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The Quartzsite Report: Beware the Quartzsite coyote!

Russ and Tiña De Maris
Last week we talked a bit about one of the big fears of Quartzsite newbies—scorpions. The fear factor ranks right up there with concerns about rattlesnakes. Since rattlers are pretty dormant at this time of the year, we thought we’d raise awareness about another desert dweller that’s quite active now. That would be the Quartzsite coyote, Canis latrans.

Don’t believe everything you see in the cartoons

After watching a few-too-many Looney Tunes cartoons, one might think only roadrunners have anything to fear from coyotes. Think again. While coyote-takes-on-human encounters are pretty rare, Quartzsite coyotes look forward to winter visitors. It seems some (read that: far too many) visitors think that feeding the coyotes is a good thing. Wrong thinking!

Left to themselves, coyote diets consist mainly of rabbits, mice, an occasional baby mountain sheep, and plenty of ground squirrels. They’ll also eat bugs, fruits and vegetables. But as Quartzsite is overrun with snowbirds, the old “trickster” coyote has learned other “goodies” are associated with winter visitors. If you feed the coyote, he becomes less afraid of you. With the decrease in fear, his interest in other things that accompany humans (aside from handouts) increases. Fluffy and Fido can suddenly appear quite appetizing on the menu.

Siren calls!

Nick Fullerton on flickr.com

The other night, on the north end of town, we heard the plaintive yips and calls of Quartzsite coyotes. Quite likely they were calls to our neighbors’ dogs to “come on out and play!” Every year, household dogs make the mistake of listening to the siren call. Once they fall into the group of their wild cousins, that’s often the end of the tale. There are plenty of rumors that usually go something like this: “Yep, we found a coyote den, and inside we found all kinds of dog collars!” Well, just how true these stories are is questionable. But dogs and cats do make the menu every winter season.

Keeping safe

What’s to be done? For dogs and cats, leashlessness is an open invitation to Wile E. Coyote’s relatives to dive in for a feast. Trusted sources (park rangers) report occurrences of coyotes actually taking on-leashed pets when their owners have had them out for a walk. This doesn’t mean you should be fearful of taking your leashed pet for a walk. But since coyotes are more active after nightfall, you’re safer walking them by day. And Canis latrans are still a bit more fearful of crowds, so your chances of a safe walk are better in an area crowded with humans, rather than out on a desert trail.

If you should be walking your pet and spot a Quartzsite coyote, reel that pet up to you immediately. If it’s a small animal you can gather in your arms, by all means, do so. The key to dealing with a coyote is to be the dominant force. Keep good eye contact. Make plenty of noise. Some folks carry a whistle, and a blast or two may deter your unwelcome friend. Don’t run, but move slowly toward “civilization.”

And for Pete’s sake, DON’T FEED WILDLIFE. Coyotes are opportunistic feeders already—they don’t need encouragement to feast on whatever humans might have handy. Locals will thank you too. Year-round two-legged residents report that after the snowbirds leave, otherwise cautious coyotes more often frequent their yards, making life a bit on the scary side.

Reader comments

Some of you have shared your experiences, and your hopes, about snowbirding in Quartzsite. Here’s a handful.

Greg M. wrote that his first Quartzsite experience was back in 1990. “And for the last 22 years, every year. Enjoy kicking back, and dry camping is always fun.” We can only say, the 2021-2022 season has proved to be a big one for kicking back. BLM lands are “busting at the seams” and local RV parks, by-and-large, are having a good year.

“Arrived in the Q (Quartzsite) late September, ahead of schedule due to wildfire closure of National Parks,” reports Nick S. “Very hot then, crazy cold now. The small town has few restaurants, and supermarkets. Walmarts are 20-40+ miles away. Cell signal is strong but bandwidth is nonexistant in LaPosa South.” Sorry, Nick, but that’s the story everywhere in the area. Internet connectivity will improve—when the crowds clear out. But Nick had some good news: “Occasional strong winds and plenty of sun for solar, otherwise rocky and inhospitable terrain in the LTVAs.”

Some were a bit more cautious in their approach to Quartzsite—or lack thereof. Gary N. observed, “We may skip QZ this year. Omicron, y’know.” He added in a later comment, “I’m as tired of this as anyone. I DO have faith in the public health agencies tasked with protecting our health by providing educated guidance. The forecast is that this surge will continue thru January. That’s bad timing for us. Stay safe.” We can only add, take precautions. Wear a good mask, keep the distance up and, yes, STAY SAFE.

