Wily coyotes have been on the prowl these winter days.
Stockmen have long given coyotes a bad name because the varmints will scavenge the chicken house, grab lambs, kid goats or kittens, and kill and consume a baby calf, if circumstances are right. On top of that, coyotes can spread diseases, including rabies.
However, the good sides of coyotes might outweigh their destruction, if only one were aware of just what all they do in controlling rodents and keeping other wildlife numbers in balance. State coyote populations vary according to year and are said to range from a low of 80,000 to a third of a million. That’s when control efforts are most needed.
Stag hounds always numbered a dozen or more in Uncle Don’s back yard, because he was a coyote hunter and was frequently called to catch menace coyotes. Hides were worthless, but the county paid $2 bounty for a kill, verified by surrendering coyote ears at the courthouse. Don’s dogs could bag 100 coyotes a year.
Hunting for coyotes with dogs is still a sport. Stockmen have long carried rifles to shoot coyotes, and sportsmen have always hunted coyotes with guns, too. Calling coyotes in to be shot is frequently done with success. Many coyotes are trapped by a variety of methods each year, and poisons are yet used for problem coyote control
Our adrenalin always jumps when fellow cowboys tell of roping, or attempting to rope, coyotes. We never forget that cowgirl Helen Olson of the Four Mile community was always foremost credited with “roping a coyote.” That would be a dangerous thrill.
Son and grandson have been quite successful shooting and trapping coyotes this year. No bounties for coyotes now, but their hides are valuable, although lower than at times.
Coyotes are represented in the Bible by canine relatives: wolves and foxes. Their ravenous ways are revealed in Genesis 49:27. “Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.”
Likewise, they’re figuratively enemies of the righteous in Matthew 7:15.“Beware of false prophets, which come in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves.”
Jesus recognizes, in both Matthew 8:20 and Luke 9:58, that foxes got rated higher than him. “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air nests; but the Son of man hath no where to lay His head.”
Yet, there is reconciling power of the Gospel in Isaiah 11:6. “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion together; and a little child shall lead them.”