Saturday, November 8, 2014
Eyes in the Back of Your Head
"Carry a big stick for the dogs"- Alfred Kroeber, Anthropologist.
I got out to the creek with my trusty quadrupedal companion, Abalone. She swam while I looked around at the last of this season's wild blackberries and wild grapes. I even found another fishing lure!
At one point I caught wind of the unmistakable smell of death...a smell I usually associate with coyotes. For whatever reason, this day I was distracted and thought nothing of it. A few minutes later however, I felt like I was being watched. Turning 180 degrees I laid eyes on a large and very bold coyote hot on our tracks! This animal was sniffing the air, scratching the ground and advancing quickly.
I positioned myself between my dog and the coyote and yelled at him to "go away." If the animal had been a bear, he would have left the scene, but for some reason the coyote didn't bat an eye. He kept coming towards us, now a mere 30 meters away. I yelled at him again, this time even louder...still he continued to advance. I kept my eye on him but backtracked to my dog. Swooping her up in my left hand and drawing my Buck Ranger lockblade knife in my right. It must have been quite the sight. A 6'6" tall guy with a soggy Jack Russell terrier under one arm and a blade in the other yelling insults at a mangy coyote! Anyways, by the time the coyote was 15 meters away I summoned all the hellfire I could muster and bellowed "If you try to hurt me or her, I promise you will not walk away unscathed!" The coyote stopped advancing, but kept pacing back and forth evaluating the situation. This gave us just enough time to make our way back to the vehicle.
This story took place a mere 10 minutes from downtown. It just goes to show that you never know who else you will encounter on foraging adventures. If it had been National Forest I would have likely had a bow or .22 cal and a warning shot would have sent the coyote running. But where we were firearms and archery equipment are strictly prohibited. I guess when we go back I'll have to "carry a big stick for the dogs"...or coyotes!
When we got back I decided it was a good evening for fish and chips. Luckily my brother had just speared a halibut. So even though we had a crazy day, we still enjoyed a foragers feast that evening!
Trust your instincts and always watch your back. Happy foraging! Keep the old ways alive!