fence line at a trot and seemed to know exactly where he was going. Your photos are phenomenal Cindy. I don’t know how I could have snapped our visitor in time as he was never still.

    1. Yes they are usually on the move! They do stop out of curiosity and watch you sometimes. And the alpha’s can be more bold. When they are on the path of prey, they will bowl right by you. Amazing animals. Their pack howls sing us to sleep every night.

  11. Good Grief, and you had the where-with-all to use your camera. That situation looked sketchy at best. We had them around the lake I lived at. The howling is hating. I’ve only seen one close up, I opened the garage door and he was in my yard. He smelt me, looked for 4 seconds and ran off. I would have been very leery of one that didn’t back off.

    1. Sometimes too when they are desperate they will approach you, sick, starving, booted out by the pack. This I consider a dangerous encounter and requires aversive response, marine air horn works well, rocks thrown in their direction. I basically always walk with bear spray, which I never had to use. Coyotes are smart. The see the odd thing in my hand and are cautious of it. The same with the camera. They are leery of it. The only time I did need bear spray was in Yellowstone recently when we did encounter a grizzly!! lol! I left the spray in the car by mistake!! Jim uses the aerosal marine horn which works with both coyotes and charging viscious dogs which are occasionally abandoned out here.

      1. You are a an enigma, I’m not sure I’d use Grizzly and LOL in the same paragraph. Friends of ours built a house in Valemont BC, lots of bears and grizzly. I’m always expecting to run into one but luckily we’re always in the truck. The husband says to his wife, “I don’t have to out run the grizzly, I just have to out run you” hehe

      2. We went grizzly watching in the Knight Inlet in BC. It was one of the most amazing travel experiences of my life. We are going back next year. The coastal grizzlies gulping down salmon are less of a problem than the inland grizzlies like we saw, two of them, in Yellowstone. My singing scared them away. I’m good that way!! lol!! We also saw wolf packs hunting elk herds in Yellowstone which was an absolutely thrilling experience. I blogged about it and it is one of my favorite posts. It reminded me of my childhood summers in Jackson Hole. Seeing wild life cautiously is one of the biggest thrills of my life and has been since I was a child. The wolves used to sing us to sleep everynight in Jackson Hole. I am so glad they are back in Wyomming.

  12. Holy Crapola, Batgirl! Too close for me! You were much braver than I! This city boy’s hands would’ve been shaking so much, the pictures could have become videos!

    1. Laughing!! Still laughing! Holy coyote Batman! It was too close for me too. I needed the batmobile or better yet, catwoman, to come to my rescue. KAAPOW!!!! I always liked her. Good point about the videos. I have never used this function on my camera, but was thinking, I should, with the hummingbirds aerial combats. Good thinking Batman!

      1. He is beautiful! A very fine example of alpha maleness 😉 Wolfie is getting completely out of hand at the prospect of playing with such a handsome alpha!! This is one time when submitting to the alpha suddenly seems remarkably appealing lol 😀

      2. Wolfie would k*** his a** if it was one on one! A whole pack no way. I left you a video link on coytoes v wolf in Yellowstone in my next post. Love wolves. My friend has two~

  13. Ok you’ve done it, after all I have seen you photograph this one is a real creep out for me. I am not afraid of snakes, spiders, birds, almost anything BUT coyotes terrify me for some odd reason. The ones in Indiana would never walk close to a human and I am thankful. I’m sorry but I can’t come and live with you anymore because I’m sure I would die within a few days. Great pics as always.

    1. Laughing!!! Still! If it makes you feel better, rattlers freak me out and the coyote packs out here used to really scare me. Now, I am cautious and don’t do dumb stuff around them, but I am not afraid of them. That said, if I got stranded out here, with no protection, especially at night or early morning, I would be terrified and possibly an entree!

    1. It is the ultimate in hicksville out here and we could holler all day and night and no-one but the critters would hear us! I call it our heavenly bit of rural Applachia! The only difference, hollering at our nieghbors, wouldn’t work!! lol! It grows on you……

    1. The Southern Pacific Rattlersnakes are worse and more aggressive. I do not like it when one curls up in my garage!! I can’t even wear flip flops anymore! Jeez! We had a serious infestation of black widow spiders and scorpions the first year we moved in. They are gone now. I must admit, the first year I lived here, I thought I had made a mistake! I had a couple of nightmares of my car stalling at night, and me getting stranded. I ran to an abandoned shed in my dream to escape the coyote pack, and found it infested with black widows and rattlesnakes! It took awhile for the city girl to adapt to country life! Country folk are tough!!
      Now I am better. I wear my Iriquois snake boots, carry my grizzly spray, and have my snake grabber as back up!!!! lol! Plus the scorpions and black widows are history. Country livin!! Can’t beat it!
      Seriously, now I wouldn’t trade the country life for the city ever!

