By Seth Richardson
Coyotes are smart. Very smart. And they appear to be winning the evolutionary race in Metro Denver and in other big cities, where they have adapted quite nicely to urban living. The losers are over-bred, pampered, city-dwelling dogs and cats, and urban humans appear to be next on the menu. Their eyesight is excellent, their hearing remarkable, and their olfactory abilities outstanding. They are clever pack hunters with well-established tactical plans. And those plans now include humans and urban pets. I’m fine with that. They deserve their victory, if they can seize it, because urban humans and their pets have given up their right to evolutionary survival by giving up their ability to defend themselves against predators, both animal and human.
I can’t say I blame the coyotes, because in this case, it seems as if there is a free lunch, and it’s a classic case of knee-jerk urbanites being hoist on their own petard. Back in 1996 mostly-urban bunny-hugging “animal rights” sympathizers voted to pass a trapping ban in Colorado. Up until then, coyotes were kept reasonably under control, wary, human-averse and primarily rural by a significant trapping and hunting industry. Any rancher will tell you that rural coyotes don’t hang around when a human shows up. They beat it for cover as fast as they can because they’ve learned, over generations, that humans are dangerous top-of-the-food-chain predators that can kill coyotes from a long way off.
It’s actually kind of amusing to see all the hysteria and clamor for government to “do something” about urban coyotes when it’s the urban citizens who tied the hands of government and private individuals in the first place. These urban voters are beginning to receive in full measure that which they demanded more than a decade ago. Such is the law of unintended consequences.
But, lest I be accused of too much insensitivity to the plight of urbanites, I do have some suggestions. Here’s the primary one: when faced with an aggressive, and possibly rabid urban coyote or coyote pack, do what we out here in the country do: kill them.
“How do we do this” you ask? Simple. Get a gun, and when attacked, shoot. “But” you declaim, “the police tell me I can’t discharge a firearm in the city limits without breaking the law!” Poppycock, I reply. Ignore what the police tell you, they’re just trying to make their own jobs easier, not provide you with protection or accurate legal advice.
The simple legal truth (don’t believe me, go look it up) is that so long as you have a reasonable belief that you are in danger, you are permitted to shoot an animal in self-defense, anywhere in the state. I don’t know about you, but I certainly view an attack by a coyote to be placing me in danger, in no small part because it’s likely that the animal is rabid. And if it’s more than one, why, being attacked by a pack of vicious, aggressive coyotes is certainly a danger, and I doubt any reasonable jury would disagree.
Now, you do have to be quite careful when discharging a firearm in the city, because you ARE responsible for every bullet and where it ends up, and you’ll get no sympathy from me if you use your gun carelessly and hurt others or damage private property, so don’t think I’m calling for mindless gun-play in the parks, alleys and trails, I’m not.
In order to reduce the chances of stray bullets causing harm, I have a specific recommendation for those of you who decide that being a victim of an aggressive coyote is not something you care to allow: Buy a Taurus Judge pistol chambered in .45 Colt/ .410 shotshell. MSRP $569.00, available at a fine gun store near you.
This unique pistol is dual-chambered so that it can fire both a standard pistol round for self-defense against humans and large animals, and the .410 shotshell, which is effective at short range against humans and smaller animals, like coyotes. It’s a compromise firearm for sure, but loaded with two rounds of .410 birdshot and three rounds of .45 Colt pistol ammunition, it provides deterrence and protection against human attack while also allowing the user to defend against aggressive animals without so much worry about stray bullets causing harm. The harmful range of bird-shot from the pistol is probably less than 25 yards.
It’s impossible that even the most aggressive coyote is going to stick around after being peppered with birdshot. The spread pattern of the shot at 7 yards is well over six feet, which means that precise aiming is not necessary to get deterrent hits on the animal. Let it get within 4 yards or so and let him have it.
Oh, and make sure that if you shoot to protect your dog, you tell the jury (not the cops, remember your right to remain silent!) that you thought the animal was attacking YOU, because unfortunately, you’re not allowed to discharge a firearm to protect your pet in a city. Do remember the spread, and try not to shoot your dog too!
Of course, don’t forget to go to your local Sheriff and get your concealed handgun permit first. You wouldn’t want to get knicked for a concealed weapon violation while doing the right thing for society. For the best concealed handgun class I know of in the Denver Metro area, contact Rich Wyatt at Gunsmoke, 9690 West 44th Ave. Wheat Ridge, Colorado 80033, (303) 456-4545. He’s worth the trip north for Colorado Springs residents.