Hiker Attacked By Coyote In Middle Georgia

Nate Edmonds used a knife to kill a coyote that attacked him at the Hitchiti Experimental Forest.

Chad Cain | May 31, 2018

Nate Edmonds’ first up-close-and-personal encounter with a coyote proved to be much more exciting than he may have wanted it to be.

On Saturday, May 26, 2018, Nate drove out to the Hitchiti Experimental Forest, also known as the Brender-Hitchiti Demonstration Forest. The area is about 5,000 acres of federal land adjacent to Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge in Jones County. Hunting on the area is managed as part of Piedmont NWR.

Nate’s plan was to hike for a while with a friend, and since he was about 30 minutes early, he decided to go walk a bit beforehand. He parked at the head of an established trail and hiked back down into the woods about a quarter mile before he decided to turn back and wait on his friend.

Nate Edmonds was bitten on the leg by the coyote.

The Hitchiti Nature Trail is a 4-mile track that follows Little Falling Creek to the Ocmulgee River and then loops back.

On his way back, Nate stopped at a bridge that was only 60 yards from the road.

“I saw something moving through the woods,” said Nate. “I saw what looked like a dog, but by the time it finally got out into the trail, I could clearly see it was a coyote.”

Nate said he wasn’t exactly sure what to do at first. He looked at the coyote, and the coyote looked back at him, but neither one of them made a move.

“This isn’t good because I have never seen a coyote that close in daytime,” said Nate. “Well, I’ve never seen a coyote that close period. I’m sure I’ve passed them many times in the woods, but their first inclination is to get away from you. It seemed like this one just found me out.”

Nate started to clap his hands and yell, trying to scare the coyote off so he could get back to his truck. The animal paid no attention to the noise and continued to stand in the way staring back at him. It showed no signs of aggression, but it didn’t move all the same. Nate tried clapping and yelling again but still got no reaction from the coyote.

“I thought, ‘Maybe, just maybe, people have left food on the trail, and this thing associates me with food, but it’s not going to be aggressive about it,’” said Nate. “So I was just going to take a really wide berth and get around this guy. My plan was to never turn my back on it, but I was going to cut off the trail, make a very wide path, and maintain eye contact with it but get around to the other side of it where I could get to the truck.”

Nate began to make his way around the coyote, and he had barely taken two steps before the animal growled, lunged at him and latched onto his boot. Between slipping on the wet ground and trying to kick the animal off his boot, Nate lost his footing and hit the ground.

“It let go of my boot and re-latched onto my shin,” said Nate. “That’s when it actually tore my pants and broke the skin. I was able to kick it off with my right foot though and somehow pin its head between both of my feet. That’s when I was able to get my knife out of my pocket and was able to stab it once between its shoulders and its back.”

Luckily, Nate was carrying a knife and was able to kill the coyote, which is now being tested for rabies.

After he finished off the coyote, Nate called the Jones County Sheriff’s department, who then got in contact with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at nearby Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge. They sent someone out to get a report, take pictures and send the coyote off to test for rabies.

A few hours later Nate was at Navicent Health Center in Macon to get his rabies vaccinations just in case the animal turned out rabid. He got his shots about 6 p.m. Saturday.

“I went home and felt fine,” said Nate. “The next day was Sunday — felt fine most of the day. I was able to get up and move around without really even any soreness. Around Sunday night, roughly 24 hours after I had gotten my shot, I started feeling bad. By Monday morning is when I had to come back in (the hospital).”

It turns out he had a bad reaction to the first vaccination, very similar to serum sickness. It caused his liver and kidneys to begin to shut down, resulting in multiple side effects including dehydration. After the hospital rehydrated him, Nate had to remain at the hospital so he could be monitored through the second round of vaccinations.

“The medical follow-up has been much worse than the actual coyote bite itself,” said Nate.

Nate plans on being discharged from the hospital today, May 31, and hopes to hear back from the CDC to find out if the coyote was rabid or not. If it was rabid, he has to continue with two additional rounds of vaccinations, but if not, then he can stop taking them.

UPDATED June 5, 2018: The CDC confirmed the male coyote was rabid. Nate received his third rabies vaccination and will continue to get the full series of shots. Nate has had some elevated levels but nowhere near high enough to go back to the hospital and has actually been back at work this week. “I see the light at the end of the tunnel now,” said Nate.

“You really don’t expect to have an encounter in an area where a lot of people walk,” said Nate. “I will certainly be changing my thoughts on that.”

In Georgia, coyotes are a non-native, invasive species and are impacting animal populations, particularly deer and turkeys. In an effort to raise awareness about the effects of coyotes during the time when deer fawns and turkey poults are being born, GON hosts a Coyote Cull in May and June.

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  1. coyotesave on July 15, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    Coyotes don’t attack people for no reason! What did you do?
    Coyotes are indigenous to the United States!
    Coyote culls don’t work!
    Proving your manhood, right?
    Why not hunt fair? without a gun?
    May be none of this makes sense to you because only uneducated people like you people that destroy our natural resources and make real country people like us look bad! We will mitigate your efforts sooner or later. 🙂
    Future generations deserve our natural resources too!

  2. Oldarmyvet on June 6, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    It’s a shame that killing coyotes on Piedmont is not allowed because there is a lot of them. If you do and get caught by the game warden wonder what the ticket/fine would be?

