Outdoors blog

Tough, bloody neighborhood at the edge of Spokane

A coyote comes in at night to feed on the carcass of a deer killed by coyotes hours earlier just south of the Spokane city limits. (Rich Landers)
A coyote comes in at night to feed on the carcass of a deer killed by coyotes hours earlier just south of the Spokane city limits. (Rich Landers)

WILDLIFE -- Although there's been talk of wolves showing up at the edge of Spokane in recent months, coyotes have been cruising the streets and neighborhoods for years.

 A woman walking her dogs Saturday around 8:30 a.m. not far from homes near Hatch and Hangman Roads  came upon a white-tailed deer lying down on a pipeline service road in the woods. The young deer was bleeding in the snow, but it was alive. The woman smartly chose to gather her two golden retrievers and leave the area.
 
Putting together the incident together from the tracks in the snow, two or three coyotes apparently returned shortly after the woman left and finished the job they had started.  The woman probably had interrupted the initial attack after the coyotes had chased and ripped open the deer's abdomen.
 
When they returned, they killed the deer, then they dragged the carcass off the road and feasted until other hikers and dog walkers forced them to retreat into the brush.  Magpies and ravens soon swooped in to begin picking the carcass clean.
 
I put up a trail cam to see what would come to the carcass last night, and sure enough, a coyote showed up.  Because of all the brush, I had to put the motion-activated camera quite close to the carcass. One snap of the shutter was enough to send the coyote looking for another meal.
 
When I retrieved the camera this morning, there were as many as eight magpies working the carcass, and the activity had attracted a bald eagle perched above.



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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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