Friday, October 30, 2009

Everybody's a music critic...

I don't believe I've ever heard of a fatal coyote attack before.

I'm sure that the fact that I initially broke out laughing at the link makes me a bad person: The link read "Canadian Folk Singer Killed By Coyotes", and my first mental picture was more Belushi in Animal House than something from Animal Planet.

If CNN had wished to be more solemn, they should have written the link to say "19 y.o. woman killed by coyotes", or "Young hiker fatally mauled by coyotes".

Instead, the way they wrote it is almost like a joke. The first word, "Canadian", starts it off on a humorous theme, because Canadians are all intrinsically funny: Witness John Candy, Mark Steyn, PDB, or any random Che-shirted Quebecois Separatist (although the Frog Canucks are trying to be serious, it still counts.)

Second, they described the victim as a "folk singer" and, really, who hasn't wanted to see one of those torn apart by wild dogs at some time in their life?

52 comments:

Ed Foster said...

Everybody's a music critic...

That's cold Momma. Hilarious, but cold. I'll send the link to everyone I think has a sense of humor. And a touch of the macabre.

Anonymous said...

"I don't believe I've ever heard of a fatal coyote attack before."

It's a well-known fact that coyotes are extremely lethal.

I remember watching documentaries as a kid about coyotes and their use of anvils, portable manholes, rockets, inter alia from a noted coyote-supplier . . . ACME if I remember correctly.

If attacked by coyotes in the wilds of Broad Ripple, simply yell "beep, beep" and run away. I'll make a kirtan like the Four Rules song to help you remember.

Shootin' Buddy

Tam said...

If CNN had wished to be more solemn, they should have written the link to say "19y.o. woman killed by coyotes" or "Young hiker fatally mauled by coyotes".

Instead, the way they wrote it is almost like a joke. The first word, "Canadian", starts it off on a humorous theme, because Canadians are all intrinsically funny: Witness John Candy, Mark Steyn, PDB, or any random Quebecois Separatist (although the Frog Canucks are trying to be serious, it still counts.)

Second, they described the victim as a "folk singer" and, really, who hasn't wanted to see one of those torn apart by wild dogs at some time in their life?

BobG said...

I wonder if they actually were coyotes; I've been around them a lot, and they don't run in packs, and they aren't that big. Hybrids of coyotes and dogs are another matter. They can get larger, are more aggressive, and will run in packs.

Tam said...

Yup, wild dogs are much more likely. But coyotes are funnier.

Anonymous said...

Not funny

Stuart the Viking said...

Where I grew up we had much more in the way of packs of wild dogs than coyotes, but my guess would be that there isn't all that much of a differance both basicly being canines. The pack of wild dogs that took up residence in the woods behind the farm were always a danger if you strayed too close to the abandoned van by the creek that they used for shelter. We always had big dogs to keep them off the farm and out of the chicken house, and those big dogs would always accompany my brother and I whenever we went into the woods.

Always important. If traveling in areas with packs of wild canines, travel in groups and armed (if you can, the story IS from Canada after all).

On a side note: Tam, what a mean trick. I had the picture in my mind of an old long haired washed up dude in tie-dye that I might remember hearing a song by way back when, but when I clicked on the link it was a cute 19yo girl. Not that it is any more or less sad because of that, but geesh, it was a bit of a shock.

Wait... does that make me a sexist asshole?

s

Tam said...

Stuart,

"Not that it is any more or less sad because of that, but geesh, it was a bit of a shock."

That was what threw me.

Sometimes we laugh because the alternative is crying; it helps when the headline is written like the punchline of a bad joke.

Bram said...

If it wasn't an island, I would never believe it was coyotes, not wolves. Still might be - northern Nova Scotia is the back-ass end of nowhere.

Anonymous said...

Coyotes don't run in packs? Don't tell anyone in southern Ontario wine country - I admit they may have some dog blood - but cats and smaller dogs (Smaller than Lab) regulary disappear in the evening hours, and larger dogs have been mauled. You can a hear the packs moving at night.

