This is advice to a [probably quite young] woman who, fascinated by coyotes
which she sometimes visits at a large and wild public wildlife refuge and
looks for in the Phoenix-area desert as a whole, nonetheless has disturbing
dreams about them.  H

Dear L.

I really don't think you have anything to worry about regarding coyotes.  I
know them very well indeed.  Until I had my little Coyote Brother,  I hunted
and trapped them.  But after my loyal little friend [who left me for an
attractive lady coyote], I never killed one ever again. [Thanks to that
furry couple, I may now be related to every coyote between Springerville and
Morenci and into the Blue River region and over into the Mogollon country in
adjoining New Mexico as well!]

 We have them much right around where I now live, in Eastern Idaho, and we
frequently hear them howling at night nearby.  Up until recently, I hiked
several pre-dawn miles each morning in the very high and rough hills/small
mountains above and well beyond our home right here; and, becoming
accustomed to me and my dog, they often followed us fairly closely  for as
much as a one or two mile stretch -- now and then with a curious mountain
lion accompanying our entourage at a discreet distance.  Coyotes are shrewd,
very intelligent, with fine sensory and intuitive [extra-sensory]
faculties -- and, naturally afraid of almost all humans, do not attack
people.  They may well sense a friend in you as you basically do in them.
Be honored!

Although from the high Flagstaff setting, I did live for a time in Tucson
and Tempe [and, for awhile, in Phoenix itself] and also know the whole
semi-desert setting in the Verde Valley country.  I did spend a fair amount
of time out in the real desert.  I know something, too, I should add, about
the desert setting in Sonora.

Even with a Phoenix base as your home, and some developing and good
knowledge, the desert as a whole is probably scary and maybe even
frightening to you -- especially at this point in your experience. You
obviously know enough about it to be careful. And it is indeed something to
always -- always -- take carefully, step by step.   Levels of fear are
certainly understandable when you are learning about it -- and such learning
takes a long, long time.  And coyotes may have come to somehow symbolize in
your mind the desert and its potential and serious hazards.  Thus these
temporarily troubling dreams -- which will pass away much sooner than later.

For you and virtually all humans, coyotes are quite harmless.  If you should
come across a female with pups, don't frighten her.  Give a wide berth.  Any
mother is very defensive, of course, of her offspring.

Some desert animals do carry rabies -- and that can include coyotes.  It's
rare, but it happens.  This does not mean that a sick coyote will attack
you -- but it might be too unafraid of you, perhaps logy, maybe very
obviously sickish.  Stay away from it.

However, take the desert itself always slowly, don't go too far or too fast,
and always take along some water.  If you take a long hike, a salt tablet en
route is a good idea. As a rule, don't drive off well traveled roads. Unless
[and even if] you go with a human companion, it is a good idea to let other
folks know where you are headed.  Be sure to wear a wide-brimmed hat --
preferably light colored to reflect the sun.  Take along a small snake-bite
kit and, without becoming unduly concerned, keep an eye open for
rattlesnakes -- especially after a rain.  You can live with rattlesnakes --
but not closely.  I don't kill them, just wish them well and give them a
"wide range."

And coyotes are essentially just fine.  In addition to my full-blooded
coyote [who liked small children and often played gently with them], I have
had in my life two half-coyotes/half dogs.  They were very gentle. [Coyotes
and dogs easily mate and produce offspring.]

All Native tribes in or around Coyote Country have beliefs holding that
Coyote is a helpful friend -- even if sometimes a trickster.

A great book on coyotes by a truly great Southwestern writer is THE VOICE OF
THE COYOTE by J. Frank Dobie [(1888-1964.]  It  first came out many, many
years ago but has been reissued several times.  I am sure you will like it
much.  I know the ASU library has it and I am sure the Phoenix library does
as well. [I used to go to the library branch on McDowell Avenue, right in

Certainly sounds like you are learning to enjoy the Desert and its Life and
that is very good.  If you have any further questions or concerns, please
don't hesitate to write.  And here, just in case you haven't read my piece,
is the Link to my Little Brother Coyote.  As you will see, they are all kin
of mine now.

