Cochise County Mearns Coyote: Angel’s Daughter Comes to Call


This year (2015) we’ve had three Mearns coyotes (Canis latrans Mearnsi) living near the Border Fort: Singer II, Angel, and their daughter, Baby. Angel has been with us the longest, having arrived in late 2011. She was a yearling at the time and about to provide us with an insight into the social life of coyotes in a big way.

She came along as part of a larger pack, sometimes as many as six coyotes showing up at one time in December of 2011. Angel appeared to be the baby of the bunch. She was also deeply curious about Pam and me, more so than any other member of her family. A few weeks after the pack’s first appearance, I had the good fortune to be up on the water tower when Angel came into the clearing we consider our front yard, foraging for edibles out in the open long enough that I was able to observe her closely and also to get some great photos.

It was obvious that she’d taken a whipping. There was a fresh scar, a bite mark, running diagonally across part of her face, and she limped on one leg. Intuition told me that she’d gotten old enough to come into heat and had been thrashed by her own mother and ejected from the pack, Mama not caring to share her husband with her daughter. We’ve never read about that sort of coyote behavior anywhere else, but we’ve never observed anything to disprove the theory, either…and a few weeks ago, my wife heard one heck of a coyote fight at first light that confirmed everything.

In 2015, Angel, now five years old, had in turn whipped the dickens out of her daughter, Baby, ejecting the yearling female from the pack. After the extremely serious domestic dispute, Pam watched Angel walk right up our driveway, looking all serious and stern.

Does the male coyote do the same thing with the male yearlings? We don’t know; all of this behavior we’ve observed has involved the females.

Since that morning, we’ve seen Baby by herself. We’ve seen Angel and Singer II running together. (Singer II is Angel’s mate and the spitting image of Singer, who was Angel’s father.) But no longer is Baby allowed to run with the older pair.

Despite the time that has passed since her beating, the marks left on Baby by her mother show clearly in these photos. There are still several clearly swollen spots around Baby’s left eye. Her left ear is notched along the outside edge, down fairly close to the skull. A lot of fur is gone from the fronts of her forelegs.

Leftovers from the beating administered by her mother:  Baby's left ear is notched, there are swollen spots around her left eye, and a good bit of fur is missing from the fronts of her forelegs.

Leftovers from the beating administered by her mother: Baby’s left ear is notched, there are swollen spots around her left eye, and a good bit of fur is missing from the fronts of her forelegs.

It’s obvious that these Mom-administered beatings are not meant to be battles to the death. If they were, the species would have died out long ago. Angel’s “tooth scraping” of the fur from Baby’s forelegs could have easily crushed a bone, had Angel been of a mind to kill or cripple her daughter. The way we see it, it’s more likely a matter of the daughter trying to understand why her loving mother is suddenly and viciously inflicting pain, not to mention cold emotional rejection.

The scars on a young coyote’s psyche must be massive.

On the other hand, would anything less get the message across? Probably not; the urge to mate is a powerful thing. It takes a lot of hurt to cut through that.

And you can see the hurt in Baby’s countenance, as it could be seen in Angel’s face and gait in 2011. This is, to us at least, the face of confusion and loneliness.

The face of confusion and loneliness in the yearling female coyote, Baby, weeks after being whipped and driven from the pack by her mother.

The face of confusion and loneliness in the yearling female coyote, Baby, weeks after being whipped and driven from the pack by her mother.

At the moment, Baby dares to be physically closer to us than she does to her own parents. That has to be hard for an aware Soul to handle, and nobody can tell us coyotes are not aware Souls.

Which explains a great deal.

Say what?

Consider this: We’ve seen nearly crippling anguish in Angel more than once. Her first mate was a coyote we called Bighead (who may have had a bit of dog blood in him, as the skull of a full blooded Mearns coyote is not exactly huge). Two years ago, Bighead disappeared; we believe he was killed, probably by a human, and we also believe that Angel saw it happen. For months thereafter, Angel showed her depression in her very movement; it looked like it took a supreme effort for her to rouse herself enough to hunt, to keep herself alive at all. For a while, we were not at all sure she would make it. The bond between her and her mate was that tight.

