October 30, 2009

Deadly coyotes.

RIP, Taylor Mitchell.


Balfegor said...

Absolutely horrifying. And how terrible for her family, and her fans. I cannot help but imagine her being mauled, in terror and pain, etc. Being torn apart by wild dogs was my most frequent nightmare when I was small.

I suppose one cannot help it on a nature trail, but the urbanised and suburbanised coyote populations should be exterminated.

chickenlittle said...


They're not news news.

c3 said...

A VERY unusual occurence. Coyotes are very wary of humans (though they love house cats and small dogs)

I live in Phoenix and we have coyotes everywhere and I have never heard of one attacking a human.

Maguro said...

A good reminder to always hike with a buddy.

exhelodrvr1 said...

I had one run parallel to me for about 100 yards while I was riding a bike in an "open space" (but urban) area. We were separated by a fence; I'm not sure if I startled him, and he was scared, or if he was interested.

Kirk Parker said...

Some folks are claiming that the animals in question are actually a coyote/wolf mix, and much more aggressive than the typical western coyote. I have no idea if this is accurate or not.

Also, while I understand the love of solitude, I'm not really a fan of solo hiking, because when you're alone you're not really alone--Mr. Murphy (of the eponymous law) is your constant companion. Remember that cougar attack in California where the woman fought the cougar off her companion with a pen and a fallen branch? Without her, that attack almost certainly would have ended as a fatality, too.

Synova said...

"A teenager has died after she was attacked by two coyotes while hiking alone in a national park.

Other hikers raised the alarm after hearing the terrified screams of 19-year-old folk singer Taylor Mitchell.

Police arrived to find the coyotes still attacking Taylor, who had suffered multiple bite wounds over her entire body.

I hope to hell the "other hikers" never sleep again.

Is this what morality is now? Call the police? Can't find a stick? Can't gang up to chase the wild animal away? So the police arrive and the coyotes are *still* chewing on her?

I hope they never sleep again.

Synova said...

"Remember that cougar attack in California where the woman fought the cougar off her companion with a pen and a fallen branch?"


Synova said...

The television report said the coyotes were gone and other hikers found her.

Different deal then, if the other linked report was wrong.

Kirk Parker said...
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Kirk Parker said...

"I suppose one cannot help it on a nature trail"

One can, and should, carry a handgun. But we're talking Canada here, and so this most basic precaution is nearly impossible to carry out.

Synova said...

People around here often carry walking sticks... or baseball bats.

If not for the coyotes and occasional mountain lions or bears... certainly for the dogs.

kwood said...

Very sad and my heart goes out to the girl and her family.

An ice-pick with a sturdy handle is a good, cheap and very effective (and easy to carry) defensive weapon for attacks like these. Hold it close and 'feed' it to the animal when it goes to bite.

PatCA said...

Terrible, horrifying.

Attacks on humans by wildlife are rare, but that is cold comfort to those who are maimed or killed. In CA coyotes have indeed attacked toddlers.

Toddlers Attacked Again

I have said it before: living "in harmony" with nature is different than living in peace. It is ludicrous to think otherwise. You are prey; prepare for it.

Henry said...

When I lived in rural New York I was a lot more worried about unleashed dogs than coyotes.

For good reason.

Outside of the poisonous, allergenic and disease-carrying species, the most deadly wild animal is the white tailed deer -- which kills about 100 to 200 people each year in automobile collisions.

We need more hunters.

Original Mike said...

A good reminder to always hike with a buddy.

I think I'll continue to take my chances.

Theo Boehm said...

The coyote-wolf mix issue is intriguing. Here in the western Boston 'burbs, we have a surprising amount of wildlife, considering people have been living on our street for 350 years.

They include the usual racoons, foxes, coyotes, possums, woodchucks, skunks, a martin (we live near a river), deer (everywhere), wild turkeys (damn aggressive pests), two species of hawk, a moose, and a neighbor had a black bear (photographed) in her yard. Our European neighbors are amazed. No bears in your yard in Barcelona.

I grew up partly in the Mojave Desert, and was VERY familiar with western coyotes as a kid. A few years back, we had a coyote den in the woods behind the house, and, contrary to what Dudly Do-Right had to say, I did see enough of them to worry me, especially with two small kids at the time.

