“The coyotes came within feet of dad and I. It was too dark to see them – but we could hear them walking!”

It all started late into a week of deer camp. While walking from different directions, dad and I were returning from our evening watches on a cool, crisp November evening. The walk back to the cabin was dead quiet until a few hundred yards from the cabin. That was when our ‘new to the neighbourhood’ coyotes started filling the still air with their eerie howls. The hair on the back of my neck tingled as I picked up the pace to catch a glimpse of the the cabin’s porch light.

This was always welcome sight on the lonely walks back from an evening deer stand.

During my brisk walk to the cabin, I theorized that the howling brush wolves were somewhere near Spier’s swamp. Fortunately, that location was opposite to the direction I was heading in. I eased the grip on my rifle slightly in response.

After several minutes, I made it back to the cabin and sat under the inviting glow of the porch’s dim light and listened more closely to the wild orchestra now playing out around me. Within minutes of my arrival, Dad returned to camp and after we unloaded our guns and put them in the cabin (legal shooting time was over) we returned back outside to the porch.

That’s when dad whispered, “Why don’t you give them a howl?”

Hesitantly, I put my hands to my mouth and tried to mimic what I was hearing. The rustic music paused for a few moments. Then, silence.


Mom’s chili kicked in! Just kidding.

Then, surprisingly, one of the coyotes responded. After a few more minutes, the concert began again. Only this time much closer.

Dad said in a low voice, “Again.”

I let out another sudden solo and abruptly the music ended again.

Time passed.

Like the first time, it started up again even closer. Much closer.

Dad didn’t have to ask me a third time. I ripped out a howl and waited with baited breath for the results. This time we could hear the coyotes breaking and snapping branches within several feet of myself, dad and the old cabin porch. It was too dark to see anything but they were there – walking amongst the black tangled mess of the forest’s undergrowth.

Walking and watching.

Unfortunately,  within moment of their close approach, they silently crept away back into the night. The night time sounds of the forest returned with the wolves’ backstage exit.

Dad and I retreated to the cabin in silence. We both knew it would be an uneasy walk to the outhouse.

*coyote photo from wikipedia