AMY KIRK: Our state mammal represents us wellI for one am not ashamed of my coyote-like scavenging. My best cooler was someone’s castoff Styrofoam shipping container in their dumpster.
By: Amy Kirk, The Daily Republic
To get a genuine feel for South Dakota living, visitors should observe our state mammal. The coyote represents South Dakotans well.
I know what you’re thinking; “South Dakotans live like scavengers?” Just some of us.
I for one am not ashamed of my coyote-like scavenging. My best cooler was someone’s castoff Styrofoam shipping container in their dumpster. Coyotes are part-time scavengers but I’m talking about the other characteristics that make them hardy animals.
Most notable is their adaptability to any habitat. The savvy coyote knows how to live in areas where other animals would struggle to survive. Similarly, South Dakotans know what it takes to stay warm in the winter (money) and ensure that their vehicle starts in subzero temperatures (extension cords and tank heaters).
Coyotes can live in any environment, which we do very well also. Within our state we have a wide variety of habitats. We have East River and West River; areas of high humidity and areas of high altitude, minus 30 degrees below zero in the winter and over 100 in the summer.
We have mountainous and forested areas and rolling hills and prairie lands. Additionally, we have South Dakota wind, inattentive tourists, areas of sketchy cell service and places that don’t have high-speed Internet; all things that metropolitan people don’t have to adjust to.
Coyotes are known for their keen hunting skills and are opportunistic hunters; a characteristic typical of South Dakota women. We know how to find the best bargains and locate the clearance section of any store in order to feed and clothe our pups. We take advantage of store-wide sales, couponing and store loyalty cards to save our money for things like the gas necessary to drive there.
If we need something, we stock up on it when it’s on sale. You can bet your cotton tail when Blue Bunny ice cream goes on sale it’ll be sold out before you get to town unless you’re there when the grocery store opens on the morning the sale begins.
Coyotes and South Dakotans both form strong family groups. Women of our state especially do this, which can be summed up in one word: girlfriends.
Both coyotes and South Dakota people exist on whatever their area has to offer in the way of food or they migrate to areas where food is prevalent.
For many South Dakotans this generally means wherever the potluck is. Many residents also partake in seasonal fishing and small or big game hunting in order to subsist.
To get food in the winter, coyotes oftentimes band up. In a woman’s world this is known as “book club,” “Silpada jewelry party,” “Pampered Chef party,” or any other event containing the word “party” or “shower,” where guests are enticed with food and drink.
Another characteristic the coyote is known for is cleverness; also a trait of South Dakota residents. People here learn to be resourceful or they buy a roll of duct tape and use it in clever ways.
Now when people think of South Dakota, the first thing that will come to mind is, “Why would anyone want to live there?” I say for the potlucks. It’s my clever way of using only one dish to feed my family.
Amy Kirk and her husband raise their two kids on a fourth-generation cow/calf operation near Pringle. She blogs at ranchwifeslant.areavoices.com.