A backyard coyote crossing | RecordCourier.com

A backyard coyote crossing

My husband is a devoted early morning riser. He revels in the quiet peacefulness of getting up before sunrise to scan the news and sip hot coffee while the rest of our home's occupants blissfully snooze away.

This treasured solitude was interrupted by a couple of unexpected visitors one recent weekend morning.

While sitting at the kitchen table scrolling through morning headlines, a movement in the backyard caught his eye. He looked over his shoulder to see not one, but two fully-grown coyotes trot across the grass. One was on a level section of the lawn and the other moved across a hillier portion of the yard. One of the coyotes paused to make eye contact and stared at him briefly before continuing along its way.

The proximity of the coyotes to our back door was as fascinating as it was disconcerting. I've written about neighborhood coyote sightings before, but they've never been this close to the house and certainly not in our backyard. Our dog has open access to a fenced portion of the yard, but it seems the coyotes could have entered that area fairly easily. I'm relieved that our dog was among those still sleeping in the house that morning.

Coyote mating season spans late winter through early spring. Once bonded, coyotes are mainly considered monogamous animals; they stay together for several years and both parents take an active role in raising their young.

Mating season is a time when daytime coyote sightings are more common, as males actively monitor their territory to ensure no other males encroach upon their area on search of food or a female partner.

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Should you ever spot a coyote or cross paths with one, there are several "hazing" techniques that can be employed to discourage coyotes from getting too comfortable in their proximity to humans:

Get "loud and large:" wave your arms and yell while cautiously moving toward the coyote. Stomp your feet.

Use noisemakers (pennies in a can, whistling, air horns, bells, banging pots and pans, etc.)

Spray water from a hose, use pepper spray, or bear repellent

Throw projectiles such as tennis balls or sticks toward (but not at) the coyote

Continue with the hazing technique until the coyote completely leaves the area. If they're used to being around people, this may take a while.

Remember to always walk your pets on a leash, monitor them when they're outside whenever possible, and keep their food inside the house.

Tahoe/Douglas Elks breakfast

The Tahoe/Douglas Elks host their monthly buffet breakfast at the lodge this Sunday from 8:30-10:30 a.m.

Cost for non-Elks members is $8 for adults and $5 for children under 10. Elks members receive a $1 discount off those prices.

The Tahoe/Douglas Elks Lodge is located at 1227 Kimmerling Road in the Gardnerville Ranchos.

Amy Roby can be reached at ranchosroundup@hotmail.com.