As Ever, Hunter Gray [Hunter Bear]

Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
 and Ohkwari'

See Hunter Gray in the Gem State


I am on a list of folks who love and work with wolfdogs and coyote dogs.  I
know they would enjoy your post about coyotes.  May I send it to them?

By all means, Norla.  Please do.  Best, H
Dear All,

In addition to Hunter's fine overview of Coyote, I'd like to add another sort
of tribute--"Elderberry Flute Song" by Peter Blue Cloud. 

Alice Azure
Retired as of 3:30 Today -- January 31, 2006
Thanks, Alice -- for the Peter Blue Cloud recommend.  And full
congratulations on the "retirement!"  But as you and I and many more know
full well, it will never be retirement in the sense some see it.  Too much
social justice stuff -- and all of the fine kids and sweet grandchildren all
pushing affectionately and lovingly to the fore.  If Only the Good Die
Young, and there is No Rest for the Wicked -- it all tallies up for us as No
Rockingchair.  Love and best wishes from Eldri and me -- and our whole crew.

Congratulations, Alice!

 In re coyotes, we have a big old red male in this canyon, he's now kind of
like an old cowboy - some parts wake up slower than others, and he moves
kind of stiff in the cold mornings.  He and his family sing beautifully some
evenings and dawns.  
Martha E. Ture

Research Director

During several years I got a huge amount of pleasure (and a few
injuries) from riding dirt bikes around the desert area a bit north of
Albuquerque.  It's Chihuahuan desert; a good many characteristics are
different from the Sonoran desert Hunter refers to but both are desert
and so both are magic.

One fine Sunday afternoon one of my 2 or 3 riding companions spied a
coyote, waved, and changed course.  For a few moments I couldn't tell
what was going on; noise, speed, and separation preclude any verbal
communication.  It quickly became apparent we were departing from our
route to chase, or at least follow, a coyote.  A magnificent ride.  The
coyote leading, its magnificent furred tail flowing, all of us
undulating in and out of the little arroyos, we avoiding disaster on the
cut banks, the coyote untroubled by such obstacles.

Cruel to the coyote, some might say.  Maybe, but I don't think so.  I
think he (a gender-convenient pronoun) was enjoying the run, too.  Maybe
that's too fanciful on my part.  It's at least clear that he was in no
danger whatsoever and I think he knew it.  He was far more knowledgeable
and capable than we at negotiating his terrain.  Even if we could have
caught up to him we couldn't and wouldn't have hurt him.  We were all
reveling in our desert, all on the same lark.

In short order, a mile or so, the coyote left behind us slow humans and
our graceful-to-us but clumsy-to-him machines.

- Reber Boult

That's an excellent vignette, Reber, which certainly strikes a note of
positive resonance. In addition to other New Mexico wanderings, we used to
go to San Felipe -- for outlanders, it's a Pueblo nation not far north of
Albuquerque -- for dances in the spring.]  Anyway, looks like you all
encountered a great version of The Trickster!  I am sure he enjoyed your
company.  Best, H

My friends on the wolf list have found your site and are delighted by it.
I have your piece in your place.... wondering :-) if you can see Reber's piece as an addendum....
Ed Pickersgill
Thanks very much, as always, Ed -- and I would certainly see Reber's piece as a solid complement.  He is an experienced Southwestern rural hiker and biker [originally from the South.]  His coyote is typical -- in a trickster sort of fashion.  Best, H
I cannot pretend to have much desert experience; I wish I had more.

But I would venture to offer another suggestion for desert goers
nowadays: Take a cell phone...

See the poem below for one experience in Flagstaff though.

                    Flagstaff communion

On an ancient Earth
whose forests that fed mastodons have transmuted
into clapboard retirement homes,
stars stare uncaring from pitiless skies,
recording our actions,
belying our dreams.

