Climate Change or Coyotes?

Yes Martha, there are things far worse then a Coyote attacking our family pet! Readers who follow this blog know that its material comes primarily from major media and internet stories (both authenticated and unauthenticated).  So here we go – Lets all take a deep breath, relax and keep an open mind.  No matter what is causing it . . . .  climate change is a fact!  Example: looking back this week major news media reported the Arctic Ice is at the second lowest level in satellite history.  STOP!  Satellite history is limited when compared to written history let alone the time the earth has revolved around the sun.  All type of facts are available from multiple sources and depending on your personal interpretation can be devastating or uplifting.  So yes, the climate is changing but at what rate?  The speed of climate change appears to be increasing and most would agree the growing human population in all probability – has some impact on the rate of climate change.  There, I said it and you will make of it what you will.  I say climate change is probably worse then a Coyote attacking our family pet!

Well? The point to consider is that as the climate does indeed change what individual impact does it have on us? Begin with food sources . . draught or flooding will destroy your food source.  Shelter . . many homes have been destroyed by both draught (fires) and flooding.  With out food and shelter we humans become scavengers.  Sound familiar?  In addition to being hunters Coyotes are scavengers. As its territory expands and contract a Coyote’s focus turns from hunting to scavenging.  What ever opportunity is presented to the Coyote will be maximized, the Coyote’s life depends on food and shelter.  So you saw a Coyote sneaking around your back fence?  Food and shelter is on the Coyote’s mind as it wonders your neighborhood.  Unlike humans the Coyote can not rebuild and replant so it leaves to find a sustainable environment.  You want the Coyote gone, eliminate its food and shelter.  Hmm . . We humans may want to reconsider our priorities eh?

Between March 15th and March 26th 2018 there have been 14 public reports of Coyote problems, the majority along the east coast with several from New York.  Regardless of where the reader lives if you haven’t had a Coyote problem it is only a matter of time before it happens.  Knowing that Coyote problems are occurring residents would be well advised to prepare for the eventuality of meeting up with the four legged varmint.  Knowing that climate change is happening now is the time to take precautions, throw an extra blanket and couple of bottles of water in the car before you take a trip.  Keep that cell phone charged and consider keeping an emergency battery pack charged up as well.  This year it seems the weather has been relentless on the East Coast and the number of citizens without power has to be at an all time high.  Amazingly, no reported Coyote sightings have been made since the winter storms  . . or have they?  As for Coyotes your choice of defensive tools could be a hand held air-horn or the old reliable 12 gauge.  The latter is my anti-Coyote choice though my neighbors take a dim view on loud sounds in the middle of the night.  NOTE: Rabid Coyotes don’t respond to air horns but the 12 gauge will stop them dead in their tracks – so to speak.

OK so far we have climate change and Coyotes – how are they related you ask? Coyotes are in our neighborhoods and no one can explain why.  The Coyote population is growing in our neighborhoods but no one seems to know how fast the Coyote population is growing. Yes, different localities seem to have varying speeds of Coyote population growth. Open the local newspaper or tune into the evening news show and various pundits will state that this or that is the way to alter climate change.  Some local animal experts report that Coyote control is best achieved through trapping and is more humane while others advocate termination which is more expedient and definitive.  No one has figured a solution to climate change and Coyotes peering out from under the brush near the driveway have no fear of us.

It is said that all politics are local. How about varmint control?  The Federal Wildlife authorities have taken action with a degree of success in the western states. Some other areas over seen by those authorities have suffered collateral damage in the form of live stock and or family pets.  The local communities have a better perspective on their need for varmint control and with the help of local citizens, can limit Coyote run-ins.  Notice I said “limit,” too many well intentioned folks just have to feed the wild life!  Once we get around those supporting wild life in the neighborhoods Coyotes will be motivated to look for other friendly environments.  Recapping here – Climate change is still going on and I just got another trail camera photo of a local Coyote.  On a positive note, the local drought seems to have diminished the number of Coyote tracks behind the back fence.  On the other hand, it looks like my summer water bill is going to be quite a bit higher!

