Windows on Wildlife: Choose Your Encounter – Bear or Wolf

Welcome to the 32nd edition of Windows on Wildlife! Issues are still a bit sporadic, but I’m slowly getting back on track. If you have a recent post or photo about wildlife you’d like to share (it can be anything: birds, insects, mammals…) scroll down to the end of the post and add your site. I will compile and post all additions the following week. Please don’t forget to link back here (I’d love it if you’d add the Windows on Wildlife button to your post which you can find on our sidebar) and visit other blogs that have articles to share. Thanks for stopping by!

Raccoon track in mud.

Raccoon track in mud.

So, I’m just getting back into the rhythm of writing regularly again, and really wanted to get an edition of Windows on Wildlife posted this week. With all the craziness in my life at the moment, getting out into the woods for wildlife observation just hasn’t been a priority. And yet as I write this, I’m realizing that it should be – I know how much being outdoors revives my soul and I’m sure it will be good for my healing as I go through radiation.

For now, I don’t really have any personal observations to share for WoW, and I haven’t scoured the world of wildlife conservation to see what’s in the news. So here are some musings on wildlife that came about from putting pen to paper (so to speak) and writing whatever was on my mind…

Raccoons have been near my consciousness lately – not sure why. Clever little hand-like paws, and they have that cute, masked face and pointed nose. Shame that they’ve become so common, no one really finds them special or beautiful. They’re a suburban pest to be eliminated or at least warded off at all costs. And their reputation for being aggressive (not unfounded, by the way) makes people more leery of them than other suburbanized wildlife.

Thinking about it further, I think I’d rather come face to face with a coyote than a raccoon. I’m sure many people would disagree with me – coyotes are larger, they’re predators,  and I’m sure they have an even worse reputation than raccoons. But I know that raccoons are prone to aggression; my father had to shoot one with a bow when I was in high school because it cornered our medium-sized family dog.

Yellowstone Coyote
Stuck in Customs / Nature Photos / CC BY-NC-SA

I don’t really have much factual evidence for the raccoon vs. coyote argument – it’s mostly based on personal preference. I know way more about coyotes than any other animal, and I’ve done my share of dominance work with domestic dogs. I understand the canine mind; definitely not as well as some, but well enough to think that I could handle an encounter with one or two coyotes or wolves, even.

I’d definitely rather face a wolf than a bear. Hm, there’s an interesting question – what would you rather face hiking alone, a black bear or a grey wolf? And what about a wolf vs. a grizzly bear? No contest for me – I have no desire to ever face a grizzly in the wild. Black bear? Maybe… they can be pretty timid and I know lots of people who’ve encountered black bears and were none the worse for it. I’d still take the wolf, though.

Ok, I’m really curious to hear what people think – share your answer in the comments: would you rather come up on a wolf or a bear (either kind) while out in the wilderness? Am I the only wacko who thinks about these things?

Linking up this week with Nature Notes.

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8 Responses to “Windows on Wildlife: Choose Your Encounter – Bear or Wolf”
  1. Leora says:

    I’m sure you are not the only who thinks about such things! I’m just glad you are getting outside in nature and blogging about it. As for animals, all I can think of is I need to find someone to watch my (or is it my daughter’s) guinea pig next month when we go away. Tell the raccoons to leave me alone. I’ve never seen a coyote around here. Years ago, on a cub scout weekend, we were greeted by a bear. He just wanted the trash. Then he left.

    • Wow, that’s quite the cub scout weekend – the kids must have been both terrified and thrilled! I used to find a pet sitter back when we adopted our second GSD, and she has been terrific. Good luck with the guinea pig!

  2. Carver says:

    Interesting post. I wish I could remember the name of the book but I read a book by a woman who was a big defender of coyotes and wrote about how they got a bad and undeserved rep. As far as wolves and bears, I wouldn’t mind meeting either one as long as I wasn’t too close, especially too close to their young. I’m a little weird about feeling more comfortable around large dogs as opposed to small dogs, not sure why. Thanks for the information about the foxes. I do feel lucky to have seen this family right on my deck. I suspect the reason I don’t see them when I’m in my yard is they hide when they hear me coming and I’ve let my yard get so wild there are plenty of places to hide.

    • I wonder if you’re referring to the book “God’s Dog”, by Hope Ryden? That’s the book that first got me really hooked on coyotes – it’s a wonderful treatise on the species. Foxes – especially grey foxes are pretty reclusive; they definitely would hide when they know your nearby outdoors. So cool that you got those photos of them!

  3. I wonder about all kinds of things in nature..helps keep me sane. I hope you are making a good recovery…I think of you and how young you are… hang in there… Michelle

    • Thanks Michelle; that’s a good point – thinking about the natural world probably keeps me sane too! Radiation starts today, urgh. Still, it beats the alternative… 🙂

  4. I would rather come across a wolf. No question about it. Bears are huge, and my dogs are much like wolves. That’s my basic reasoning. 🙂 Does my photo and video of my puppy count as a Window on Wildlife? I think I’ll share…

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