For once I'm early. It's quite a dark hike into the woods this morning. The weasels are at it again: surely they must have taken up residence in this snag. Immediately following this, a coyote comes around the bend on the trail. He stops at a distant tree and looks to his right. Something is out of place.
The night before, Carrie and I set up two additional game cameras. One faces the opposite direction of the original, and the second goes on a ridge where I heard them howl from the week prior. We place the camera on a game trail--for there is no hiking trail to be found in this area of the park. Directly in front of the game camera is a special deposit: coyote scat containing a deer fawns hoof. They must use this trail on a regular basis.
The coyote stares directly at the game camera. He shifts his position, and directs his gaze again at the mysterious black object. Enough for him: he turns around and leaves.
It amazes me how animals know when something is out of place or foreign in their habitat. I'm sure this coyote would have come closer to me if the camera hadn't been there. He didn't even look in my direction, and I am downwind. Maybe next time...