Dorsey's Knob Park is a good example of a place where humans and wildlife can live side by side. Take for example the coyote. In recent years a family of coyotes has lived at the park and in the adjoining forests. Chances are that you've never seen one at the park even if you're a frequent visitor to Sky Rock or the disc golf course. In part this is because coyotes are mostly nocturnal, but also its because they tend to be very cautious of humans. I personally have encountered a coyote only twice in the past two years at Dorsey's Knob. In both instances, the coyote quickly fled as soon as it saw me.
Like their larger cousin the wolf, coyotes have long been feared and persecuted. Although they are wild animals, coyotes actually pose little threat to humans. Your chances of being bitten by a coyote and much less than your chances of being struck by lightning. And only two people are known to have actually been killed by coyotes in all of recorded history.
In those rare cases when a human actually is bitten by a coyote, the humans are oftentimes at fault. In order to avoid this happening to you at Dorsey's Knob, just take the following three easy steps. First, do not corner a coyote because they will fight to defend themselves. Second, do not feed coyotes because they will eventually lose their fear of humans. And third, keep your dog on a leash as you hike the trails at the park. Coyotes perceive unleashed dogs as invaders in their territory and will sometimes attack the dog. Pet owners put themselves at risk of being bitten if they try to break up a fight between their dog and a coyote. If you follow this simple advice, humans and coyotes will continue to be able to share the hiking trails and forests of Dorsey's Knob Park.
Field Notes from Dorsey's Knob
Thoughts and observations on the natural history and current happenings at Dorsey's Knob Park.
About the Author
John Boback is a naturalist, historian, environmental educator and caretaker at Dorsey's Knob Park. He can often be seen around the park staring intently into the trees through binoculars or crouched down trying to photograph a wildflower or an interesting insect. If you see him, take a moment to say hello.