Terror in the Night


I have had some scary moments in the outdoors. Some close encounters with bears, but one of my most terrifying moments in the outdoors came from the cowardly coyote. I say cowardly because normally they are very afraid of humans. I have hunted around coyotes for nearly forty years. I’ve watched them from the deer stand.  I’ve called them into a predator call when hunting them. I have had them follow me at night, with the occasional howl or yelp. It seems to me that coyotes are much braver at night, and will approach much closer than in the daytime. I don’t usually use a light at night, preferring to let my eyes become adjusted to the dark.  Maybe that has something to do with it.  I think they are more curious than anything.

coyotes

If you have ever heard a pack of coyotes cut loose, than you know what a racket they can make. Some are howling, others are yipping, yelping, yodeling and barking. It is a sound I love to hear when I am in the woods. But it can also be an intimidating sound when it is dark and they are close. Check it out on YouTube Coyote Pack Howl

Before we moved to the Upper Peninsula nearly forty years ago. I would often drive to the U.P. from where we lived in Lower Michigan to hunt. I had a pickup with a cover on the back. Quite often if I was hunting alone, I would simply throw my equipment in the back of the truck and drive the four hundred plus miles north. I would then live out of the back of the truck while hunting. I enjoyed the cooking over a campfire and sleeping on the ground.

On this trip, I was hunting an area south of Gould City, along the north shore of Lake Michigan. It  was a large area of cedar swamps, hardwoods and conifers. I would hunt for grouse and woodcock during the day and I would spend the mornings and evenings bowhunting for deer.

One evening after deer hunting, I followed a old logging road up into some hardwood hills. When the road ended and I couldn’t drive any further, I stopped and made camp. After cooking my meal over a campfire, I laid out a small tarp on the ground. I would roll out my sleeping bag on one side of this and fold the other half over my bag, in case of rain. It was late fall and was getting rather chilly at nights. Frost was much more likely than rain.

During the night as it got colder, I burrowed down into my sleeping bag. I was deep in lala land when it happened. A pack of coyotes cut loose with their howling, yipping, yelping and yodeling. At that time, I had never heard coyotes do this. They were very close to me, probably within a hundred feet. However, at the time it sounded like I was surrounded. It was like being woke up to a large band playing Schubert’s Military march. I had no idea what was happening. It is very hard to jump out of a sleeping bag quickly when it is fully zipped and you are still half asleep. I eventually managed to extract myself and realize what was happening. By then the coyotes had moved further away, with only an occasional howl or yip. They had probably been attracted by the smells from my campfire cooking.

It would soon be dawn, and I was now wide awake. Boy, was I wide awake! I decided to make a campfire and fix some breakfast. As I was frying bacon and eggs, the coyotes moved a little closer and started their racket again. It must have been the bacon. I had to chuckle to myself. It was now becoming funny. What a sight I must have been!

Usually I would camp in a different location each night. However, the next night I decided to return to the same spot, in hopes of having a similar experience. I ate my evening meal, enjoyed some time by the fire and then curled up in my sleeping bag. Towards morning I awoke to the same ruckus as before. They weren’t quite as near as the previous night, but still very close. Tonight I was ready. After the initial shock, I pulled from under the tarp my twelve gauge automatic shotgun, pointed it towards the sky, switched off the safety and pulled the trigger twice. After the roar there was silence, total silence. Haha, got you back you wily coyotes. I was still chuckling as I drifted back to sleep. Forty years later, it still brings a smile to my face to remember that night.

There are many things we face that can be downright scary. We fear the future, the unknown, love, illness, even death. If we are not careful, we can let fear and anxiety rule our lives to the point where we are afraid to make decisions, try new things, meet new people, or stand up for what we believe.    What does God say?

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you. – Isaiah 43:2

 We see the phrases, “Do not fear.” and “Do not be afraid.” written over and over again in the Bible.  Be strong and of good courage.  Do not worry.  Do not be discouraged or afraid. He will always be with us if we put our trust in him.  

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7

Terror in the Night

 

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He will fight for you.


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