The weekly statistics

How many folks in Quartzsite? It’s impossible to accurately gauge. We’re using the census count from the Hi Jolly Short Term Visitor Area as a gauge.

Last Week This Week Change
299 255 14.8% decrease

 

Fuel Costs (Average)

Last Week This Week Change
Gasoline 3.659 3.617 1.15% decrease

Best price, $3.449 Loves

Diesel 4.097 4.097 No change

Best price, $3.929 Chevron on Main Street

Propane 2.868 2.868 No change.

Best price, Pattie’s RV Park at $2.73. Worst, RV Pit Stop $3.00)

 

Internet Speeds

Last Week This week
Verizon Mobile 1.12D/1.30U 1:49 PM

0.26D/2.06U 7:04 PM

2.06D/1.26 U 12:37 PM

FAILED three attempts. 9:06PM

ATT Mobile 4.77D/3.86U 1:49 PM

0.85D/2.81U  7:04 PM

1.98D/3.45U 12:37 PM

0.33D/0.87U 9:06 PM

As we mentioned above, we anticipate things will slowly improve. If history is any indicator, this is probably the worst that internet speeds will get this season. For whatever reason, it seems the carriers just can’t get it through their corporate heads to plan ahead for the influx. In the past we have complained long and hard, and, in the end, usually gotten an adjustment on our bill. It doesn’t make virtually non-existent connections any easier to cope with, but it might feel a little better!

Health issues

Our “face mask count” is based on numbers of folks at three locations: a popular grocery store, the post office, and a “dollar store.” The count is the total number of folks present and those who are masked up. The percentage given is the percentage of mask-wearers. We are changing our COVID patient count methodology. We’re including new cases within the last week, and comparing the percentage of change from two weeks back. The data is provided by the Arizona Department of Health.

Face Mask Count [Total people counted/masked (% masked)]

Last Week This Week
116/27 (23.3%) 110/29 (26.4)

 

COVID Patient Count

Our statistics are from the Arizona Department of Health, as presented by Arizona Central. They are:

Quartzsite average daily cases in last week: 3
Quartzsite average cases per 10,000 people: 7 (week prior: 10)
Change in number of cases from two weeks ago: 62% higher

Number of Quartzsite coyotes observed wearing masks: 0

Want to know more about Quartzsite? Have something to share? Here’s what to do. Fill out the form below and include “Quartzsite” in the subject line.

Click or drag a file to this area to upload.

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Mike Waller
7 months ago

Sounds like Quartzite is starting to see the peak and beginning the decline. Read various articles where RV show crowd sizes are down, less retailers and vendors attending, etc. Couple that with the soaring prices of fuel and commodities and lack of any real shopping in the community I have difficulty seeing why anyone would go there, other than it’s “free”. And, the overall lack of disregard for others for covid protection, well, nothing I’m interested in.

Frank
8 months ago

Your propane report says highest was wrong, The Loves W end of town is 4.29 a gal.

Greg S
8 months ago

Thanks for the reports Russ, as full-timers since 2019 and first-timers to Q we look forward to the weekly reports. We have found some useful bits in there and with a four-legged companion, coyotes have been on our radar. So keep up the good work.
Then there are the comments and Ron, every RV forum has at least one Ron, sometimes more. But if not for him I would not have commented. I find his comments uninformed and unhelpful for those that are actually here, living life, as I am sure anyone else here would.
We have been here 3 weeks and made at least 4 treks through the Big Tent this past week, it has been awesome to see folks out enjoying the show, conversing around campfires, enjoying life in general. This is more of the norm than one might think and we love seeing things returning to normal across this great country.
So nothing to see here Ron, take the FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) to another corner of the Internet.

Maurizio Taglianini
8 months ago

Some people deny the existence/seriousness of COVID as well as the benefits of vaccinations – they probably done smallpox and polio but not COVID, you ask them and they reply to be a proud minority 🙂

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
8 months ago

Thanks, Maurizio. Those naysayers may be in the “proud minority,” but I’m pretty sure that would change rapidly if they or a loved one were added to the more than 883,000 people in the U.S., and the 5.66 million people worldwide, who have died from COVID. Take care, and stay healthy. 🙂 –Diane

Bob
8 months ago

Like your Q report but this last week was the big tent and large crowds and not one report about what was there or what interesting things around the tent. Very very disappointing.

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