It is August, in Flagstaff, Arizona,
whose telescopes have eyed
stars and planets,
discovered them, cherished them.
Four in the morning, when I,
a metro-dweller famished for stars strewing skies
like shattered glass the streets and parkways of post-urban Brooklyn,
depart my motel doorway seeking the heavens,
seeking the dark.
No one moves in the rooms around me.
The parking areas stand empty.
Yet yellow lamps emblazon the night;
and the countryside beyond sparkles
with streetlights to hide us
from starry eyes
recording above.

I walk through daylight-in-night time
until I stumble upon a small park,
slog to a corner shadowed by bushes,
the earth?s sacred greenery breathing its last.
I peer through this patch of darkness,
and Perseus, Auriga, Orion, and the Milky Way
stare back
with a beauty beyond Hollywood,
beyond my ken, beyond my feeble pen.
Blue Rigel winks to red Betelgeuse,
nods to orange Aldebaran,
and a shooting star surpassing Polaris
ratifies my sacrament, my greeting of love.

                    Red River Review. August 1, 2001. Poem 20.

Sam Friedman
Fine poem, Sam -- and, no matter how "big" Flagstaff has gotten [5,000
population when I was a kid and now about 65,000], and no matter how
problematic it could be [and can still be], the Land and the Earth,even the
Human lights, and very much the extraordinarily clear Sky [the town is 7,000
feet] and the Stars -- well, as you point out so aptly -- they all add up to
Magic.  Bedrolling out in the pines and cedars, say while hunting or on a
forest fire, I could have difficulty sleeping because the great clarity of
the Stars is so downright fascinating.  Best, H

I wouldn't want people -- in the context of all of this nice, mellow Coyote
Talk -- to misread my [truly sinister] image.  An old boyhood buddy, who has
just recently caught up with me e-mail-wise, has started his just now
missive with this:

"Sir John, Knight of the Black Countenance,   I am really pleased that you
chose to answer; and, I'm intrigued more than just a  bit about comparing
and contrasting some . . . memories with you.    Don't fret any about your
new "Title".   There was a time in my young life when I admired and
practiced your fierce scowl  and dark, rebellious expression in my mirror at
home.   It didn't work; I always came out looking like the Court Jester, no
matter how hard I tried.  . .[Ron]

The Family tends to agree with Ron on his assessment of me.  So do the
ghosts of every K-12 school boss I ever had.


You are nothing like as sinister and scowling as your cat, though.

Maybe in the next life, your roles will be reversed...:)

sam [friedman]
Some may miss the allusion to Don Quixote,  Knight of the Unfortunate
Face. -CJ [Cornet Joyce]
An interesting analysis, Cornet, but, given the perennial and challenging
situational context faced by my fellow agitator, myself, and a few others --
against the unpleasantness levied year-after-year by our heavy handed
adversaries -- I  am quite certain that he's typing me very specifically
with Darth Vader.

Best, H


Ah, Dear Hunter, who else can tell the tale (Tail) of your Pal, Kay-Oh-Tay with such eloquence...Thank you for the remembrance of brothers lost and found among the ditritas of time, indeed, he was a partner in your quest to explain the tempo of the times. We are inspired by your words of wisdom and experience to go on with the work of understanding that we are all part of a continuminum that will continue  beyond time and be accepted as the way it was ,and will always be.
  To hear the yips and yeow's of Kay-Ot-Tay in the morning hush is to hear the voice of creation being re-born, in difference to the human need to meet the sunrise with respect for the gift of life all are granted.  That you speak today to this gift of life is a blessing to us all that have to hear Kay-Ot-Tey's call from another world beyond, blessings, always.
  Bob [Gately]
Dear Bob:

Now that is a genuinely Inspired message -- flowing with the unbroken force
of Sycamore Creek itself!

