In which I beat off a coyote with a box of Rice Chex

defending myself from coytoes

Late one night, my husband called to me from the front door.

They’re here.

Whose here?

The coyotes. Just on the other side of the garage.

I was busy with the children and not that interested in hearing the coyotes yip and howl. I’d heard it enough. I have my doubts about their proximity, knowing that they can sound an awful lot closer than they really are. But he finally coaxed me out the door.

Standing in the silence, I asked if he tried to scare the coyotes or just let them be.

Yeah, I banged on the garage and then one howled.

A chill ran up my spine. Because that sounded like a challenge. The yipping that had started up on the other side of the tree line was one thing. The pack was assembling, quarreling, getting ready to hunt. The howling, however, is reserved for the alpha male asserting his ownership of the territory. The question was, who is the howl directed at? My husband? Our dogs? Or the pack?

One thing was for sure. They were close, and banging on the garage wasn’t doing much to scare them off. We retreated into the safety of the house until morning. An outing with the dog revealed just how close the coyote my husband heard came. A single coyote had trotted up along the hedge that marks the edge of our property.

At the road, it turned. It trotted up our drive. It walked in a circle near the garage. It started to head around the back of the garage before turning back toward the road and disappearing in the ditch on the other side.

A little too close for comfort. It isn’t our first encounter with this pack, but they gave us a month of peace. A month of not letting us know they were here, anyway. Now what did they want? Were they just passing through, or were they back, prepared for a fight? They are known to actively lure dogs away, back to the pack where they are disposed of. And the coyotes and I both know my dogs will give chase.

So again I’m uneasy. That we share this land with wild creatures does not scare me. That wild things lurk in the dark and watch me even while I am unaware of their presence makes me only a little nervous. But that we have a wild predator that seems so willing to allow itself to be seen, seems to challenge us even, that I find unnerving.

But you want to hear the part where I attack, don’t you? Trust me, this all is important to the story. The story just isn’t the same without the events leading up to it.

Because you see, this story happened on a Wednesday and Wednesday is AWANAs. On this particular Wednesday, we got home late because I had stopped at WalMart for some groceries. So we get home, I let Hunter out of the chicken coop, lock it up and get the kids and groceries in the house. Teeth brushed, pajamas on, children in bed. Catch up on some email, write a post, Twitter. By now, it’s getting very late, but I spy a bag of groceries on the kitchen floor.

Aye, that too yet. I begin to put them away, but it sure seems like less than it was in the store. Did I really spend so much on so few items? It’s one in the morning and I realize I never got the bags out of the back seat of the car.

I step out on the porch and the coyote chorus begins immediately. I hesitate. Not only are they close, but they started the moment I opened the door. I know they weren’t calling when I was in the house. They’re too close. Too loud. I would have heard it. Coincidence? Or were they “talking” to me? Or about me? Am I again flanked like my husband the night before?

Twenty steps to the car. I stop to look around. I’m surrounded mostly by open ground, but the other side of the car is in a dark shadow. I’m acutely aware of that fact as I open the car door and reach in to turn on the light. And in that moment, as I reach across the seat with my back turned to the darkness, I feel vulnerable. I can’t turn around fast enough.

But nothing is there. With the lights on, it is so much easier to tell myself I’m imagining things. That I am imagining the rustle. That I’m imagining danger in the sudden silence of the coyote pack, so vociferous only moments before.

I reach back into the car, over the seat to get the bags. Again, I feel vulnerable. With my back to the darkness, the light does not help. Another shiver runs up my spine and I turn around.

But nothing is there. I grab the bags, close the door and turn toward the house.

A rustle. I. Did. Not. Imagine. That. My grip tightens on my bags as another rustle is accompanied by a tug at the bag in my right hand. My heart and time seem to stand still as I spin around, becoming suddenly aware that the only thing in the bag I’m about to swing is a box of Rice Chex.

Fortunately for me, that was enough. It only took one wallop with the cereal for that bush to think better of messing with me and release my groceries. But I ran in the house anyway, having had enough of the wild things for one night, bushes included.


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  1. Reply


    March 17, 2010

    Wow. Ever think about a gun? Or is it illegal to shoot coyotes there?
    .-= April´s last blog ..About that hen =-.

