Good parents protect the pack

Being a good parent means you are there to provide all of the necessities for your offspring to flourish. Animals and humans carry many similarities when it comes to preparing for an addition to the pack. Once you start the routine itís easy to see others doing the same.

As a soon to be father, I have felt responsibility beyond the likes of which that I have ever been through before. Life seems to be running in fast forward and you start to feel like a busy bee. While preparing for our child to come I was able to get out and hunt a few times this spring. It became more obvious than ever that nature was preparing for new life much like I was. I could for once see the urgency of wild animals, scurrying and flying around attempting to prepare for new life to come. I can feel my parenting instincts kicking in much like that of any animal and am ready to protect my child from whatever comes our way. When outdoors you may encounter protective parents or what seems to be unprotected babies. Your reaction to the situation and sometimes avoidance can save a life. What to do in situations like this needs to be known beforehand and many times you must react instantly.

I managed to sneak out for a few turkey hunts this spring and it seemed to be all new to me. In the past I would hear birds singing, see them collecting nesting materials and even mating, but until this year it meant little to me. With our baby on the way I felt a connection to spring that I had previously never experienced before. I could see in the wildlife their urgency to prepare for their babies. Many species stay together to raise young like humans. In my case I felt like one of those African birds that the female is walled inside a tree and the male must provide everything for the mother and growing babies. Rachel was placed on bed rest for much of her last trimester and it became my responsibility to provide and take care of nearly every aspect of family life. I saw the busy birds rushing around and for once knew the feeling. It was my turn to be a provider and caretaker and I was ready for the challenge.

Being a parent not only means providing for your baby but caring and protecting it, or them at the same time. This can be seen in the wild if you happen to take your dog for a walk in the woods from mid-May to mid-June. Coyotes and other predators are out there with their young and are ready to defend them at the drop of a hat. A few friends of mine have had some pretty scary coyote encounters in the last few years. One friend was walking his dog in the woods behind his house when a large coyote charged out of the brush and bit his elderly dog by the back and violently shook and dragged it to the ground. This all happened within feet of the owner and was over so fast he had no time to intervene. They were walking in the spring near an area with many rock outcroppings that coyotes love to den in. This was likely the male protecting his young from what was seen as a dangerous intruder to his and his mates den site. This was just a warning attack because had it really wanted to do some harm, it would have done so.

This spring, just a few weeks back, I had another friend experience a coyote on dog encounter. John Nixon was hiking and foraging for wild edibles with their dog Piper when a coyote charged out and begun circling the group. They yelled at the coyote in an attempt to scare it away, but that didnít work. He was filming with his phone to document the encounter and it was easily seen that the coyote payed no heed to his yelling for it to go away. It kept getting closer and finally a decision was made to fire a shot at a tree in hopes that would run the animal off. That worked and only seconds after they were able to see what all the fuss was about. Snugged tightly to a fallen log was a baby coyote pup. His dog scented it and showed them the pup. She didnít harm or touch the baby coyote in any way, just told mom and dad it was there which alerted him, as to why the coyote had been so visible. My friend quickly took this picture as he approached with phone still in hand to see what Piper was looking at. They then made a fast retreat as to not further disturb the coyote family. His fast thinking saved all involved from harm. If he had not had a gun his best bet would have been to back out slowly and give the adult coyote some distance, because like in his case there are probably pups hiding nearby.

In all honesty he legally had the right to shoot the coyote being that it was acting in a threatening manor, but he had the respect to fire a warning shot which almost always scare away a grumpy animal. He knew how to react and didnít harm the protective parent, by firing the warning shot.

Itís also common for people to find what they believe to be abandoned baby animals. In most cases the parent has stashed them away like the coyote pup under the log, or a deer fawn in the brush or grass. Never touch any wild baby animals as the parent may reject them because of the human scent you will leave behind. Itís best to let nature take care of itself, because in most cases we only make things worse.

Good wishes and be ready to protect your pack.

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