Last Saturday, we went looking for the coyote with mange and encountered him walking in a residential neighborhood. At one point we tried to "push" him - guide him - down a particular street for capture, but, being so very intuitive, he knew we were trouble and took off.
What's so interesting, this one momentary exchange we had with him - very similar to hazing, was enough to spook him from this particular neighborhood. That afternoon he was spotted 2.5 miles north where he'd been the week before. This shows how sensitive coyotes are to disruption and how easy it is to make them uncomfortable and to move on.
We decided to wait a few days before looking for him again, hoping to get reports of his whereabouts and maybe see a pattern - where he might be at a certain time of day.
Indeed, thanks to reports of sightings by concerned citizens and the Danville Police Department, we learned he was hanging around a few homes off Danville Blvd.
On Thursday, Duane and I captured a glimpse of him on the busy street:
We spoke with the homeowners of the properties he was frequenting and they were extremely helpful, showing us the route the coyote would take each morning. That's where we set a cage trap. We parked just across the street to keep watch - we never leave any capture devices unattended.
An hour or so later, we heard the alarm calls of crows, then we saw him. He crossed the boulevard - very conscious of traffic, and headed into the yard where we'd set up various pieces of capture equipment and the cage trap.
Coyotes rarely go into cage traps, so we didn't think we'd get him to enter, but, amazingly, he did!
Unfortunately, though, either he didn't step on the treadle, or the trap malfunctioned. He got the cooked chicken, though!
At least he got "rewarded" for going into the cage. That left us feeling quite confident he'd enter it again.
However, as the coyote was in front of the trap, the neighbors - not aware the coyote was just a few yards away, slammed their car doors and spooked him off, then a loose dog chased him up the street.
Hours later, the coyote was reported over a mile away, in the hills above Danville. We waited for the afternoon rush hour traffic to die down before driving home, hoping to return early the next morning.
Yesterday, I left home at 5:00 am and by 8:00 I had the trap set and ready to go.
A couple of hours later, I saw the coyote pop out of the hedge where the trap was - he looked startled. He started to walk the shoulder of the boulevard where people slowed to look at him - pressuring him. He disappeared down a side street.
I checked the cage-trap. It had been triggered and the bait was gone. The trail camera revealed what had happened. HERE, the video shows just how brilliantly smart, sharp and aware, and cleverly adaptable these animals are. This is how they have survived 100-plus years of persecution. I have always admired coyotes and now I have even more respect for them. Just brilliant.
Unfortunately, the coyote is now cage shy. We may have to use a different strategy. The neighbors worked with me in developing up another plan. We'll probably have to wait until next week to try again.
In the meantime, we're hoping people report his whereabouts and that the coyote can survive until then - not get frightened into traffic or otherwise harmed. So far, most of the residents have expressed concern for his welfare - he's got a lot of the town on his side, looking out for him.
A huge THANK YOU to everyone who has expressed concern for this animal!