The coyotes in the Northeast are distinctly larger and redder than the mangy, grey things I remember from the desert. I recall watching from the deck one late afternoon as the pups from "our" den frisked and played, and their color looked as if they might be foxes. Mama coyote came along and herded the little ones out of sight, dispelling any doubts about their species, and amazing me at how quickly and quietly they all vanished into the woods, never to be seen as a group again.

Some wildlife experts think that around here, coyotes interbred with the native red wolf, giving the coyote an orange-red cast to its coat and a more substantial build.

In Massachusetts, we're on the northern edge of the red wolf's traditional range, and on the southern fringe of the grey wolf's territory. I'm wondering if there's any evidence of coyotes further north in Canada interbreeding with the much more fearsome and well-known grey wolf.

LonewackoDotCom said...

Did it ever occur to Synova that the others might have been a distance away, such as across a canyon/local equivalent? And, it might turn out that she did something that she shouldn't have, such as provoking them, trying to feed them, looking like a deer by hunching over, or running away (like prey) instead of standing her ground.

rhhardin said...

Those are metric coyotes.

The English unit ones aren't nearly so dangerous.

rcocean said...

Are coyotes native to that area? IF not, they should be exterminated. I don't see any reason for wild dangerous animals in suburbia or nature trails or parks that aren't really wild.

They belong in the wilderness. I never understood this weird sympathy for killer animals, some people actually want Grizzly Bears back in California.

Dudley Do-right said...

Dammit, this is what guns are for. Wild animals cannot always be trusted to run away when confronted by a human. Nor should anyone have to surrender their life because an animal got the wrong impression.

A $100 .22 rifle could've averted this. It's tragic for someone to lose so much for want of so little.

William said...

Can this be a put on? Mox=mockery news. It just seems so absurd that a gentle folk singer who really cares about the environment should get torn apart by coyotes. In the movies, this is the kind of fate that awaits real estate developers scouting out the site for a new Walmart. I'm a little skeptical.

David said...

Sad and terrifying but it never fails to amaze me when people are surprised that wild animals are dangerous.

Dogwood said...

Interesting line in the video:

"Nature turned against her."

Nope, nature did what nature does. Nature was never on her side.

We can romanticize nature all we want, but that doesn't change the basic feature of nature: predator vs. prey.

Hopefully this terribly tragic loss will help remind people of the true dangers present in nature.

The park were she was killed also has black bears, so it is not a place I would frequent without carrying at least a knife big enough for self-defense.

exhelodrvr1 said...

"the white tailed deer -- which kills about 100 to 200 people each year in automobile collisions.

We need more hunters."

Or arm drivers.

Kirk Parker said...

rhhardin, that's just brilliant!

Dudley, carrying a rifle everywhere you walk is a bit daunting--unless you're in brown bear country, where the risk overcomes the nuisance factor. Which is why I mentioned the (evil, to Canadians, alas) handgun.

bagoh20 said...

Here in California coyotes, cougars and bears are pretty common even near populations. Unfortunately it is nearly impossible to carry a gun which would virtually nullify the threat. I hike alone in remote areas all the time and it is pretty scary sometimes especially at night. It is very risky to carry a gun. The authorities don't like it. It's usually illegal and where it's not, the rangers are known to arrest you and put your though hell anyway, just to discourage you. People are virtually helpless against these animals.

I'm sick of S.O.B.s who have never held a gun telling the rest of us we need to adopt their sheep role.

This girl would probably have chosen to be unarmed anyway, but it would be nice if she at least had the option and knowledge to protect herself when walking among packs of predators that kill dear for a living.

Gina said...

Apparently not a mock news story, sadly.

NPR story

bagoh20 said...

The solutions are:
Kill all the animals that could threaten you

Don't visit the wilderness

Allow people to carry a handgun.

Only one solution is reasonable and respectful of the natural world.

The chance of being attacked is very slight, but telling people they cannot protect themselves when they visit areas where predators live is stupid.

Kirk Parker said...
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Kirk Parker said...

bagoh20--say more: I know it's quite hard to get a concealed-carry permit in the larger CA cities, I thought that open carry on foot was perfectly legal in rural areas. Am I wrong?

Michael Hasenstab said...

I hike in the national and state forests in the upper midwest. There are plenty of threats from animals, and to a lesser extent from meth makers.

I carry one of these. Effective.

Henry said...