Stay tuned – there is more to come on the Coyote Cam

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Warm fires

Tonight was my night to cook and grilling a steak sounded like a good thing even though it is still mid winter in northern New Mexico. The night skies here are really clear, the stars shine bright!  While watching the last of the setting sun and dreading the cold of the ensuing darkness I decided a fire in the fire pit would be the perfect idea while managing my cooking.  Now a gas fire pit doesn’t have the ambiance of the camp wood fires I experienced as a youth or later on in early married life.  These days I have to resort to wood chips to add the missing scent of pinion, oak or juniper.  And too, wood fueled fires pop as the wood is consumed.  Occasional embers float up from the fire and are carried away on breezes then dying some few feet out.  The wood chips would do the same tonight though natural gas is now used to create the heat.

On a parallel note- most folks seem to wait until it is time to cook before brushing off their grill, bad move! How many out there clean their BBQ grills? Here is another consideration for you, what about the drip pan?  Over the years I have migrated from charcoal to natural gas for a lot of different reasons but specifically the ease of cooking and clean up.  Some of my early grills were a simple barrel cut in half with a heavy screen cook top heated by a wood fire.  The wood went the way of the buggy whip.  I quickly replaced the wood with charcoal.  But just like later propane tanks, I couldn’t remember to keep my supplies in stock!  Long story short, natural gas was more convenient.

On to my story – As I gazed out across the desert I thought I saw a shadow moving through the ocotillos and sage brush, something was skulking about. I knew what it was without seeing it in detail, a Coyote.  Regular readers will know I harp about keeping your home surroundings clean but looking back on my admonitions I don’t see anything about BBQ grills.  Time out!  Where is this conversation going?  Well . . .out door grills retain cooking odors and quite often, food debris.  Most grills set up off the ground have covers BUT even days later will emit the scent / odors of what was cooked.  Hello, Coyote attractant!  Here is the bottom line.  Don’t just burn the grill off.  After the grill temperature is low enough get out there and give the cook top a good scrubbing, don’t leave anything on the cook top.  Next, check to see if you have any drippings on the bottom of the fire pit.  It is messy work but something that will diminish a hungry Coyote’s hunger pains to visit your yard.  Aluminum foil works really well in the bottom of your BBQ grills, it keeps all the debris from cooking in one contained spot!  When done grilling just wrap the foil and discard every thing into a closed trash can.

You are welcome. Stay tuned there is more to come on the Coyote Cam!

First of September

Good morning to all you Coyote Cam readers / watchers, the first of September has arrived. So what does that mean to the Coyote fan?  We have talked in general terms about Coyotes spotted and encountered through out the country but not a lot about their family life so lets get down to basics.  Back ground history for the following material was derived from the New Mexico Game and Fish, these fine folks work hard to ensure New Mexico’s wild life is properly managed.  A lot more Coyotes are seen at this time of the year as the pups are now grown and capable of going about on their own.  The Coyote family consists of an “Alpha Core” (Dad and Mom are monogamous most of the time) and pups that will hunt as a unit early on in that family’s cycle.  Though more often then not at this time of the year, the youngsters are venturing further from the den developing their own capabilities.  The pups are accepted back for a few more weeks but they will soon go out into the world on their own.  Wolves hunt in packs dictated by a social order as opposed to the Coyote family hunting unit.

 

Breeding begins about mid – late January through February with gestation running about 60 plus days. Birth starts a little after St. Patrick’s Day or from mid March to late April of each year.  The pups do not open their eyes for 10 days New born pupsbut will leave the den 2 – 3 weeks later.  It is about this time that Mom may decide to move the pups to a new location as the youngsters get more active.  Coyotes are known to have several dens available in their territories so Mom has several to choose from.  The Coyote families eventually dissolve with the young males leaving prior to the arrival of Mom and Dad’s next liter.  Of curious note here is that some of the original litter’s female pups will hang around and help Mom with her next litter.  These “babysitters” are really helpful bringing food to Mom and helping to move their new brothers and sisters during the first few months to avoid den parasites and predators. The pups are typically weaned at 5-6 weeks after birth.  The pups accept regurgitated food from the parents at this time but will soon begin their hunting training by accompanying Mom & Dad along with any of the older pups from the previous litter.  As soon as the youngest are getting about on their own and able to keep up with Mom & Dad the other older siblings began to leave the Alpha Core.  The mortality for young Coyotes is close to 50 percent, most pups will never see their first birthday!

