Coyotes I Have Knownby John Duncklee
Novice rancher John Duncklee saw his share of buzzards during the 1950s while husbanding a herd of cattle through Arizona's worst drought in 400 years, and he told the story of those days in the captivating book Good Years for the Buzzards. Duncklee spent the next few years buying Mexican steers in Sonora, farming in the Santa Cruz Valley, and raising quarter horses on a small ranch near Nogales, Arizona. During that time he found that he had to cope with a different kind of creature.
Duncklee discovered that most of the people he met were honest and easy to do business with; but he also discovered coyotes--people who weren't necessarily con artists but who were sly and cunning like their canine counterparts and who needed to be dealt with accordingly. Human coyotes, Duncklee learned, can be great company, but transacting business with them can be risky.
Coyotes I Have Known recounts Duncklee's life during the early 1960s while he lived and worked along the United States-Mexico border. It introduces the people he encountered from both cultures and describes the many problems he faced in the livestock business--particularly in exporting Mexican steers to the United States. "The world of business seems to teem with coyotes," he writes, and he observes that his naiveté and idealism often made him easy prey for such a person, "who often appears when least expected."
Duncklee's book recalls life along the border in a time that, while fairly recent, has already vanished. Maquiladoras, illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and economic problems have all had an impact on Sonora and have become major influences in changing the way of life in southern Arizona as well. Fortunately for today's readers, Duncklee has captured both the romance and the grittiness of western life as experienced not long ago.
John Duncklee has worked as a cowboy, sailor, university professor, mesquite furniture designer, and writer. The author of Good Years for the Buzzards, his work has also appeared in Arizona Highways, the Christian Science Monitor, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Journal of Irreproducible Results. His montly column, "View from the Porch," appears in Connection, which is published in Arivaca, Arizona.
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