I was spending way too much time and money fighting gophers.
Talking one day with my farmer neighbor, with our conversation drifting towards “those damn gophers” as it always did, I learned that when he irrigated his alfalfa crops coyotes would come and feast on gophers as they were flushed to the surface.
I had to see this for myself. It was amazing! The coyotes would stand right next to us and the farm dogs. It was serious business for the coyotes as they consumed many drenched gophers. This was a turning point for me.
Prior to this, I was always in fear mode about coyotes. “They will gang up on your dog, they will chase you down, they are dangerous”. This was what I usually heard, albeit from city slickers and wanna-be tough guy “cowboys”. I have witnessed, many times, the opposite.
Fear sells guns, traps, and affects a large fraction of our population, who make decisions more on their primitive “lizard brain”, the amygdala, instead of the logical region of the brain, the pre-frontal cortex. Much of their behavior is driven by myth (e.g. John Wayne’s real name was Marion Morrison, and he grew up in the Los Angeles area as the son of pharmacist). I get it, fear is an important emotion, and over the years I have learned to control it better, and I am still learning, and always will be.
Initially, when a coyote showed up on my land I would shoot a rifle in its general direction to scare it off, intentionally not hitting it.
After being shown by neighboring farmers how the coyotes were great at getting gophers I paid more attention and noticed they were not causing any harm to me. They were instead a big help in controlling rodents.