“Listen. Do you hear that?” Ann called down from her perch upstairs, windows open, well after first light this morning.
She suggested I step out onto the front porch, which I did. And from just across the road where Goose Creek and Nameless Creek meet, came the bleating of a fawn. It was either separated from its mother or it was being tormented by dogs, most likely, though we’d not heard any barking.
Out of the dense woods ran a fawn, not newborn by any means, followed soon by the mother and then a dark shape I couldn’t at first make out through the maple trees along the road. I ran to the bridge across the branch to get a line of sight out over the field.
It was a coyote sure enough, following the fawn up the hillside behind the barn. I could still hear the young deer bleating and the mother running circles around the attacker. I ran inside and grabbed the gun.
Coyotes rarely hunt alone, so I took the gun off safety and waited. Here came a second fawn from a pair of twins, and a few seconds later, the wolf-shape of a second coyote. He was out of range even if I was skilled with the rifle–which I’m not–and at 250 yards, my two shots scared him, sure enough, and he headed in a puff of dust down the length of the valley, his partner still tormenting the young deer.
Ambivalence: knowing how many excess deer we have around here, the dearth of predators, and the aggravation of the dog being tormented by their scent and Ann vexed by the possible (if very unlikely) face to face encounter that might injure the dog. So I shot to frighten, as if I could have done any worse.
Needless to say, we kept the dog on the leash this morning, and walked (toting the gunpowder-powered noise maker) along the road instead of our bear-infested, coyote-crowded loop through the woods. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.
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