    • Reply


      March 17, 2010

      No, it’s not illegal to shoot coyotes in NE, if they are posing a danger to you or your animals. This would be an instance that it would be justified.

      We (NE panhandle) have neighbors who set traps because they have small livestock & turkeys. The traps have poisoned meat, so they are somewhat humane. But they will also shoot if they are too close to the house.

  2. Reply

    Teresa Smith

    March 17, 2010

    Great suspense!! I am sure it took you a while to fall asleep after that!!

    Seriously…Get a gun or a Bear Banger or something that will hurt them and make them think twice about coming around anymore.

    Blessings In Messiah,
    .-= Teresa Smith´s last blog ..Dreaming of Spring….. =-.

  3. Reply


    March 17, 2010

    We stumbled across a couple kids (by kids I mean college-age) hunting coyotes a couple weeks ago. I prefer to just attack the shrubbery when I’m scared. πŸ™‚
    .-= Dana´s last blog ..In which I beat off a coyote with a box of Rice Chex =-.

  4. Reply


    March 17, 2010

    Wow, you tell an awesome story. You literally had me on the edge of my seat holding my breath. And the ending…well, that’s too funny. I’m certainly not laughing at your fear (if it were me, no doubt I’d have been screaming for Hubby by then) but the way you told the story is just brilliant.

    I’m sincerely glad though that it was only the brush. πŸ™‚
    .-= Sheri´s last blog ..I Hope It’s a Trend and Not a Fluke =-.

  5. Reply


    March 17, 2010

    Yikes! You’re incredibly brave, and a very clever story teller – but there’s too much suspense for me in this story!

    We also have predators circling our house (in Australia), even in the daytime. They come into the house and car if we leave the door open for even a minute, and they brazenly attack our guests in the driveway! I’ve been getting paranoid and afraid to take the kids out in the yard. Still I’d rather our plagues of disease carrying mozzies than your coyotes any day. I hope you can scare them away.
    .-= Vanessa´s last blog ..Little Aussie Adventurers =-.

  6. Reply


    March 17, 2010

    That is just plain unsettling. I would be so scared for my dogs and kids.
    .-= Diane´s last blog ..Ugh!!!! =-.

  7. Reply


    March 17, 2010

    Wow! I felt like I was right there. It reminds me of when I’m waken in the middle of the night as my husband is heading out the door to defend our chickens from foxes. He tells me not to get up but I usually stand on the porch in my bathrobe anyway not being able to sleep until I know everything is ok.
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..An Afternoon Together =-.

  8. Reply

    Lori @ Just Pure Lovely

    March 17, 2010

    Okay, so my little baby shark is no longer frightening at ALL. We can just avoid the Gulf, if we want to avoid him! I love reading about your life there, so different than my area. God’s Earth is amazing.
    .-= Lori @ Just Pure Lovely´s last blog ..Recently, I… =-.

  9. Reply

    monica @ educating magpies

    March 18, 2010

    excellent story! now all you need is Rice Chex to sponsor your next attendance at a blog conference. it’s a natural tie in, don’t you think? πŸ™‚
    .-= monica @ educating magpies´s last blog ..Meant for business; apply to self-directed learning =-.

  10. Reply


    March 18, 2010

    Hahaha! You know, we have been reading the Little House books out loud, and this reminds me of two incidents in the books — in Little house on the Prairie, when the wolves surround the cabin all night, and in Little House in the Big Woods, when Pa defends himself from a stump on the way home from town!

  11. Reply


    March 18, 2010

    Yes, very much like the stump episode. πŸ™‚

    Thanks, everyone, for laughing with me at my little adventure!
    .-= Dana´s last blog ..In which I beat off a coyote with a box of Rice Chex =-.

  12. Reply


    December 15, 2010

    Goodness…what suspense. I had to laugh at the end when you wrote about swinging the cereal at the bush!

    We, too, live rurally. Boy, what an adventure!

  13. Reply


    December 15, 2010

    I just read about your little boy. πŸ™ Praying.

  14. Reply


    July 22, 2011

    My husband hunts them….if they are getting that close to your home they are a definite danger. They have been known to drag off children. Day or night. There is no way I would allow this to continue. Be careful….


April 26, 2010