On The Run With Wild Animals

Outdoor running is indeed a pleasurable experience, but at the same time, it would be wise to take some precautions-just in case.

Running hills and trails in the area is enjoyable and beautiful, but it became very clear yesterday that the area is shared by more than just joggers. The usual trail by the lake starts up a dirt path and forks in two directions after about a mile. As I approached the fork a runner ahead of me dodged what appeared to be an unleashed dog. Many people bring their pets to the lake area, so that was no surprise, but this one was a fair size and it was loose. Getting closer, it became obvious that it was no dog. Long nose, scraggly fur-it was a coyote. It was sniffing around the weeds, probably looking for one of the many rabbits or squirrels in the area. It seemed disinterested in the jogger up ahead, and just as disinterested in me. Still, there was no telling if this animal was sick or what kind of temperament it really did have, so I wasn’t going to run by it. I took the left fork away from him. It was the right fork I wanted, but coyote ugly was blocking the way. Suddenly, he started trotting in my direction. It was a purposeful trot, not a slow walk. Not good.All I had with me was a small towel and a bottle of Powerade. Not enough to fight off a vicious coyote attack. I cut across a small field to avoid him. He continued on his merry way though, barely noticing me. I continued on my merry way, being very aware of him.

This encounter ended well, but it could very easily have been a problem. Pepper spray is cheap and can be easily carried by joggers. The next time I go to the lake, you can be sure I’ll have mine with me. Coyotes, dogs, and even some out of line humans can be on the loose, so, although you may never need it, having it handy will at least give you piece of mind. In the end it was my adventure of the day though. Nothing bad happened, so it actually ended up being kind of exciting to go face to face with a wild coyote. Not that I want to do that on a regular basis, but this time around was fine. Maybe I’ll see him around next week. I hope he understands that if he wants to get to know me better he’s going to end up with a face full of pepper. Don’t want to do that, but at the same time, I hear rabies shots are very painful. We can keep our respectful distances and share the area together. Now if I can just make that clear to him…

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