Southern Ontario is rural but it's dense rural. Not the back of beyond.

jimbob86 said...

Coyotes, where wolves are eradicated, evolve to fill that niche.

In SW Nebraska where I hunt, they do run together and are larger on average than they were when Grandpa was a boy..... that is the general consensus down there, anyhow.....

Anonymous said...

Its a shame there wasn't an IMPD officer there to help out. He could have shot at the coyote, missed, fallen down, and broken his arm. Then, they would have probably eaten him instead.

Tam, I recommend you read Maneaters by Peter Hathaway Capstick, if you can find it. It seems like your kind of book.

Buck said...

Checked Nova Scotia's conservation web site and the coyotes are larger the their western kin because of dog and wolf genes being mixed in. Plus western coyotes have killed children in isolated cases. And yes my thought when first seeing the headline was some old 60's folk singer.

Brian J. said...

What, did the Phoenix NHL team lose to Calgary and some players decide to take on someone their own size?

Ed Foster said...

Buck, we have the same situation here in Connecticut. Coy-wolf crosses are pretty good sized.

I was driving to work a few years ago, and at a major intersection in very suburban Bloomfield, a German Shepard sized bitch with a severe case of the mange trotted across a four lane intersection.

I gather they live in the wooded parts of the big Catholic cemetary and cruise the alleys for garbage can snacks, rats, cats, and any other morsels they can find.

Deer hunters and farmers pop them every chance they get, the local cops taser them and send them off to the vacuum chamber, but the buggers are way too smart to get run over and seem to breed like jackrabbits.

Now if only we could interest them in liberal politicians...

Anonymous said...

And I thought Mexicans and Central Americans were most at risk from coyotes (particularly the way they drive).

WV: obratic - when the fat lady sings for this administration

Jason said...

Well, to be fair, the RCMP officer who took statements said that the coyotes didn't have much in the way of hunting skills, which is why they went for the cute folk singer who was just coming into her prime instead of going after the old and weak folk singer who braided his hair like Willie Nelson and still smelled faintly of granola-laced patchouli.

Coyotes tried to attack Gordon Lightfoot once, but they never realized that his name is a killing word.

Breda said...

poor PDB, he'll never live down his years in Canada. (he actually was born in the US)

Ancient Woodsman said...

A few thougts: how about John Belushi playing Gordon Lightfoot, as only John Belushi could?

Yes, eastern coyotes are bigger than western, and they do run in packs. Aa a Forest Ranger in the northeast with colleagues in the maritimes, it is common knowledge that the coyote is a big, big problem.

I'm sure the victim was probably singing "I like flowers, and rainbows, and puppies" at the time, and thoroughly confused by the twin thoughts of "I thought all fury creatures were cute & harmless?" and "I just KNOW guns are evil & wicked, but I sure do wish I had one right now!" Or she may have just been hallucinating from the shrooms...who knows?

Interesting story. Thanks for the post.

Tam said...

Breda,

"poor PDB, he'll never live down his years in Canada. (he actually was born in the US)"

French fry gravy doesn't wash off that easy. ;)

Joel said...

...they described the victim as a "folk singer" and, really, who hasn't wanted to see one of those torn apart by wild dogs at some time in their life?

Oh, now. That's cold, Tam. Where's the harm in an innocent folk singer?

Mimes, now. Yeah, mimes should be torn by wolverines and eaten by ants. While alive. But not folk singers. They're kinda cute.

pdb said...

Correction: Only Canadians who smarten up and escape are funny. All the others are too depressed to crack jokes.

Bob said...

It's a strange story, isn't it? My first reaction was of the old Looney Toon of Wile E. Coyote introducing himself to Bugs Bunny: My name is Wile E. Coyote, Suuuupah Geeeeneeius, and I'm going to eat you!

My second reaction was it would make a good Frank Zappa album name: Coyotes Ripped My Flesh.

My third reaction is to wonder, perhaps indelicately, if the poor girl was menstruating at the time of the attack, the blood spoor being attractive to the coyotes, similar to a menstruating woman attracting sharks when swimming in the ocean.

cj said...