  3. chuckster on June 6, 2018 at 12:28 am

    Also, a follow up to my previous comment. I have seen two coyotes take down a fawn in Coweta County , Ga. . When cattle are giving birth , packs of coyotes frequently kill the newborn calves. This is common knowledge among cattlemen.

  4. chuckster on June 6, 2018 at 12:21 am

    Wow, I have never commented on any of this stuff I read but have to this time. I am 73 years old and know for a fact that fox hunters in south Georgia in the 1950 to 1960s imported coyotes to add something to hunt for sport. The coyotes are reproduced rapidly with no predators higher up the food chain. they are now in every county in Georgia. Believe it or not that’s the facts jack.

  5. maco_outdoors on June 4, 2018 at 10:27 am

    Not native, and they sure have a huge impact.

  6. crowe on June 4, 2018 at 1:34 am

    Coyotes are not an invasive species to GA, they are native to North America, and are common from Alaska to Central America. (GON Editor’s Note: Coyotes are not native to Georgia, therefore in Georgia coyotes are absolutely an invasive species, by any scientific definition. Per the Wildlife Resources Division, “Because coyotes are a non-native species in Georgia, there is no closed season for their harvest). The entire history of the animal is rooted in North America. Also, coyotes do not commonly eat deer, they are way too small and don’t tend to hunt in packs large enough to take a deer. Rodents are a coyote’s primary food source, followed by snakes, lizards, ground fowl, and maybe a cat or two if left unattended. If the opportunity presents itself, and a young deer or small unsuspecting adult presents itself, a coyote may be able to take it down. But they aren’t coming close to impacting the population of deer anywhere. (GON Editor’s Note: False, as evidenced by countless scientific studies specific to GA and the Southeast, coyotes are dramatically impacting deer fawn recruitment rates, enough so that regulations have been changed to mitigate the impact. Just once of countless scientific studies –

    • maco_outdoors on June 4, 2018 at 10:52 am

      “Historically, the range of the Coyote was limited to the Great Plains region of central North America west of the Mississippi River. However, since the early 1800s, Coyotes have dramatically expanded their range. In eastern areas of their range, Coyotes are much larger than their western relatives, suggesting that genetic flexibility has allowed them to grow larger and exploit White-tailed Deer as an important food source.” University of Florida

    • rganderson007 on June 5, 2018 at 11:28 am

      I have personally witnessed coyotes take deer. Two of them took down a doe right near my home. I’ve found parts of deer as well. To say they do not is naive. Coyotes are not native to my area. At least not since I was born. I have lived here most of my life I’m 50 btw. The coyote population has exploded in recent decades. I can not recall a time in my youth where I saw one.
      The western species may be more solitary. However, these eastern strains are have been shown on DNA analysis to have been crossed with dogs. Maybe the difference in the eastern and western needs to be viewed differently by biologists. The eastern coyotes do occasionally hunt in small packs. I’ve seen it with my own eyes! I have also had several encounters walking my dogs in the woods. Once a coyote ran up to me and I thought it was a dog. I had a walking stick and thrust it at him. The coyote then ran off. Say what you want but some of these things are not scared of people.

      • [email protected] on June 5, 2018 at 9:56 pm

        Good reading. Thank you. I’m 61 and with exception of my time in the military (8 yrs.) lived here in Ga. all my life. I saw what I’m pretty sure was a coyote cross in front of my vehicle one time. Then another time one standing in a field as I was driving down the road. I’ve heard what I believe was coyotes making their mating calls. Now on to my real point. If coyotes are mating with wild dogs (and I have no reason at all to doubt you, sounds very reasonable to me) that is Bad business. I KNOW for a fact that wild dogs will take down some pretty good size calves. These are dogs that dont have collars, were probably thrown out at a young age in the woods and managed to survive by becoming part of a pack. Coyotes normally travel solitary ?? But can some times run in small packs ?? That small pack situation could be bad for humans as well as small dogs (or even large dogs for that matter) cats, and small children (or adults to for that matter). We used to kill wild dogs in allot of numbers over time trying to take down our calves. And we found our calves would have bite marks all over their ankles. We’ve even spooked them off of a freshly killed calf. I had a large pack come for me long sea story so I wont get into it I came out unscathed. Just a few years ago a friend of mine had to shoot one and killed another that chased him to the point where he jumped in the bed of his pickup truck and shot them with his little pocket pistol. If coyotes develop More of a pack mentality that could be real trouble over time. Sorry so lengthy. ****This story has made me become Even More conscious of my environment when outside in or near the woods. Told my wife to as we have a little pooch she walks with. I enjoyed reading All the comments here, very interesting !

    • rayvet on June 5, 2018 at 5:14 pm

      Very ill informed comment Crowe. I really have to wonder how much outdoor experience you have. For starters, coyotes have been proven to be detrimental to our deer population. Their hunting behavior even changes during fawning season in order for them to get more of the newborns. They have also eliminated many feral cat populations here in North Georgia in very short period of time (with many incidences being caught on game cams). And while they may be native to North America, they are certainly not native to this area of the country. I wish people that don’t know nearly as much as they think they know would not spout about things that the more educated know to be incorrect information.

    • rxmaster on June 5, 2018 at 9:29 pm

      Polar Bears, Grizzlies, and Walrus are native to North America too, but I would hardly call them “Native” if I one found wandering around Georgia. It’s a big continent with lots of different biomes…

    • viperone on June 10, 2018 at 11:21 am

      Crowe, that is the most ridiculous accumulation of words I have read in a long time.

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