You know, bad things happen and sometimes they happen to you -- or upcoming folk singers. It is horrible, certainly for the individual, but I'd rather not live in a world where every extremely low probability bad thing triggers draconian response.

The numbers of people killed each year by bears, mountain lions, coyotes, wolves, and other scary predators is in the single digits or low teens. Driving to the trail where the coyotes lurk is far more dangerous than the coyotes.

Pastafarian said...

I've seen coyotes, and unless those Nova Scotia coyotes are one hell of a lot bigger and meaner than our Ohio coyotes, it's hard to believe that two of them could kill a full-grown woman; or that they'd even try. This must be incredibly rare.

Re. Michael Hasenstab's recommendation of pepper spray: I'm reminded of a photo of a sign at the entrance to a national park, advising hikers to carry pepper spray, and to wear bells, so that they don't accidentally sneak up on bears.

It also advises them to know the signs of different bears: Black bear scat will contain seeds from berries and bones from rodents; grizzly bear shit contains small bells and smells like pepper.

Kirk Parker said...

Henry, you're right in the statistical sense. Where morality enters is when the state forbids you to take reasonable measures to defend yourself; it is as if they prohibited seat belts and air bags.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I know it's quite hard to get a concealed-carry permit in the larger CA cities, I thought that open carry on foot was perfectly legal in rural areas. Am I wrong?

You are correct. Open carry of a legally registered firearm is perfectly legal.

Getting a concealed carry permit might be a bit more difficult, especially in urban areas, but is very easy in rural areas.

I won't go outside at night in my yard without being armed and with a very very bright flashlight to blind the animal. Mountain lions, foxes, coyotes, racoons and skunks. .....don't shoot the skunks. phewww.

Kirk Parker said...


You guys have registration???? Gack!

Well, and now you get to register your ammo, too, or so I hear...

Dudley Do-right said...

"Among other evils which being unarmed brings you, it causes you to be despised." Niccolo Machiavelli

....despised by dogs, no less.

reg said...

they're not some coy-wolf mixed breed, they run about 50lbs and are usually frightened off by a display of aggression. the last time here that someone was attacked by a coyote was 2003, a 6 yr old girl was bitten. you can't exterminate the damn things , they were just being coyotes.Luciow(Mitchell) should have carried a stick or club of some sorts and scared them off.why they attacked we don't know but if she ran instead of facing them is a possibility.


The area isn't suburbanised it is the real outdoors , it sure isn't a disney park.

the people here(Cape Breton Island-you can drive we have a causeway to the mainland-the island is about the size of the big island of Hawaii) are a lot more friendly than the coyotes.
But wait for next summer/fall the winter and spring are rather dreary.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

You guys have registration???? Gack!

Um...well...more or less...

Well, and now you get to register your ammo, too, or so I hear...

Not quite yet. But yes, soon. (Freaking California Nanny Nazis!) However, it is really hard to register reloaded 12 gauge shotgun shells. :-)

psoriasisguru.com said...

this is tragic and strange; I didn't think coyotes ever attacked people - they are supposed to be scavengers

PatCA said...

Somehow my link didn't appear last time. Here it is, hopefully.

Coyotes Attack Toddlers

Kirk Parker said...

"they are supposed to be scavengers"

They are: the pick up the stray kitties and mini/toy doggies that are cluttering up the neighborhood.

Kirk Parker said...


OK, after a bit of googling I see you have registration for handguns but not for long arms, no private transfers, and you must register all your handguns when moving into the state. So, a complete handgun registry. Bleah.

As far as the ammo goes, here's hoping you live close enough to AZ, NV, or OR to make frequent visits!

wv - nitic - a critic of small details.

Shane said...

I live in Cape Breton and have never had a fear of being attacked by a coyote. My fiancé, myself and our dog have walked/hiked almost every trail and never once spotted or were concerned about coyotes, although we have heard them howling, and were aware that they could be in an area WE CHOSE to hike in.

I think this whole situation is being exploited and blown out of proportion. In other words, it's a good news story for ratings by the media. I don't ever remember any other attack by coyotes on this island. Yes it is sad that a young woman died. It's sad when anyone dies.

Put this in to perspective, more people die every hour from car accidents than the total amount of deaths per year, and possibly over a 5 year period, from coyote attacks. So all those trigger happy idiots who think the solution to everything is to shoot anything that looks at you the wrong way, how many vehicles do you own?