Nick Nelson

Stub-Tailed Coyotes

Blog Post created by Nick Nelson on Mar 6, 2018

This is an article from the March 2018 edition of NAAE’s News & Views Newsletter. To read News & Views in its entirety, please visit this link.


Mike Hubbard was a stockman and world class cow dog trainer that ranched on the other side of the Lost River from our family’s operation in the Langell Valley of southern Oregon. In the winter we would get these long cold spells that were hard on ranchers and livestock alike. My dad and Mike would get together after morning feeding and lambing/calving checks and play cribbage in front of the fire in the lambing barns. While they played cards and drank coffee, they would tell each other stories that they had heard or most often stories that they had invented. I can still remember a story Mike told me about a coyote that he had trouble with:


“I was riding the Honda up to the lambing barn when I saw him the very first time. He was in front of a big boulder that jutted out of the side hill, and he was big. He was big enough that I could see his nose sticking out on one side of the rock, and see his tail wagging on the other. I tiptoed my way up as close as I could get, but there was no way I could get a clear shot off without him hightailing it out of there, so I tested the wind with my thumb. Once I determined the wind was just right, I aimed straight to the sky and fired. What I didn’t count on was that coyote hearing the shot and switching directions. I heard a wince from that dog, but when I got to the place he should have been, all that was left of him was about 8 inches of tail. For the next six months I played hide and seek with that coyote, with him getting a few lambs and me making a few feeble rifle shots at him.


“The next spring I saw that coyote again catching mice in the alfalfa field. I knew it was the same 'yote because he was missing half of his tail. This time I wasn’t going to let him get away. I belly-crawled for half a mile through that field, every so often parting the alfalfa to see where he was. Finally I got to within 10 feet of that coyote. I parted the legume and he was laying there with is stubbed tail pointing at me. As I raised up my rifle, it occurred to me that I had not jacked a shell into the chamber. I just knew that the sound would scare him away. So I did the best thing I could think of — I raised up real slow, pointed that barrel at that big ol’ coyote and yelled BANG! He died of a heart attack.”


Mike Hubbard would have been a great ag teacher, mostly because he never let the truth get in the way of a good story. The other thing about Mike was that he would always share his mistakes and lessons learned in the process. This is one of the huge advantages of going to regional conferences. It is a chance to get together with other ag teachers and share with each other the lessons learned in and out of the classroom. It is an opportunity that shows that everybody is in the same boat, has had similar trials and tribulations and the sharing of how those situations were handled. If a story gets told, even better. These professional development opportunities are what separates ag teachers from the rest of the school.


Regional conferences are not just for the leadership teams in your state, but for any member to visit with colleagues beyond our state borders. We are seeing an increase of pre-service teachers coming to these meetings with their universities and great collaboration is happening at the conferences because of it. This year, a couple different regions are planning an XLR8 workshop for mid-career teachers that would not be able to attend at the NAAE convention. These types of professional development activities are tremendously invaluable, please do not miss the opportunity to attend.


Regional Conferences dates and locations are listed below:

Region 1-- April 25-28;  Cedar City, UT
Region 2—June 18-21;  Ft. Collins, CO
Region 3—June 18-20;  Cedar Rapids, IA

Region 4—June 26-28;  Kansas City, MO
Region 5—June 25-27;  Asheville, NC
Region 6—July 9-12;      Dover, PA


At the NAAE office in Lexington, Kentucky, many things are keeping the staff and officers busy. The board has approved new changes to the award applications, which is a directive that came out of committees. Those are now live and up and running on the NAAE website. You will see new application questions that are current and show a separation of the award areas. Also, the NAAE Board of Directors has approved a change from the Agriscience Teacher Award to an Agriscience Fellowship Program. We are excited for what the Fellowship Program can provide and will have details to the members by this spring. We will soon have a new operating budget and will be looking to approve it by the end of the month. As you read this, the National Policy Seminar will have just gotten over with many of our colleagues visiting Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., advocating on our behalf. Currently the NAAE staff is screening applicants for the marketing position and will be interviewing for that position in the next month. We have also received good news from National FFA to have another ag educator on the National FFA Board. The NAAE Board of Directors submitted three individual names after an application review to the Department of Education. DOE will select one of the three to serve on that board. Having two ag educators on the National FFA Board is a very positive exciting opportunity.


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