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Predators At The Back Door

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Predators At The Back Door

Once you peer into the eyes of death— assuming you survive—you never forget those eyes, that look. Blind luck enabled me to survive a grizzly bear attack in 1986, and the look in the eyes of that bear is a vision tattooed into my psyche: menacing, intense, focused on one thing—the kill.

Last winter I saw those eyes, that look, again. One morning, while shaking the sleep out of my brain, I headed to the kitchen looking for some coffee. Glancing out the backdoor slider of our Arizona home, I encountered those same eyes of death. A coyote stood transfixed, staring at his prey: our 20-pound dog that was sound asleep. Only a thin pane of glass separated predator from unsuspecting prey. I hollered. In response, the coyote glanced up at me, turned and trotted into our backyard. Grabbing my camera, I stepped outside. The coyote seemed unfazed: It meandered next door, checked out the neighbors’ deck then went into their front yard. It had zero fear of me.

Why should it? In many modern urban and suburban areas, predators have become part of the daily landscape. Coyotes, black bears and mountain lions are expanding their hunting grounds into city streets and backyards, in some cases operating with apparent disregard for any consequences.

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