And it makes sense that it would be that way. If a young human female was beaten severely by her mother and thrown out on the street as soon as she had her first period, she would be deeply traumatized just as the young female coyote is traumatized. When she attracted a mate, man or boy, she would bond to him tightly, no matter what; the mate would become everything to her.

Coyotes are people, too.

Angel Coyote 011

Angel Coyote 015

Angel Coyote 026

When Baby eventually attracts her own mate, will we have two family packs living in our immediate vicinity? No clue. That’s not happened in the seven years we’ve lived here, but we’re making no assumptions. Most likely, the younger couple will have to scramble, to establish their own territory, and we’ve seen no indication that Angel’s going to move; she seems to like it here.

But only time will tell.

Baby, the yearling coyote, heading back to deep cover.

Baby, the yearling coyote, heading back to deep cover.

    UPDATE: November 27, 2015

Yesterday was Thanksgiving, and Baby appears to have much to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving weekend. A few days ago, we started seeing her running in fairly close proximity to her parents once again. Today, her good fortune expanded exponentially even beyond that: Angel’s overall family is now a pack of four coyotes, all of whom showed up and hung out for a few minutes, hanging together in obvious harmony.

At a guess, Baby has already attracted a mate and is no longer seen as a threat by Angel, at least when she’s not in heat.

We suspect the “new pack” is comprised of an older couple plus a younger couple, especially as we’ve not seen a “four pack” grouping in years. The year we met Angel (2011), she was part of a “six pack” of coyotes, but we’ve not observed more than three at once since 2012. How long it will be before we can visually pick out the newcomer, we have no idea; photographs make that relatively simple but not always easy to obtain.

Nonetheless, it looks like Happy Coyote Holidays in 2015.

15 thoughts on “Cochise County Mearns Coyote: Angel’s Daughter Comes to Call

  1. Manny: All true. Not that I have a better system for them to employ, but yes; it does get you attention when you see it up close and personal like this.
    Becky: I did know that wolf packs limited who could and could not mate, but had not realized younger members were driven from the pack the way we’ve seen these coyotes do. Thanks for the info.

  2. What a great cover for the “Tam the Tall Tale Teller” book! πŸ˜€ It even reminds me of the old western paperbacks!
    Awesome job, as usual, Ghost.
    Manny Perez

  3. Thanks, Manny. The cover is a joint effort between me and Bob Sanders of Sanders Printing (Garretson, South Dakota). I provided the photo and a rough guideline regarding placement of the title and author’s name; Bob came up with the final layout, including colors (other than the photo), type size and font, etc. As of right now, I’ve got roughly 300 of 800 website pages loaded up with the ads, including the Top 100 posts. Working on adding a minimum of 100 per night if at all possible, so should be done in another handful of days–hopefully. Have also passed out 32 promo copies, asking only that the recipients (a) actually read the book and (b) provide an honest Amazon review once they’ve read it.

  4. Wow! what a lot of work you have ahead of you!
    I just got my copy of the book… I love the large type that allows me to read, and it feels great in my hand. The cover looks even better in real life! LOL. thank you!
    So you want me to re-read it (it’ll be fun getting the deeper understanding the second reading will give me) and then make an Amazon review…. though i might go ahead with the review since I did read it and remember the story…. We’ll see.

  5. Thanks, Manny, but you don’t need to do a review–after all, you already did one, right? It’s just that I put that inscription in all of the “promo copies” I send out. After all, if anyone else ever gets hold of your copy, that person might write a review, too. πŸ™‚ My theory is that 20 to 30 positive reviews on Amazon, plus a few sales there, should start pushing the book up to visibility when people search for western fiction. Pam suggests that it would make a great Christmas gift, but she may be going on faith there; her attention span hasn’t allowed her to listen to the entire story.