Best, H



Through your words, HunterBear, you have directed us to finding our way
towards the Next Great Idea...That maybe spark of Wisdom that will point our
progeny to a more hopeful destiny... We pray, and give thanks for your

In Brotherhood that always was, and will always be,

Bob Gately 12/13/06   Phoenix, Arizona

Dear Hunter Gray,
Thank your the last messages.I hope you're doing OK
Did I ever thank you for the information about Ward Churchill?
I passed it on to a friend of mine who is a self-styled (Finnish) expert on Native American affairs and who was going on about Churchill. My pal's a thinking man, though, and this was probably a nice grain of salt for him, and for me too.
Jyri Kokonen [Helsinki, Finland]  2/03/06
Glad I could help.  I will keep my eye out - but I promise I won't deluge you with every printed reference I see to lupus - just interesting stuff, OK.  Nobody has to tell you to be strong and well - I don't think you know any other way.  Like all the hundreds out there, I will keep a good thought for you and yours.  Best to Eldri.
Lois [Chaffee], from Idaho and New York City, 2/03/06
Thanks for taking the time to read my email and thanks for all you did to move the South in a better direction. . .That was tremendously kind of you to give such a long and detailed account of the era and your brief contacts with my family.  There is more to the Woolworth story and I will get to that in a moment.

[Frank Ezelle, 2/05/06] [On the civil rights struggle at Jackson, Mississippi]

I really appreciated your recent letter.  I'll respond in more detail later,
but I was deeply honored by your sharing the letter you sent to your family.
Deeply honored, my good and great friend,
Tim [McGowan]  Rochester, NY  2/04/06
fascinating...mahalo for sharing stories that need to be shared widely...

hbc played a big role in the mid 1800s here in the middle of the pacific as
part of the network between your part of the continent and the fur users in
china.  hbc continues somewhat connected to the hugely wealthy
scottish-norman campbell family which intermarried with a chiefly hawaiian
Imiola [Hawaii --  2/08/06 -- On our Mississippi struggles, and John Gray [[Hatchiorauquasha] in the Far Western fur trade
You are a very fine man and my teacher and mentor!
As ever,
Dawn Lough   [Iowa City and Tama, Iowa, 2/10/06]  Native activist
Bid on a full bear rug for your birthday but not too seriously as it was pretty mangy, without claws.  Bid on an octagon-barreled Winchester lever action 44 mag but it went too high.
John [Salter]  Glydon, Minn.  2/10/06
Dear Hunter Gray, -- On Mississippi and also John Gray [Hatchiorauquasha] in the Far Western fur trade

I was very moved by the poetry of your words.  Spent much of last night
reading more from your website... and spent as much time thinking about
what it means to be brave.   I wasn't aware of your relationship to
Father Nicolas Point.  Seeing the pictures helped me recall the book I
grew up with.  Have been reading elsewhere about the history of the
Ulster Scots who initially settled in Pennsylvania and moved south due
to politically driven Indian Wars.  The warp and weave of history is
certainly fascinating... indeed.

Forgive me if I don't say much more:  your thoughts are very rich and
leave me in awe.


Robert B. Livingston  2/09/06
San Francisco

A Note to the Bear:  Sir John:   I am honored, truly.   Thank you for the
mention in "Personal -- and Beyond"  Ron Chambers, Kansas, 2/09/06
[ Ron had written of me:  "Sir John, Knight of the Black Countenance,   I am really pleased that you
chose to answer; and, I'm intrigued more than just a  bit about comparing
and contrasting some . . . memories with you.    Don't fret any about your
new "Title".   There was a time in my young life when I admired and
practiced your fierce scowl  and dark, rebellious expression in my mirror at
home.   It didn't work; I always came out looking like the Court Jester, no
matter how hard I tried.  . ." [Ron]

Dear Grandpa,
    How are you? I'm fine, we're doing great. It's really cold over here. Not much snow, but freezing. There's this kid at school who is always saying the "Ni" word. Once when he said it I turned and said to him face to face "Zach that's a racist comment you just maid." He said " What does that mean" "what does that mean." Later that day I told Dad and he said I was being an Activist, and he also said that he must be hearing that at home. But that kid is still saying it, and I heard him say it last night. Well I have to go now. Say hi to everybody for me. Thanks
                               QUICK BEAR  [Glyndon, Minn.  2/09/05]
And a very happy birthday. Maybe I could use a pipe - but breaking "the
habit" was one of the hardest things I ever did, so don't think
I'll risk it!