"...and they don't run in packs..."

They must not know that. My scariest animal encounter (among bears, wild pigs, rattlesnakes and many others)was a small pack of coyotes spread out to block the path to the exit of a huge park while hiking in California. Thanks to California, my entire available defense was a dried out branch that would have broken on the first nose it hit.

We managed to skirt around them eventually, but talk about watching over your shoulder for the next few miles.

Joanna said...

When I was a kid, my dad used to take me outside to listen to the coy dogs howl. This was just north of Indianapolis, in a not particuarly rural area. The idea of a wild animal without an inbred fear of humans made quite an impression on me.

Rabbit said...

by the way, has anyone seen Stephen Bishop lately? He might have been carried off my coyotes in the '90's.

Regards,
Rabbit.

Matt G said...

BobG said: "and they don't run in packs"

Well, the ones that you're seeing may not, but I assure you that coyotes routinely run in packs. Most canines do. The Lone Wolf myth is just that-- a myth. Dogs, coyotes, and wolves like to run together. Sure, the last few coyotes that I saw were alone. But last night and the night before I heard a pack of at least ten, within a short rifle shot of my suburban house, all in one location. I've seen small packs of them, and have heard too many stories of good-sized packs chasing small deer in rural areas.

I'm shocked at this story, though, because I've NEVER, EVER heard of coyotes actually killing an adult. By and large, packs of feral dogs are definitely more dangerous to humans.

BobG said...

When coyotes are in packs, they are usually a mated couple with their cubs that have not left the family yet. You also get lone ones all going after the same prey at times, but they do not act with the same dynamics as a pack; for instance their is no alpha member leading.

Mike said...

I'd be loonies to dollars Mitchell was out vying for street cred with the other folk and country singers, the same way that kid in Indiana (or wherever) shot himself with a pellet gun to prove he's gansta.

It's all fun 'till the coyotes get carried away!

Will said...

There is a pack of 'yotes that drive prey on the cattle ranch across the street from me. They do this several times a week, late at night. Big suckers. I've seen them in my front yard. About the size of a regular German Shepard, but mean looking. No mistaking that for a dog! This is on the edge of San Jose, CA.

LabRat said...

For that matter, most WOLF packs are a breeding pair with an association of descendants in various stages of maturity. David Mech's picture of pack structure was heavily skewed by the fact the groups he studied were in captivity and unrelated.

Both coyotes and wolves are extremely plastic in their behavioral response to the environment. Get coyotes in high density with no competing larger predators, and you get big coyotes that run in packs with only one breeding pair. Try to kill out the coyotes, and you get small coyotes that run alone or in pairs where each of them breed every season. It's one reason coyotes are so hard to eradicate; everything in their evolutionary background prepares them to react easily to that kind of pressure, and to take advantage of its lack.

More interestingly, the more data is collected, the more it looks like there aren't any bright genetic lines between coyotes, North American wolves, and dogs at all, and that most of the species-defining differences are more epigenetic than anything else.

If I can dig up some of my old notes when I was trying to write about something else it'd make for a good post.

Also, count me chiming is as another saying Western coyotes DO pack up, and they don't need the benefit of wolf or dog DNA to do it. Both Stingray and I have had occasion to meet them... and I have little doubt they'll take an adult under the right circumstances. They've already taken children.

Anonymous said...

I thought the same exact thing, Tam.

Kind of reminded me of the guy and the gal killed by the bears in Alaska. The guy was some so-called bear expert.

I laughed the hardest when I read in the story that they were from Malibu.

Kelly said...

Oohh... it happened in Canada! I saw it in the local news, but didn't stop to read the article. I live in an area where visiting "aspiring singers" are quite welcome by the local entertainment venues, and where the coyotes in the nearby woods sometimes get brave enough to eat something people think they shouldn't. I had thought to myself, "It's Texas... why didn't she just shoot it?"

D.W. Drang said...

