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Bernie Boettcher Friday, 18 November 2011 11:03 TWEET COMMENTS 0

Nature's Way

Feeding your spirit in Yellowstone

First, let me say I don't think it's OK to sneak up behind your competition and bite their Achilles. If God wanted us to ...

Illustration by Kevin Howdeshell

First, let me say I don't think it's OK to sneak up behind your competition and bite their Achilles. If God wanted us to employ this tactic, He would've given us bigger teeth. But on a recent trip to Yellowstone, I spent hours watching four coyotes relentlessly pursue a grizzly bear by biting his Achilles tendon. Every time he turned his back, one of the coyotes nipped his heels while the other three laughed in his face. When the bear turned on the nipper, the coyotes behind him became the biters, a brilliant tactical game on the part of the 40-pound canines.

The 700-pound grizzly looked as hopeless as a heavyweight fighter at mile 10 of the Leadville 100. Sure, he got a few swipes in and maybe bit an ear off, but after a few hours he was looking feeble. The coyotes were winning.

It got me thinking about lessons we can learn from nature, like: "While observing a grizzly get harassed by coyotes, watch where the heck you're running." I looked down and noticed I was standing on a wolf den! I poked my head into one of the holes and heard scratching sounds. That's when I remembered the TV nature program where someone got between a wolf pack and its pups, and was nearly shredded by the angry pack.

I felt like I was back in Helena, Montana, doing the "Don't Fence Me In" trail race the day before. There were five guys ahead of me, and a huge pack behind me, but I didn't see anyone. I kept pushing because I knew they were there, gaining on me somehow, like a pack of wolves.



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