Mainly to say Happy Birthday, and many more.

Already the one sure sign of spring is here - the chives on my fire escape,
which invariably send up shoots, even through a crust of snow, by the middle
of February, sent the shots up a full week ago. Some people have groundhogs,
I have a pot of chives. Spring is on the way. (So too, in NYC, is a snow

David [McReynolds] New York City  2/10/06  [On my recent resumption -- after 17 years -- of pipe tobacco smoking. - H]

Good Evening Hunter Bear,

My name is Troy Hines, and I am proud to have the
blood of the original Native American flowing through
my veins...I have always been fascinated by the
history and the stories pieced together by my great
aunts, and my grandmother.  My mother's family
(Qualls) is originally from Enfield. NC.  It is
obvious that even though my mother's family considers
themselves African-Americans the Native American
heritage is spiritually as well as physically evident.
 My mother has always told me, "You have Native
American, English, and African proud of who
you are..."  I just want to thank you for your
continued commitment to your tribe...Although I have
been far removed, and do not know many of my "brothers
and sisters" of my Native American family, I just
wanted you to know that the support & love is still

--Troy [Hines] 2/11/06
Good Luck in your aspirations. Hoping you the very best.
Maher Khalil
Jersey City Confidential Aide to the Mayor, NJ. USA   2/12/06
Indeed, happy birthday.  I would enjoy it if you were to post a family
photo from the day on the web.

Now, off to my weekly peace vigil.

sam [friedman]  New Jersey  2/12/06
Nice cover!  [On the book jacket of our oldest son, John's, new novel -- A Trout in the Sea of Cortez -- which will appear this coming late summer, 2006.

David [McReynolds]  2/12/06 -- NYC

Hunter Bear,
I send you warm and healing thoughts on your birthday, thanking you for the inspiration you still provide, especially to organizers in all kinds of arenas...Appropriate you'd be born on Valentine's Day.  We send our heartfelt thanks to you.
Heather Booth [2/11/06]  Chicago and Washington, DC
Happy Birthday Grandpa.
Thank you for the flag.   
                                   QUICK BEAR  2/14/06  Glyndon, Minnesota


Thanks very much, Quick Bear, for the very nice note.  The Flag comes from a Mohawk reserve in eastern Canada.  It is an official Mohawk flag.  Snowing here a little.  Congrats on your new firearm!  Give everyone our very best and all our love.  Grandpa [Hunter Bear]



Beba writes this much appreciated note:

Happy Birthday, Pop

Doing a good job of outliving your enemies.

The NYT obituaries has a thing about a 32 year old Black kid, a record
producer, who died of something related to his Lupus.  Sad.

I've become worse than you about turning the walls into a museum.  My little
office is growing smaller with all the guns, photos, antique oil cans, and
whatnot hanging up.  I remember how whenever we moved into a new place, the
first thing you did was wander around with a hammer and nails.

JS [John Salter] 2/14/06  Glyndon, Minnesota


Note by Hunter Bear:

Beba is quite right. Our ancient heavily beaded Iroquois belt -- made long,
long ago at Onondaga, with shell beads and on soft deer hide -- depicts the
founding of the great Confederacy.  Following my father's death in '78, it
came to me.  It is the first thing we hang, always facing East.  H
I may be one of the few knowledgeable hunters and gun persons on these
various lists.  Have had a couple of inquiries about the now nationally
famous gun Accident in Texas.  I have never been a quail hunter -- almost
always small game and big and wild turkeys as well.  But I once did a fair
amount of pheasant hunting, as well as ducks and certainly Canadian geese.
I have had a vast array of conventional firearms since I was seven years old
and now have seven in my small, selective collection.  I was an Expert
Marksman in the Army.

First, I see the Cheney hunting accident as just that -- a sad accident. No
real hunter rejoices at this kind of thing. Fortunately, no one appears to
be profoundly injured.

I've read a few bizarre left analyses of Cheney's accident which attempt to
dissect it with the intricacy that's usually reserved for intricate Marxian
analyses [which often miss the stark and enduring reality of the "bigger
picture" -- the class struggle.]