I can think of some "folk singers" who would both be missed if eaten by wild critters, and highly unlikely to miss when attacked by them. For instance, Joe Bethancourt and Leslie Fish.

staghounds said...

1. Leslie Fish sounds like a pack of coyotes, so she's safe.

2. I too wish they had not killed the coyotes, it is their space. Plus it would have made for an interesting experiment, and closer to nature experience. Boo, ParksCanada ParcsCanadienne!

3. Coyotes definitely do run in packs, our hounds routinely jump 3-5 in a group. It wouldn't take more than three to pull her down and kill her, if they were aggressive.

4. The most interesting thing for me is the locale, thirty years ago coyotes were almost unknown west of the Mississippi river and now they are in Central Park, on Boston Common, and eating folk singers in the Maritimes.

Ed Foster said...

The wolves are back too. And, having not been hunted in a dozen of their generations, they aren't particularly afraid of people either.

St. Prosper Quebec a few years ago. Two cousins of my buddy Normand Rainville were out deer hunting and cut a lot of wolf sign.

Then they realized they were being circled. they counted 10 or 11 of them, and they were definately wolves, big ones, not coyotes.

The circle kept closing, and they went back to back and walked out slowly to the truck. They weren't sure if shooting one of the wolves would chase the pack away or make it attack, so they saved that as a last option.

The wolves came within a few feet of the truck after they were inside. Curiosity and some basic caution, but no fear of man.

And St. Prosper is on the south side of the St. Lawrence Seaway, adjacent to Maine. What's on the north side, closer to the arctic?

If they ever get to Anticosti it will mean the loss of the most insanely hot deer hunting on the planet.

Brigid said...

Joel - a mime is a terrible thing to waste.

Minstrel said...

Folk chick should have been packing. Oh - wait - it's Canada, all glorious and gun-free and stuff . . .

Brad K. said...

There are some folk singers that forever hold a special place in my heart.

Leslie Fish, with her "Carmen Miranda's Ghost Is Haunting Space Station Three," a popular request on the Dr. Demento radio program some years back.

Kris Kristofferson, "Darby's Castle", "Silver Tongued Devil and I", "Loving Her Was Easier", and "Jesus Was A Capricorn" (He ate organic food). True, this was all back in 1970, but he did have a moment, there.

I consider C.W. McCall to be a (country) folk singer. "Wolf Creek Pass", "Audobon", "Roy", and "Crispy Critters". *sigh* they just don't sing 'em like that anymore.

Yeah, yeah, I know folk singers are 'sposed to be like Carole King - my favorite of hers was from "Really Rosie", "Avenue P". Well, that and "Alligators All Around". And, yes, I can sing it all the way through the alphabet.

But Homer and Jethro, they were kind of like folk singers, weren't they? "Hart Brake Motel" was good, while they were waiting for Elvis to get out of the Army, and "Camp Kookamonga". I liked that line about "She had nine buttons on her night gown, but she could only . . fascinate." Whatever that meant. I just like the way they really put themselves into that one.

But when I read a head line about a folk singer killed by coyotes, I find myself wondering. What could she have been singing, that irritated the pack that much? "How Much Is That Doggy In The Window?" That doesn't seem hardly annoying enough. Gloria Estefan's "Go Away"? Or Blake Shelton's "All Over Me" (I would have tackled and held her down for that one).

jimbob86 said...

"thirty years ago coyotes were almost unknown west of the Mississippi river"

I think ya meant "east of the Mississippi river" there...... 'cause I shot my first coyote almost 30 years ago in Nebraska. Last I checked, Nebraska has always been west of the Mississippi.... and the Missouri, for that matter......

The Freeholder said...

I don't know about Canadian coyotes, but down here the buggers get up in the 40-50# neighborhood and they will pack up. Neighbor up the hill shot two off the back of our property about 18 months ago. The guy that hunts back there had been slack, and we got too many deer. Several moved in to make a few meals.

