Selected Articles from our
The C.A.S.H. Courier
ARTICLE from the Spring 2009 Issue
A Coyote Died Last Night
By Karen Schumaker
Last night a coyote died, a mile east of us. (Just) yesterday she was
alive. When she turned her narrow snout toward me, her close-set eyes looked
straight into mine. She wanted to run, but couldn’t. One of her rear legs
kept collapsing and the other was only good for a split-second three-legged
prop-up before she’d fall again. We saw blood in the snow under her.
She was trying to climb the bank the snow plow had left. I got out of the
vehicle (I’d been given a ride) and tried to approach her, speaking softly.
Millenniums of persecution from humans caused her to use the last of her
strength to climb the bank and crawl down the other side. There she
struggled in the three-foot-deep snow, trying to reach the shelter of a tree
below her. I didn’t pursue her, just watched helplessly. All her instincts
were to flee, but the strong legs she’d relied on all of her short life
suddenly were not cooperating. She was fighting the snow, half-dragging
herself, still precious feet away from the tree. That’s when she turned her
body and looked at me. I choked out, “go to the tree, that’s good.”
I went back to the truck. It had a large black dog in the back seat, and
an ATV and other gear completely filled the bed. I told the driver to go on,
I had “no tranq gun or cage.”
This morning I woke at 4 a.m. and prepared vitamin-embedded rice balls, a
pack of antibiotics, blankets, bandages. At dawn I set out, pack-laden, on
snowshoes, pulling the sled behind me.
It took a long time to find her because the blood in the road had faded
to a tan color. I walked half a mile too far, realized it, came back, using
binocs to study the small-treed meadow.
I found the blood and within seconds, located her. She was under the
tree. She was right side up, feet tucked under her body, chin on the snow,
like a dog resting by a fireplace, but her eyes were shut and frost dusted
Rigor mortis had stiffened her. I turned her over and palpated the stiff
legs. The fur on her left groin was scraped off and the groin bloody. The
legs seems fine but the groin was full of wound. I found a tiny hole there
in the groin., consistent with a small-caliber murder weapon. I had no
rubber gloves, so I didn’t cut her open to look for a bullet. I used
handfuls of snow to wipe her rich, iron-smelling blood off my hands. I
believe she was gut-shot with internal bleeding; her pelvis had been
shattered at least on one side, explaining the inability to use her hind
We’ve had no coyote song for at least a week now. Three weeks ago, a
young man on an ATV stopped in the road to talk to me. He was “hunting
coyotes,” he said, because he could get “50 or 60 bucks” for a hide. When I
asked if he had ever heard the coyotes sing in the mountains at night, he
admitted he never had.
The same people who hate and kill “gophers” and ground squirrels because
they say the rodents wreck the pastures, also inexplicably, hate and kill
coyotes (whose primary food sources are those same rodents).
This area is wild. The only “pastures” around us are God-sewn wildflower
meadows or clear cut damage. No one should have to die, no clear sweet wild
voice should be silenced forever by a bullet.
Please sign below and mail this story, as I intend to, to your state fish
and game office. The one in Olympia (WA) or Boise (ID) is best; local game
wardens won’t care. They’re overwhelmed with territory and can scarcely do
their jobs catching poachers who break the feeble, inadequate,
“right-to-not-be-murdered-but-only-at-certain-times-of-the-year” laws which
protect only “game”.
I’m mailing mine because of a coyote’s eyes, her death has to mean
something; it can’t be in vain.
I can’t tell you how this haunting account came to our attention, but it
arrived via a C.A.S.H. member as a FYI. We managed to contact its author,
Karen M. Schumacher, who lives in the wilderness of Idaho. Ms. Schumacher
puts out a newsletter regularly called Newhaven News which can be ordered
from: PO Box 217, Deary, ID 83823-0127
She wrote back in relevant part: “I am the daughter of a politician/trophyhunter/gunsmith/wildlife
writer, born and raised in N.E. Washington.” Ms. Schumaker works
politically, and with her community to stop hunting. Karen asks that you
send the letter below to: Idaho Dept. of Fish & Game, POB 25, Boise, ID
83707. Office of Human Resources, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Dept. of the
Interior, Washington, DC 20240. Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife,
Sample Letter suggest by Ms. Schumaker.
I agree with the sentiments in
the above story. I am one of the vast majority of Americans who enjoy
hearing and seeing wild “life” alive. What does it say about us as a species
when, with the human population increasing, (and hence our familiarity to
them also), wild animals increasingly run from us, rather than feeling safe
to accept us as friends? Wild animals have families; feel love, pain, and
fear. They are interesting, beautiful, and knowable as individuals. They are
not “things” to be exploited for (bad) “sport”, cruel “recreation”, or hurt
for economic gain.
Also send a letter to your state and federal legislators. You can find
them online or by contacting 1-877-LOHV-US7. That’s the number of the League
of Humane Voters..
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