>From every perspective -- legal, hunting protocol, etc -- it is Cheney's
fault.  You should never fire any weapon without being fully aware of that
at which you're shooting. His official home base is Jackson, Wyoming [close
to here], but I think he's probably basically what we used to call in
Flagstaff, even when that was virtually quasi-frontier, as a "town
hunter" -- an Occasional as differentiated from those of us who were and are
Passionates.  I have no idea about the condition of his eyesight.

As far as I can tell, he and his friend were hunting in a perfectly legal

Personally, unless accompanied by family members or close friends, I have
always been a Lone Hunter -- whatever I was hunting.  This has been very
much the case when I've been hunting big and small game and turkeys.  In
duck and goose hunting, one is usually in a "blind" of some sort --
camouflage cover -- and the targets are coming in to water.  In some goose
hunting, the geese are landed and eating in a grain field.  In any of these
foregoing instances, the target game is/are "out there" at some distance.
Unless a strange hunter is involved in your area in any of these settings,
there is little or no danger of an accident.

Bird hunting [exclusive of ducks and geese and, if you class them as birds,
wild turkeys] is something else again.  Quail and pheasants are, from a
human perspective, unpredictable in flight.  Therefore, if you are not a
lone hunter in that context, then your companion hunter and yourself should
proceed in a parallel fashion, sufficiently separated.  Even a full [i.e.,
narrowed] choke .12 gauge shotgun [the most common of the big powered
shotguns], has a range of only about 65 yards at most -- a little more if it
is a magnum.  Cheney was using a regular .28 gauge [far less powerful] and,
since this involved quail hunting, an open or modified choke [scatters in a
shorter range, less than 50 yards.]  Their mistake was, in a word, that they
were not sufficiently separated physically. In shotgun hunting for
pheasants, we always kept at least 75 yards between us -- moving, as I say,
in a parallel fashion.

And there were never any problems -- ever.  Aside from once being mistaken
for Something Exotic by what we learned later were Phoenix dudes [who
thought they were mule deer hunting] and shot at several times from a
distance of about 250 yards -- I ducked under a ridge -- I have never been
privy to a hunting accident of any kind.  Follow a few simple precautions
and it's all quite safe.

Yours, H [Hunter Bear]

Hunter - Well, you've done a fine job confounding your critics and prognosticators for another year, so enjoy the figurative flowers from all your family and friends and fellow travelers - including me.  Best wishes as always.........We Will Win!  Steve Rutledge  2/14/06
Thanks very much, Steve.  If I ever reach the point that I have no serious enemies, I'll have to assess that which I am not doing!  Best to you in your very important West Virginia endeavors.  WWW -- for sure. We all do indeed Keep Fighting.  Our very best, H or J
Happy birthday indeed.
For me, this is also the 9th anniversary of when they removed one of my testicles and thereby seem (so far at least) to have terminated a cancer.

sam [friedman] 2/14/06  New Jersey
Wishing you a happy birthday from your old stomping grounds, as Tom McGrath would put it, Hunter.
Nice to know someone with a great voice!  (by which I mean someone with something to say)  
 Dale  [Jacobson]  2/14/06  Minnesota and North Dakota

I enjoyed the chat regarding your birthday and your terrific birthday gift - Cheney's misadventures. Happy birthday, and enjoy the attached advert. 

Best regards, Lois  2/14/06  Idaho and New York City



Happy birthday!! and happy valentines day!!
                   Taylor [Running Light]  Glyndon, Minnesota

Hunter Bear to Kass Fleisher [now in Illinois]:

Good to hear from you, Kass.  You sound just fine -- feisty as ever.  Your
hunting observations are well worth noting.

 Not a great deal new here.  You have picked up, I am sure, that Beba has a
novel coming out in September.  And Mack's journalism empire is thriving --
though his workaholic approach worries me a bit.  Everyone else OK as well.
Thomas, with Mimie, is well settled in UMD's Med School . . . We will see how things go
with me.  Eldri holds the whole family together.

