Living in coyote country |

Living in coyote country

Gardnerville resident Chris Olesen captured this photo of a coyote pup near her home in the Gardnerville Ranchos last year.

Twice over the past 10 days, I’ve been jolted awake in the middle of the night by the call of coyotes, seemingly right outside my door. Their howls and yips overlay into a chorus that’s both spooky and exuberant, and I lie there, pulling the covers up tight as my heart beats wildly, alternating between feelings of fear and awe.

In our neighborhood, I’ve encountered a full-grown coyote while out walking my dog during daylight, and my son and I spotted a coyote pup while on a late-morning stroll a few years ago. Last winter, my husband watched two large coyotes nonchalantly trot through our backyard in the early morning hours.

We live in coyote country, and these recent late night songs are a good reminder to keep pets (and their food) indoors and to always walk them on a leash. Should you cross paths with a coyote, there are several techniques you can employ to discourage it from getting comfortable around humans:

Get “loud and large” by waving your arms, stomping your feet, and yelling while cautiously moving toward the coyote.

Make noise (whistle, use an air horn, bells, bang pots and pans, etc.)

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

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

Along this same theme, the Nevada Department of Wildlife hosts a free Wildlife Awareness Talk on Sept. 6 from 6-7 p.m. at the Washoe Lake State Park Equestrian Pavilion. The talk will focus on the appropriate response to a number of different wild animal encounters, including those involving coyotes, bears, mountain lions, skunks, and snakes.

The free event is sponsored by NDOW and Nevada State Parks, and park entrance fees will be waived for those participating in this program. Seating is limited; secure a spot by completing the registration form at

Washoe Lake State Park is located at 4855 Eastlake Blvd., New Washoe City. For information, log on to the NDOW website at and click the “Education” tab.

September Elks events

This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the Elks National Soccer Shoot Program; the Tahoe/Douglas Elks’ youth soccer shoot takes place on Sept. 7 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at Lampe Park in Gardnerville.

The shoot is open to all players and divided into four age groups: 7 and under, 8-9, 10-11, and 12-13. First, second, and third place winners in each age category are awarded a medal, and first-place winners also receive a soccer ball. Participation is free.

The contest coincides with picture day for the local chapter of the American Youth Soccer Organization; players are invited to compete in the shoot following their team photos.

The final day to secure reservations for the Tahoe/Douglas Elks fourth annual Low County Shrimp Boil is Sept. 11. This event takes place Sept. 21 at the Lodge, 1227 Kimmerling Road in the Gardnerville Ranchos.

Doors open at 5 p.m. for social hour, followed by a Cajun-style supper. Cost is a $20 per person donation.

Mail checks to the Tahoe/Douglas Elks Lodge #2670, P.O. Box 143, Minden, Nevada 89423-0143. For information, call Dan at (775) 745-5619.

Bingo happens twice at the Elks Lodge this September; first on Friday the 6 and again on Friday the 20. Doors open at 5 p.m. with warm ups at 6; regular games get underway at 6:30. Players must be 21 and older.

A variety of snacks and beverages are available for purchase; coffee and pretzels are complimentary.

Proceeds from Elks events benefit a number of local programs for seniors, youth, and veterans.