But Did You Die? Surviving a Coyote Attack

Hey girl, it’s me, your local Hungry Mountaineer hiking guide. As a female who identifies as a hiker, I’m the biggest forest fan of solo outdoor trekking. Nothing gives me more pleasure than packing my favorite doggo in the Jeep and hitting the trails for a scenic fifteen-mile trek into the wilderness. Add in four feet of snow, and a pair of snowshoes. There you have the trifecta for a perfect day in nature as far as I am concerned. If I don’t see another human for fifteen alpine miles, I am perfectly fine with that too. I am happily content to be a solo female hiker with my only companion being my adventure pup.

As a forest wanderer who tends to adore hiking solo, just me and my trail pup, I try to make situation awareness a priority. As a smelly camper/hiker who identifies as womanish most days, It’s just savvy in this day and age not to head out into the forest with Airbuds in one’s ears, masking all the sounds of the forest around me. Like that rattlesnake over yonder. Or that homeless encampment on the side of the trail, that tends to litter our wilderness here in southern California.

Today my situation awareness was a game changer as my sixteen-month-old Catahoula pup and I just barely fought off extreme harm. We were attacked by an extremely brazen pack of coyotes. My situation awareness is the only reason I was on high alert. When I heard quick footfalls heading in my direction, I turned at once and had my hiking poles at the ready to bash the massive lead coyote coming at us on the head, while also screaming bloody murder at the top of my lungs. Why yes, I still have a painful throat and a sexy Bonnie Raitt voice, six hours later. Because when smelly forest dogs try to eat my favorite four-legged friend I will scream like a crazy person or possibly Mel Gibson.

As an outdoor adventurer who has trekked thousands of forest miles just in 2022, this ain’t our first rodeo when it comes to heinous coyotes. My older dog is quite sure every smelly forest dog wants to be her best friend. But she is my bitch and you can’t have her. I may have screamed those words in a vacant forest once or twice over the fourteen years Carly was my trail buddy. And then there was the time Carly met a very horny Alpha female coyote and almost became her prison bitch.

She’s my bitch and you can’t have her

Now, Luna, the new puppy is learning the ways of being a trail dog. Thank God my puppy remained calm this morning as we began snowshoeing into a desolated mountain forest, trailed by a pack of at least five hungry coyotes. (We had no idea until it was almost too late) As far as my young pup knew they were just smelly forest friends. She had no idea that the head coyote who was the size of a healthy husky was coiled up and ready to launch himself on her back.

I’m the biggest animal lover, but yes I’ll smack a bitch if she messes with my man’s best friend. And that is just what I had to do this a.m. It was up to me to defend my dog’s honor. I did just that, smacking the giant alpha coyote across the face with my trekking pole and also screaming bloody murder at the top of my lungs. Honestly, these resilient forest dogs were not very scared of me. It’s time to start carrying a taser while hiking.

Trekking poles are also a weapon

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; Trekking poles can be a weapon if you need them to be. And today I did. Any Bethani, Tiffani or Kandice may go out for a run with nothing but the latest iPhone, Airbuds and your Oliver People’s three-hundred-dollar sunglasses but trust me, girl, we live in a world where not being aware of your surroundings can lead to great injury. As my young pup learned today when I would not allow her to play with the snarling forest dog who was ready to violate her and me for all I know. In all my years of outdoor wandering and forest bathing, I have never been in such a scary situation like this with such vicious wild animals.

A PSA for Female solo hikers

Hey, girl, yes I am talking to you in the Lulu lemon hundred-dollar leggings clutching the selfie stick with one pedicured hand. Let’s forget about the four-legged beasts like hysterical coyotes. This is how women get human trafficked so easily and attacked. It blows me away how many trail runners and female solo hikers I run into every week with Airbuds in their ears and no awareness of their surroundings whatsoever. It’s not even rattlesnake season yet at over seven thousand feet in southern California and my trail doggo and I barely survived this hike in one piece!

Coyote attacks are very uncommon here in southern California. Here in our resort town of Big Bear Lake, we believe the tourists have been feeding the wildlife, including the coyotes. I’m the kind of leave no trace female solo hiker who strongly believes, leave the wilderness wild. This kind of behavior makes the coyotes way more ballsy and not afraid of humans. According to a recent article in the Sacramento Bee,

Other than removing attractants, people can also “haze” coyotes with loud noises to deter them. It’s a good idea to carry around a mini air horn, Rich said.

Oh shit, I forgot to carry my air horn with me everywhere I go! Do I look like my dad? But seriously my grandma is sure I’m going to end up on Dateline and my dad thinks I need a Costco-size bottle of bear spray. I think if I carried bear spray or mace I would have a better chance of getting overspray in my eyes. I’ve said for many years that my trekking poles can be used as a weapon against man or beast. I’ve even used them to shoe a rattlesnake or two off of a hiking trail. This was the first time they genuinely came to my rescue.

My trail pup and I were very lucky today. We have many years of female solo hiker adventures in our future. And hopefully, they will be smelly forest dog-free!


  1. Gail

    OMG that sounds so frightening. I always carry a walking pole for security, intending to use it as a weapon if needed. Fortunately there are no coyotes in the local forest!

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