 Poky is about the same.

SLE, we now know from a medically retrospective standpoint, hit me in a
comparatively moderate fashion about 40 years ago but I kept working as
always, sought no med help [just as well], and forced it -- in a couple of
months -- into what was obviously a remission until relatively recently,
when I first  heard the actual name of the thing.  You will attest that I
was always pretty healthy back in those days when you and I and John and
Mack et al. were in North Dakota together.  But now I want, for Lupus and
myself, a full scale divorce.

Keep in touch, as always.  We all send our very best, H or J


Kass Writes:

i wish for nothing more than entire disassembly of you and SLE. of
course you fought it off blissfully unaware once -- what is it they
say about courage? the better part of stupidity?

and now cheney's poor victim in serious condition after all -- my,
the tongue-biting coming out of the left....

(i call them the left as if i ain't one, which i are...but they
haven't elected me queen of the universe yet, so i get to gripe about
them nonetheless.)

and yes, was VERY glad to hear of john's book contract! no one in
*this* house was shocked...this being about, after all, those who

xo [Kass Fleisher] 2/14/06 Author of The Bear River Massacre and the Making of History  [2004]

Tried reaching you last night; Samantha said you were at your lupus meeting. Hell of a way to spend your birthday.
I'll try calling tonight, if I can kick this workaholic thing I got going for me.
You look and seem stronger and healthier than you did a couple of years ago. . .
You're a good father. I probably don't tell you that enough. But I owe who I am -- and the ability to know what's right, and what's wrong, and to do what's right -- to you. That's more important than just about anything, because it lives on. It gives me something to teach my kids.
Later [Peter Salter] 2/15/06


Mr H writes to Hunter Bear:
Enjoyed your comments on the lion when I found you on Google. A lion recently eviscerated a deer in front of my grandsons' home. I know if you don't attract deer (lion's chief food supply) the lion won't come around. Do you know of any fertilizer or particular animal droppings that would deter a mountain lion from coming around? Thank  you for your anticipated response.
Willard H
Hunter Bear responds:
Dear Mr H:
Thanks for your note.  By gut response is, don't worry about it.  Lions -- which often come close to us here [the far up edge of Pocatello, ID; we border BLM and National Forest lands] and which have frequently followed me when I've hiked in the high hills right above our home, are virtually always shy of people.  I know of no chemicals, however couched, that would deter a lion.  If you are really troubled by this, I'd suggest a mildly loud radio out on the porch of the home -- or a tethered dog that barks occasionally. The basic "lion times" are from early evening into the immediate post dawn period. I don't where your grandson lives, but this has been -- pretty pervasively across much of the country -- a wicked winter.  If your grandson lives in a context with any range of elevation, deer have "come down" because of inclement weather -- and lions will follow.  The now immediately forthcoming spring will see most deer [and moose and elk] go higher -- and the lions as well.  The town of Pocatello is about 4,500 feet, we right here are 5,000 -- and the hills rise 'way up above us into small mountains.  I honestly don't see any substantive problem but a radio or an appropriate dog friend might be reassuring.  Please don't hesitate to get back to me if you feel I could be of further help.
Best, H
From Mr H:
Thank you Hunter Gray - am sending this to them in Colorado Springs.
Visited your beautiful town two years ago visiting my cousin, Rita Sussex, who is a blind artist.
Willard H.
Martha Ture comments:
The poet Gary Snyder  lives outside of North San Juan in the Sierras and
tells the story of returning from a walk in the woods and hearing his
daughter playing piano through the open living room window - and on
approaching the house he saw a lion crouching not far from the window,
listening to his daughter's practice of Brahms. . .