I will give them credit for one thing--if you have a feral cat problem, yotes will solve that one for you really fast and quite thoroughly. We were starting to have a problem with those, and as a cat person, it really bothers me to have to shoot what looks like my house cats. Coyotes moved back in this summer (noisy so-and-sos) and the issue was quickly handled.

Now I just got to shoot the coyotes before they clean out everything else.

Hammerbach said...

"She had nine buttons on her nightgown,
but she could only...
Fasten eight."

TBeck said...

Satan just tweeted, you're running late for brunch.

Matthew said...

[quote=The Freeholder]I will give them credit for one thing--if you have a feral cat problem, yotes will solve that one for you really fast and quite thoroughly. We were starting to have a problem with those, and as a cat person, it really bothers me to have to shoot what looks like my house cats. Coyotes moved back in this summer (noisy so-and-sos) and the issue was quickly handled.

Now I just got to shoot the coyotes before they clean out everything else.[/quote]

Nah, just release wave after wave of Chinese Needle Snakes.

Beaumont said...

BobG, here in East Tennessee, coyotes do run in packs, and kill anything that doesn't fight back. Our last neighborhood pack was put down by a guy with a suppressed 9mm carbine. Gotta get me one a' those....

Joel said...

Here in the high desert we're surrounded by coyotes. Pets and livestock are in constant peril - housecats in particular tend to disappear in the middle of the night, and anybody with one of those yappy little anklebiter dogs definitely wants to keep an eye on it - but nowhere in the stories people tell around here has a coyote pack ever bothered a person. Of course the fact that lots of people cheerfully hunt them for their hides may have something to do with that - you only get eaten if you act like food, and to the local coyotes it's people who do the eating, so they usually keep a respectful distance.

And yes, coyotes definitely run in packs. They also run alone sometimes. The best way to keep them away from the house is to have a pack of large, noisy dogs. If the dogs are spayed or neutered, the antipathy between dog and coyote will keep the two groups apart - usually. If the dogs aren't spayed or neutered - well, a conjugal truce has been known to happen, and can bring startling results. Truly aggressive dogs will sometimes hunt coyotes, but I've never heard of it happening the other way around. Coyotes are not animals that like to take chances, and they don't have to - lots of things around here they can eat, that won't eat back.

Brian Dale said...

Given that this woman was killed in a pretty unpleasant way, it didn't help that they reported her death in the "SHOWBIZ/Music" section. Do me a favor, please: if I get killed somehow, tell 'em not to put the report in the "Men's Fashion/Rural Hick Casual" section, OK?

Ed Foster said...

Bridgid, what a terrible pun. I'm stealing that one too.

Anonymous said...

Bob:

You said...

"My third reaction is to wonder, perhaps indelicately, if the poor girl was menstruating at the time of the attack, the blood spoor being attractive to the coyotes, similar to a menstruating woman attracting sharks when swimming in the ocean."

Almost every person taken by a cougar (mountain lion) out here in the west has been a young woman, and I'm willing to bet every one of them was on her period. S'funny how nobody ever reports on whether that's the case or not.

This being big cat country, I remind young ladies every time the subject comes up that they should be able to protect themselves, i.e., they should be carrying.

Big cats sneak up on things, kill them, and eat them. It's what they do for a living, and they're really, really good at it. They're also blindingly fast. 0 to 50 in just "did you hear a twig snap?", and a top speed close to the old double nickle.

If you're on your period, you're prey, and you should either travel in a group, or go armed and aware.

Anonymous said...

We have coyotes here in Los Angeles. Yes, in the city limits (Griffith Park). They are about the size of Shelties. They are rarely killed because most of them are shy animals. I can't imagine anyone over the age of five being killed by them.

danontherock said...

We are to the north east of Nova Scotia. There are some big coyotes up here,weighing up to 65 lbs. The coyotes here in Newfoundland eat as much caribou as snowshoe hare. They take down caribou regularly. As for Canadians having a bad sense of humor, most people would be humorless living with 9 months of winter. Here in Newfoundland though we don't know enough to get depressed.:-)

Matt G said...

I love Newfie humor. It's different. ;)