Sunday, October 21, 2012

The girls go on a hunt


 My coyote magnetism continues. Sunday afternoon as I headed down the highway en route to the sheep, a beautiful coyote with long gangly legs ran across the road in front of me. Laughing at the continued presence of these wild canines in my life, I pulled off the highway to get a few images of the coyote as she ran away.

But she didn’t run far. As I watched, the coyote ran through the sagebrush, but soon paused and turned. Instead of looking back at me, she was looking elsewhere. I strained to see what could be so interesting in her line of sight, and soon saw a red/brown fury erupt through the sage, headed right at the coyote. The coyote stood quietly, winking both her eyes at the approaching badger – apparently waiting for her companion.

Once the badger approached the coyote’s side, the pair took off through the sagebrush, hunting together companionably. At times the coyote would surge forward after some small prey, but would often stop and look back over her shoulder, allowing the smaller predator to catch up.





I had the distinct pleasure of watching badger and coyote as they zig-zagged together through the sagebrush for about 20 minutes. I never left the roadway, but remained in my truck, camera and lens out the window, with Hud the herding dog leaning on my shoulder, just as captivated by the scene as I. We watched until the two hunters continued on their merry way, out of sight.

I returned a little later in the day, hoping to catch another glimpse of the pair, and was rewarded by the sight of badger’s rump disappearing into a hole she was frantically excavating, with Coyote stationed nearby. As Badger threw dirt into the air, Coyote reclined on the ground, watching the excavation, and blinking her eyes as some of the dirt landed on her. 

Eventually Badger quit throwing dirt, but did not reappear above ground. Coyote got up and inspected the new hole before lying back down next to the hole, placing her chin on her paws and falling asleep. Satisfied, I left them to their slumber.
My apologies that the photos are not of better quality (they are severely cropped in), but they serve the purpose of proving my story true. I dared not approach for fear of scaring them away, or otherwise altering their Sunday outing. I did see both Coyote and Badger again later in the day, but this time they were no longer together.



13 comments:

Steve Bodio said...

You realize you may have the first photo document of LEGEND.

Congratulations!

Cat Urbigkit said...

Thanks Steve - it sure was fun to watch. All told, my encounters with this pair lasted about three hours.

I should also mention that this happened in an active natural gas field, not a protected refuge. We were only about 1/2 mile from a drilling rig, but it's an area where I see coyotes often. I've driven you through this area as well Steve - typical Wyoming sagebrush rangelands.

Anonymous said...

I've seen this story told a hundred times in print with a disclaimer at the end! What an awesome thing to run into in your daily life, and how great that you had a camera! Keep an eye open for Bigfoot!

Chas Clifton said...

What's next, "The Wind in the Willows" with a new canid character? :)

Heather Houlahan said...

Gobsmacked.

"There are more things in Heaven and Earth..."

murphyfish said...

Hi Steve,
Popped over after a heads up on SB's blog. Congrats on a great blog...John

Anonymous said...

....AND(plug time here) EVERYONE, if you enjoy such wildlife tales/observances, it is MANDATORY you get Cat's new book--"The Shepherds Of Coyote Rocks"--chock full of such stories, as well as a better understanding of the sheep, and guardian dogs, and donkeys, and transhumance, etc. etc. that is regularly discussed and presented on this blog. My NEW HARDBACK copy(beautifully illustrated with just such photos) was VERY reasonably priced, as well! Got mine off'n Amazon, of course....L.B.

Reid Farmer said...

Holy cow!

Cat Urbigkit said...

This may sound a little silly, but I'm still completely over the moon about this. One of the most wonderful things I've ever witnessed.

Steve Bodio said...

Lane, I may have accidentally deleted you (home after day in Alb with lots of mail and shaky hands). Again please-- something about Wild Kingdom?

Cat-- I tweeted it too!

Steve Bodio said...

What Lane wrote, recovered:


I have always read about this hunting partnership between badgers and coyotes, and once saw an old "Wild Kingdom"(back in the Marlin Perkins days) episode about it, except they also included Golden Eagles as sometimes hunting alongside coyotes and badgers, taking advantage of any groundsquirrels, etc., flushed by the two mammalian predators! But then, that episode was almost cerainly made with tame captives, with the usual "Wild Kingdom" disclaimer--"All sequences, whether actual or created, depict authenticated facts"!....L.B.

neutrino-cannon said...

There was an old Smithsonian magazine that had some pictures of this. Certainly not an everyday occurrence, to say the least.

Archaeopteryx said...

I once saw a photo in Natural History of a coyote and a badger who had hunted together. If I remember correctly, the acompanying article said that they groomed each other afterwards.

I'd give my eyeteeth to see what you saw!