Martha E. Ture

Hunter Bear comments:
Thanks very much, Martha,  for this most positive glimpse -- which confirms
that the musical tastes of lions are as finely attuned and apt as are their
sense of savory meats. [Cloudy likes "easy listening" stuff and occasionally
soft classical works -- but turns off, noise-wise, from Elvis onward.  BTW,
the man to whom I gave  my lion advice wrote a kind note of appreciation,
indicating that his grandson's home is in the Colorado Springs setting.
Best, H
Sam Friedman comments:
We are having to give one of our cats daily injections with saline water. He does not like this at all--but it helps if I sing him baby songs with his name in them.
Martha Ture responds:

I had a wolf hybrid for 15 years, and she wanted to have her bedtime story every night.  She lay down on the bedroom rug and asked for a belly rub, accompanied by my chanting to her about her birth, using her name often, and ending with the sound just-born pups make when they get their first bellyful of milk.   It is a sound that can not be typed.   Getting the story nightly contributed to her peace of mind.  Absence of peace of mind in her led to mayhem in the house and neighborhood. . .

 Every wolf hybrid I had was different.  Iris was the one described above. 

 Martha E. Ture


And Steve McNichols comments:

 I like the same thing.
Steven F. McNichols
Reber Boult comments and asks:
A "tethered dog"?  Someone who knows far more about this than I once told me that tethering a dog has all sorts of bad effects on the dog; the restraint should be a fence.  Now moving on to something I know a little more about or at least can better intuit, wouldn't the tether seriously inhibit the dog's options in the event of conflict with the lion?  Or is conflict too unlikely to worry about?

- Reber Boult
Hunter Bear answers:

Lions are not, save in the instances of self defense and food, at all
aggressive.  A dog that barks will keep any lion away. [Coyotes could be a
very different story.]  And tethering a dog, as long as it's a fairly long
chain [or, if it doesn't chew, a rope], accompanied by food and water and
responsible clean-up, is not at all harmful to any half way normal pooch.
When I lived at Tempe during my ASU grad work, and was away from my house,
my coyote -- Good -- was on a very long chain, under a large and very shady
tree, out of which bird chicks fell regularly [and wound up in his mouth]
when Spring came.  He was on that chain for his own protection -- with
regard to the potentially hostile turf beyond our neighborhood and its
friendly folk. [He also, btw, dug a den near the tree.]  When I was home,
and/or at night, he had the free run of the house.  He did get away briefly
for a couple of times, returning quickly to me -- but not until he had
impregnated two female dogs: a boxer and a cocker spaniel.  All the pups, as
I understand it, went to very responsive families.  Best, H


John Salter [Beba] observes:
BUT much of this goes to the problem of people encroaching on lion territory; building homes in canyons for the scenic value, etc.  There has been an ongoing problem with moneyed people building opulent log hones against the borders of Yellowstone and then getting upset when grizzlies occasionally eat them or their animals.  One such homesteader was quoted as saying something about how the government should "do something" about the bears.  I say, if you want the illusion of security, live in town, not in the boonies, and not even on the outskirts.  OR accept the possible consequences.
Sheila Michaels comments and asks:
I keep hearing about coyotes carrying off
terriers (which are supposed to be able to take
foxes, easily).  Are you sure you'd want to put a
dog out to scare away a mountain lion?
Hunter Bear responds to Sheila:
Thanks, Sheila.  As I pointed out in my note to Reber, while lions will not
go after a dog aggressively -- save in self-defense -- coyotes can sometimes
be affirmatively aggressive toward, say, another canine.  Many
"professional" lion hunters use hounds [Redbones, Blue Ticks etc] to chase
lions -- and, in most cases, the lion will eventually tree.  Cornered
ground-wise, however, a lion will then fight the hounds, but the hounds
quite sensibly dodge the lion's thrusts.  So some hunters use an Airedale
with their hounds since, in a [ground] fight with a lion, an Airedale can be
relatively effective. But, unless chased and cornered, lions avoid any dogs.
[Things you learn growing up in the wilds of Northern Arizona and the Tonto
Rim.  But now I like lions and coyotes, wolves, -- and bobcats!]

Best, H
David McReynolds adds a kind word re Martha's post on her wolf hybrid:
A wonderful story about Iris and her night time story.
David McReynolds
Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
 and Ohkwari'
Check out my very much reprinted piece [in print journals and websites] on Community Organizing:
Honored with The Elder Recognition Award by Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers: