For some time this blog has been dedicated to urban interaction with Coyotes. A few readers asked why not look at the Coyote from the other side? The urban Coyote has a comfortable life compared to the suburbs or worse yet, rural lands. For the remainder of this year (2017) we will shift our focus to Coyote survival in rural areas. The farmer’s and rancher’s lively hood is at stake every day with weather as the primary detriment and livestock predation a close second. The USDA-National Agricultural Statistics Service is referenced for this and other articles. Sheep and lamb mortality can be as high as 80 percent in some cases almost entirely due to Coyote predation. Cattle are much larger and hence their size poses a problem for Coyotes but not one that can’t be over come. The young and sick have always been targets for predators and cattle are no exception. Cattle ranchers constantly struggle with predation and calving operations are extremely vulnerable to the coyote when mom and dad coyote are teaching their pups! When the average size livestock loss is running over $50,000 per year something has to be done. Fare warning here, the following material may not be suitable for all readers.
When Buffalo roamed the American prairies the Wolf, for many years, reigned supreme as the canine alpha predator! The lowly Coyote learned to survive using stealth and cunning to evade the Wolf as well other predators. Alas, as the human migration pushed ever westward the Wolf was hunted to the verge of extinction. Trappers and commercial hunters severely reduced wild life populations (think buffalo) but it was the settlers who had the most detrimental impact on the alpha predator population! Farmers and ranchers saw the Wolf, Mountain Lion and Bear as the primary reason for livestock losses! As a result the Coyote’s primary nemesis was eliminated and the Coyote’s hunting territory expanded as well as his reproductive activity. Interestingly, many studies have shown that Coyotes live about six to eight years in the wild. Conversely, in captivity Coyotes can live twelve plus years. Other studies found that during the least stressful periods wild Coyote pups survival averages around one or two pups out of six. Amazingly, when external pressures exist (hunting or higher level predators) pup survival can be 100 percent. In the case of elevated pressures suggestions are that with the removal of the adult Coyotes the pups have more on which to survive.
Coyote hunting contests have been around for years although on a smaller scale following the demise of the Coyote’s predators.
The agriculture community would come together to hunt the Coyotes as needed. Returning home to the Southwest part of the country in the late 60s a few ex-helicopter pilots found new jobs shooting Coyotes with a shotgun from their low flying helicopters.
The Coyote Cam reader has probably heard of the “Duck Call,” “Goose Call,” and a “Turkey Call,” The next advance in Coyote Hunting came with the mechanical Coyote Call. Coyote Calling has become big business as there are no licenses required to hunt the Coyote.
Today, Coyote Hunting has become a contest to see who can harvest the maximum numbers of Coyotes over a given weekend with a trophy or reward given out. Several gun shops around the southwest, in conjunction with a few farmers and ranchers, have devised an annual Coyote Hunting Contest. What is interesting is that even after these events the next season’s Coyote population shows little, if any, reduction in numbers.
Stay tuned, there is more to come on the Coyote Cam.