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Coyotes Howl Wild

Nature’s Shadowed Truth Lurks

Night skies bleed dark

Crisp air grips cold

Frost moon reigns high

North winds whisper snow

Forests stand silent sentry

Guarding stories untold

Predators prey blood

Nature’s truth reconciled

Death gnaws life’s bone

Rockslide scarred mountains echo

Coyotes howl wild


Time’s relentless cycle of hunger lurked. Night stalked its prey. Day’s end dusk slowly descended to darkness. The mountainside forest stood silent. Cloud muted moonlight cast balsam bough glimmer and shadow. A lone canid tracked quarry through early December’s snow. Somewhere off in the distance, remote rockslide scarred mountains echoed as coyotes howled wild.

The coyote hunched down, nose to the ground, yellow eyes sharp, hunger fed muscles harboring bloodlust momentum as the hunter slowly crept forward.

Something, some small movement or noise in the darkness, suddenly alerted the rabbit. Lurking danger’s unmistakable scent disrupted night’s flow. Radar like ears erect, twitching nostrils flared, the wary snowshoe hare instinctively in its tracks froze.

The coyote pounced, snatching the terrified rabbit from the air as it too late leapt. The snowshoe hare squealed. Predator’s jaws ripped chunks of fur and steaming flesh from life’s bone as blood splattered white snow.

The coyote’s appetite was ravenous, relentless, eternal. Its hunter’s nose scented a ruffed grouse covey tucked in tight beneath mountainside cover of balsam. Hunger driven, hunched down low, the coyote stalked its prey close. Alerted grouse perked up their heads, collectively “Putt-Putt-Putt” putting their pre-flight alarm.

Sensing the flock’s impending escape, the stalking canine pounced. Startled grouse flushed. A mad flutter of feathers flew everywhere. The busted covey quickly scattered and flapped through dense conifer brush, seeking safety and cover.

Grouse “Putt-Putt” chattered again, scurrying through thick underbrush as the panicked birds looked to reunite their flock after nearby landing. The coyote crouched down, low and still, keen yellow eyes scanning. An unwary bird wandered too close. The coyote claimed its next meal.

Sub-freezing temperatures kept falling. Mid winter’s snow driving winds blew. As north woods snowpacks piled, the canid predator’s hunting forays proved increasingly tough.

The coyote worked to stave off hunger’s incessant demands on a sparce north woods mountainside diet of snow burrowing mice, moles, cedar flavored twig salads, the occasional warm flesh of a chattering chipmunk or fat, nut fed squirrel, and whatever overripe berries remained unclaimed by winter’s hardy remnant collection of birds.

As February’s harsh reality slowly faded towards March, the coyote courted a female and mated. The pair denned in a spot they dug in under the protected base of an uprooted maple. The predator’s snarling countenance grew ever more aggressive and gaunt as he guarded his gestating female partner, hunting and scavenging increasingly sparce game for two.

Mother Nature’s harsh reality’s bounty one late March morning finally befell him. Senses ever alert, the coyote claimed his remnant share of a rotting deer carcass from a cawing flock of circling crows. He dragged and buried the half-frozen remains of his prize outside the den, where his mate could when hungry retrieve it and feed.

March melted to April. Waterfowl returned. Wild turkeys strutted and gobbled. The coyote drifted down from his mountainside domain into alder tangled lowlands, where winter’s roaring mountainside runoff streams overflowed swamps, beaver ponds and cattail laden wetlands. There he spent his time feasting on eggs, ducklings or wild turkey poults, and if he got lucky, even unwary parents tending nests, unhatched clutches of eggs and newly hatched chicks.

The coyote bitch labored there in the den they’d dug in the safety of the uprooted maple, giving birth to four pups. She and her mate did their best to keep them all fed on a diet of ducklings, fish, frogs, and the occasional carcass of a fresh killed newborn fawn. Despite their best teamwork effort, through the course of the summer, nature’s jurisprudence ensured that just one pup survived.

July’s heat turned to August. August’s late summer breeze cooled. As September leaves turned into early October’s fall foliage, the coyote once again found himself hunting his mountainside domain, solo.

October’s yellow-golden crown fell. Morning frost enhanced the decaying leaf smell of north woods landscape carpets. The coyote hunched down, nose to the ground, yellow eyes sharp, hunger fed muscles harboring bloodlust momentum as the hunter slowly crept forward.

Danger’s scent whispered death. The coyote’s instincts took hold. Forest silence alerted. The canid stalker suddenly in his tracks froze. As the preying coyote cautiously lifted his head and turned. The telltale click’s warning came a split second too late. The rifle’s staccato echoed. The coyote was not the only hunter lurking in the forest that morning.

Hot lead tore chunks of fur and steaming flesh from life’s bone. The canid in that moment realized that he was both predator and prey. Somewhere off in the distance, remote rockslide scarred mountains echoed as coyotes howled wild.


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