      1. being a city girl myself, can’t imagine living with that wildlife! I have to call Mr C whenever there is a small spider in the house (maybe I’ve left the garden door open)… snakes, coyotes, black widows, scorpions?…. I am speachless…

      2. It does take a little getting used to…..Europe is so lucky to not have poisnous snakes. I do not like them one bit. Our neighbor, and this just happened today, shot a 54 inch female southern pacific rattlesnake sunning by his pool. Ugh!!! He skinned it. He is from Italy and he’s adapted!! LOL!

  14. That coyote was really giving you the evil eye Cindy, well done to keep your nerve AND get such good photos. BTW it looks very dry in your part of the world

    1. Oh yes! Very dry. This year especially so. We are in draught. You can see that we shave several acres in a perimeter around the house to help protect from the dreaded fire. It also has a side benefit of making the animals easier to see. Always waiting for the rains to come….Similar to Australia in this!

    1. Yes. It gets your attention when a coyote does this. I do use pack mentality when this happens. They need to know I am not beta. The mist has been pronounced this summer although we are in a draught, the temps are much lower too, which is wonderful. Cheers to you and beautiful Clowie! Now you see why Clowie is so appealing to me. She is bred to protect. Our ridgebacks are too, but no dog can handle the packs alone. They need backup. The packs took on a neighbors pit-bull, mastiff mix, a huge, highly aggressive dog. He took after the pack, they led him on a chase, and flanked him from the rear. He was lucky to survive. No single dog should be left to the packs ever.

  15. Funny how CA sees things compaired to NH and we are all in the United States lol maybe not so united They don’t go after just farm animals here many children and adults have had bite wounds to show 🙁 here they are a HUGE danger so there is an OPEN SEASON on them mind you like the Bear in my yard wildlife sightings are wonderful till they go on the attack and many of ours are said to have rabies along with the beautiful Fox and Stinky Skunk Coons too!

      1. We had a man attacked while hanging out bird food I am grateful mine stayed in the bushes till I got back into the house scary knowing he was lying in wait for the damn seed them big pigs in black fur 🙂

    1. No fat at all to help them through tough times. They live perpetually on the brink of starvation. They control reproduction to accomodate available prey, and boot out members of the pack to starve when times are tough.

  16. This is stunning. Where EXACTLY is this place where you are lucky to live the way the world always was. Tell me where, for if I am ever nearby (I have a knack of seeking out wilderness more than civilization) then I for sure will drop in for a cuppa something. I at least will not want to meet halfway!
    By the way, you are the reason I post on my blog everyday. I know you’ll be there, reading me, encouraging me, making me write more and more – 3 sonnets a day and they must meet your approval.


  17. That first shot is a scary one! I’m so glad you didn’t get charged by him! The mist amongst the hills photo is breathtaking, and your shots of the coyotes really gives us an idea of what they are like. Just be careful out there — wouldn’t want you to get “found!”

      1. Thanks so much, Cindy — I’m so excited!! I received this mention of the poms and also the one you sent me about them being shipped, but I was using my phone and could not respond (I won’t regale you with the gruesome details about how not-well my Android is working). When I got on the computer I couldn’t find either mention, so after searching through 800 emails I finally found this post, lol! I truly need to learn some organizing skills.
        I am really waiting with great anticipation, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your generosity and kindness!

      2. Hi Becky-
        Don’t worry I haven’t forgotten you. I picked a half dozen yesterday and they are not quite ripe. They probably need until Sept 1. After all your first poms have to be perfect!! You should be getting them early Sept. Can’t wait to see how you like them.
        Cheers to you,

      3. For some reason I have stopped receiving email notifications from WordPress, so I am having a more difficult time keeping up with everybody. However, the notifications on my cell phone WordPress app are working (go figure), but only initial comments filter through. Sigh. So, I’m just now seeing this, and it has made my day! September is a great time — I’ll feel like the poms are a birthday present! You are so sweet, and I am waiting with camera in hand to get a picture of your beautiful poms before I do ANYthing else with them! Thank you so much, Cindy!

    1. I am more excited than you are about sending them to you!! 🙂
      WP is having so many burps lately. I noticed that in my reader today quite a few bloggers likes didn’t register. They had like 50 comments and 12 likes. I saw this over and over today. WP tends to deny this when I have communicated with them about it. You may want to send them an email, but I predict they will say, “the problem is on your end…..”

  18. WOW! We come pretty close to them too sometimes but I have always had them run off. That would have gotten my heart beating too! I have had a crazy busy end to summer and am just now catching up on visiting my favorite blogs. How did your rattlesnake adventure with your son turn out?

    1. We found croatalus and Matt is up there right now, finding more of them!! YIKES! This is what happens when they like science and grow up!!! Maybe you can encourage your sons to focus on art! I did. You can see how it worked out! LOL!

      1. Oh yes! I just left you a lengthy note on your post about coyotes! They definitely are the rulers of the night out here and it is fascinating to get a look at them. Loved your post~

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