DON COYOTE by author Dayton O. Hyde has been re-released by Johnson Books, Boulder, Colorado. Originally written in 1986, is was the winner of the 1989 American Library Association Ten Best Books of the Decade. 245 pages, 5 1/2 x 7 paperback, photographs by Dayton O. Hyde, ages 10 and up.
There's a stubborn myth perpetuated by sheepmen of the old school that coyotes live only to kill sheep, and should be shot on sight. This heart-warming true story of a rancher (The book's author, Dayton O. Hyde) who befriends not just one coyote (The Don), but all the coyotes that live on his land, bears witness to a different truth.
The Don snaps up Hyde's offerings of bologna sandwiches, teaches Hyde to play the coyote version of Kick the Can, and makes his den under an abandoned tractor on Hyde's ranch. When a trespasser shoots off the Don's hind paw and gleefully chops off his tail, Hyde grieves, assuming his coyote friend is dead.
But Don Coyote survives, without a tail and traveling on three legs. And as Hyde and the Don share one adventure after another, Hyde's respect and affection for all coyotes grow. He brings in two more coyotes and six pups, all with their own uniquely engaging personalities. The pups grow up in varying degrees of domesticity and wildness, and one female, Coy, becomes Hyde's constant companion. Coy rides with Hyde in his tractor, sleeps in the cabin, and runs with the ranch dogs.
Hyde's family of coyotes forces him to consider his role: a human being responsible to the land rather than dominating it. And as for the role of coyotes, the rodent population – for once – is under control, the grass grows higher, and the cattle on Hyde's ranch remain untouched. In the end, Coy and the Don run off together, safe yet wild on Hyde's ranch.
Dayton Hyde's wonderful powers of observation prove to be a strong ally for America's most maligned original – the coyote.
Booklist selected Don Coyote for its "Ten Best of the '80s" list, commenting: "An Oregon rancher's nostalgic memoir and impassioned defense of the coyote is also a thought- provoking study of the environmental harm that results when society attempts to rid the landscape of animal and plant "pests."
"So joyously ornery, so damned funny, so compelling that it's tempting to try for a marathon start-to-finish read.Óæ – Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Dayton O. Hyde is a national treasure. The secret powers...put the coyote in our land and put Dayton Hyde here to interpret our land's mysteries. Doubt it? Read Don Coyote and let it all come clear." – Roger Caras
"Dayton Hyde has had a lifelong love affair with the coyote, which may seem offbeat for a rancher. Don Coyote is a book that every person who lives on the range lands should read." – Roger Tory Peterson
"Dayton Hyde's music is primordial...a milestone in nature writing" – Jean Auel
Don Coyote: by Dayton O. Hyde, $19 shipping included. Order your special autographed copy today! Available on line Proceeds from the purchase of this book go to help BHWHS.