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Colorado National Story News Predators

Read & React: Colorado Man Fights Off Coyote Attack with Flashlight

by PH Online Editors   |  October 18th, 2013 6

Many have argued that coyote populations—which are continually on the rise in many urban settings—aren’t a threat to humans.

Try telling that to 22-year-old Andrew Dickehage, who came face-to-face with three coyotes early Monday morning near Niwot, Colo., on his way to work and ended up in the hospital with extensive wounds.

According to Dickehage, he was walking along a stretch of road at about 5 a.m. when he heard a noise behind him. He turned just in time to see one of the coyotes lunging at him.

Dickehage held a wide stance to avoid being knocked down and kept the animals from biting his neck, but the coyotes were still able to sink their teeth and claws into him. When one clamped down on his hand, Dickehage had enough.

“It started to tug on my hand and I could feel it starting to tear through my skin, so I took my flashlight and hit it over the side of the head to get it to let go,” Dickehage told reporters. “As soon as I got it to let go then another one went to lunge at me. All I really thought to do was swing and knock it to get it from jumping at me again.”

After several exhausting minutes, the coyotes took off, leaving Dickehage alone and bloodied with cuts and scrapes all over his arms, hands and face.

Despite the vicious assault, Dickehage said he was just grateful it was him instead of a little kid or an elderly person, who might not have been able to defend themselves as easily.

Wildlife officials told Dickehage the behavior was uncommon for coyotes; in fact, officials found a dead hawk nearby and speculated Dickehage inadvertently disturbed the coyotes while they were feeding. Nevertheless, two of the coyotes were tracked down and killed by officials as a safeguard.

“They may be small, but you don’t want to underestimate,” Dickehage said.

Check out the video from KCNC-TV in Denver.

Indeed, these predators—while smaller in size than their cousins, gray wolves—are formidable in packs and are capable of bringing down whitetail bucks, putting the species on hunters’ enemies list.

But they can also pose a threat to humans, and Dickehage’s encounter is just the latest of many coyote- and wolf-related incidents. In January, a man in Kent, Wash., was attacked by a couple coyotes in his lawn, suffering the same types of injuries as Dickehage. In August, a pack of wolves chased down a flock of over 2,400 sheep, killing 176 of them—fewer than 10 were bitten, one was partially eaten and the rest asphyxiated as the flock huddled in a panicked mass—and in a separate incident, another wolf was bold enough to attack a teenager from behind at a Minnesota campground.

Still think these predators aren’t dangerous to humans?

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  • Johnny

    Predators will always be just that- sneaky little devils that can creep up on anybody, anywhere, anytime. The best way to deal with this nuisance is to either never walk outside again or arm yourself with some type of weapon to fend off the critter- next time this young man packs a flashlight- it should be a 7-cell maglite with some hitting leverage- maybe even a can of pepper-spray, a stun gun, or in this situation he could have utilized a firearm with a concealed weapons permit! Don’t become a victim to predators- fight back or run like hell!

  • dzinn

    I like the Rocky 16″ Snake Boot. Lite-weight, good support, water proof, comfortable.

  • Spike Bite Protect Your Pet

  • Steve Wilson

    Man is not always an Apex Predator. Coyotes will kill small children. People think coyotes and other predators are cute. I wonder if they would think this way if they were a calf, deer, or rabbit. Also, they don’t kill by crushing the trachea (throat); they kill by eating their prey alive through the legs or belly so it is a horrible death to eat you alive when they pull you to the ground. Ask a rancher to show you how they eat sheep and calves- absolute horrible way to die. Everyone thinks coyotes are cute till they attack and eat your dog or they attack children. They are nothing more than a smaller wolf and a wolf pack, if starving will eat you too- nothing personal- just survival. And since it is just about survival and income, coyotes die every time I get them in my Leopold’s cross-hairs. That is why man is not still hiding in caves or has a car to drive. City dwelling liberal scum who have never had to work a hard day in their life as a farmer or rancher will never know this.

    • Peter Mikhael

      I’m sure coyotes do exactly as you describe but its a little off base to say they “don’t” kill by crushing the throat. They certainly do. Just this winter a deer was killed just off my yard one night exactly by crushing the trachea and for some reason they never ate a thing, which is why the bite marks on the throat were so telling. I’ve seen it before on other deer too, either way is a horrible death. Its not as quick as people think because there is a whole mad survival dash before that and the prey animal is certainly not enjoying the run. Anyway thats nature, but I still kill every coyote I can!

  • ionjohn

    The one I saw in a park nearby in a very early morning are larger than on the ones on tv. And very bold, even it was a coyote; for sure coyote because of the overall sleek appearance. 3 like that would have attacked me; it only trailed me for a while and left me after tossing couple of large stones; it was not impressed by them rocks at all

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