    This book is only 1/3 of what you read on this site; the hard copy versions (when published) will end up comprising a trilogy. Also, I’m glad you like the published cover. The color tones came out a bit more muted than the original photograph, but I’m not complaining….

  6. Great to know, Ghost. But, then I think you should definitely go “Kindle”… books are easier to promote and you get more sales that way. At least that is my experience. Mobipocket is another ebook venue that might still be going strong (Kindle and Apple and Google have been really messing up the independent e-publishers, and I’ve found Kindle editions that are actually cheaper than the ones sold by the original e-publishers!

    There is another reason why I promote Kindle: the Kindle readers often offer audio, letting me listen to the book when my eyes get tired and I can’t even read with HUGE TYPE. πŸ™‚

    But, getting the trilogy out soon would be very exciting! And, you might make “wrap up” chapters to allow you to publish books one, or one and two, of your other stories that still haven’t been completed…. Maybe even with an old fashioned close like the famous Tarzan “Will Tarzan be eaten by the giant King Cobra or by the Timbuktu Dread Ants? Stay tuned for our next book, and find out!” LOL

    Finally, as for Pam’s suggestion, in my household I seem to be the only western fiction fan. The book cover has attracted attention and questions, but the western fiction area is not attracting much attention… lets see if Spirit bring a new western fiction cycle in again, since it has been over 7 years in apparent hibernation.

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I am grateful to have met you all !

  7. Happy Thanksgiving, Manny.

    Note: Tam has already been available for Kindle for several months. In fact, I bought a Kindle version to check it out after it was up on Amazon–and discovered a major fix I needed to make, which will be done shortly, within the next few weeks at most. But it’s not generating any sales yet as it won’t show up on the first few pages of Kindle search results for western fiction until there are enough “buoyancy factors” (reviews and/or sales) to float it up there.

    Love the idea of mimicking the old Tarzan books, especially since Edgar Rice Burroughs (in the original hardcover book form, not comic books and certainly not movies) was one of the strongest early influences on my own writing. Not that it feels quite right for today’s market, but still.

    And a Happy Thanksgiving back to you and yours. We appreciate having met you, too! πŸ™‚

  8. I’m so glad Angel feels comfortable enough with you and Pam to call your property home. I feel for her. I can’t imagine my mother beating and ostracizing me the way coyotes do. I know that breaks Pam’s heart, but it also gives her a good solid role to keep astride as Alzheimer’s fights its battle with her.

    Pam has a strong soul.

    Thank you for including the link to your book, Ghost. I will certainly add it to my library and read it as time allows.

  9. Happy to hear you’ll be picking up the book, Sha–and believe me, I know rather well what you mean when you say you’ll read it “…as time allows”. Full plates all around.

    We’re glad Angel calls our property home, too. Despite the fact that I grew up on a ranch in Montana where I saw my first wolf (when I was five) and coyotes were hardly unknown, I really knew very little about them, at least as far as their social lives went. Our Border Fort property continues to provide a remarkable education.

    I agree with you (1000%) that Pam is strong. We would say that she “is” a strong Soul rather than that she “has” a strong soul, but as Paul Twitchell once wrote, “…We are the children of Light and the victims of semantics.” πŸ™‚

  10. Ghost, your correction about Pam’s soul is spot on.

    I have always loved your style of writing, which is why I made sure I followed you when you left HP. You’ve turned me on to a genre I wouldn’t normally wouldn’t read (Tree and clan). You’re a captivating writer. I love to support writers (excuse my redundancy) who capture my attention and make me yearn for more. You are such.

    Not only that, I’ve grown to love you and Pam.

  11. Why, thankee, Sha. We love you, too.

    Note: I just posted an UPDATE to the coyote story in the above post; you’re going to enjoy this one!

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