Family units consist of 3 – 8 members The Familyand have relatively small territories of 2 – 3 square miles but may range out to 40 square miles depending on conditions. The Coyotes mark their territories with urine, fecal matter and anal-sac secretions.  With their territories marked and ownership established the Coyote family lives a somewhat undisturbed life.  The now mature adults from previous litters are establishing their new territories or arguing for ownership from the current owners.  This time of the year is full of Coyotes, mature pups expanding their territories and looking to strengthen their viability.  The new males are going crazy trying to figure out what this mating thing is all about and at the same time hunting enough food to sustain life and limb.  From now through the next few months Coyotes will be more active then during the early summer months, especially the males.

 

Stay tuned – There is more to come on the Coyote Cam!

“Its a Great Life”

Injured Coyote given aid by Arizona golfer?  What’s wrong with this picture? EVERYTHING!  It is good to render aid to sick and injured animals but there must be a point where the professionals are called.  The Coyote pictured does not appear to be injured.  In the above story nothing is said by those on the site of the Coyote encounter about calling the authorities for help.  The Coyote in the video is obviously not afraid of humans.  The golfers attempt to give the Coyote a drink of water.  But wait folks, this encounter with the Coyote takes place on a golf course!  SO – how much water is used on a golf course?  A lot, a whole lot of water is required to keep golf courses lush and green!  How many golf courses contain water hazards? Most every golf course I have been fortunate enough to play has had a water hazard.  Granted, many courses in the southwestern United States only have water hazards when it rains.  None-the-less, golf course water sprinklers provide moisture to birds / animals living on a golf course with far more water then those located in urban or rural lands!  Yes, that includes those golf courses using re-cycled sewage water as well.  What is the significance of a close encounter with a Coyote by two golfers at mid-day?

It is not just a close encounter with a Coyote on a golf course, it is the multiple reports of close encounters with Coyotes at all times of the day through out the United States!  From Auburn Hills Michigan to San Francisco California Coyotes are growing bolder by the day!  Coyotes do not typically approach humans, they are by nature shy and reserved only coming out to hunt for food or water.  That is until Coyotes encounter charitable, well meaning but badly misguided humans such as the hiker in San Francisco. This author has read and examined interactions between humans and wild life in excess of twenty plus years. In almost every case human intervention with wildlife ends badly!  In many cases wildlife suffers more often then humans during and following interventions.  Many cases of humans finding “lost” fawns or bear cubs end with the young animal having to be placed in captivity or at the very worst and as in many cases, euthanized.  Regardless, imagine the plight of the mother having lost its child.  Wildlife mothers find very quickly that loosing infants is a part of their environment- that is the way of nature.  Feeding an animal is worse on so many levels – processed food is not part of any animals diet.  Leaving food out is akin to entrapment.  The animal soon becomes accustomed to having its food provided and looses its desire to fend.  Why work if the food is there every day and its free?

Coyotes learned a long time ago to be stealthy in order to survive other predators. Coyotes used to fear humans and stayed out of sight using stealth to its advantage.  Now the Coyote no longer relies on stealth around humans. The Coyote’s survival instincts have been altered, they no longer have to fear humans – they have become emboldened by humans providing food! Automobiles are just another stampede to circumvent. Coyotes have learned to cross busy roads to obtain the free food left out by humans.  Is it a great life or what?

Stay tuned – there is more to come on the Coyote Cam

Damned if you do, Damned if you don’t!

The number of family run American farm and ranch numbers are dwindling being replaced in large part by corporate commercial operations. Every year sees another farmer or rancher taking a second job to augment their agriculture careers.  In addition, financially they are being forced to sell off land as it becomes more valuable as a sub-development rather then for growing crops or raising livestock.  Other factors to consider are the stigma of not only trying to protect ones animals against predators but the harvesting of agriculture animals.  More and more animal protection groups only see suffering animals in rural America, no comments about the need for production of protein products!  Meanwhile, consumers only complain when their grocery store / market prices increase.

Through out American history farmers and ranchers have tried several methods to eliminate predation

  bear-trap

Most “leg traps” were used by trappers in order to preserve as much of the animal pelt as was possible. Farmers and ranchers knew that the leg traps could be used very effectively against large predators as well and additionally, the pelt provided another source of revenue.  However, the leg traps could and did trap livestock.  It wasn’t until later that poisons were used though there were as many negative side effects as there were positive ones!

Livestock Protection Collar
Predator Control Device

First came the neck strap packet of poison. Most predators attack their victims by clamping their jaws on the victim’s neck.  The action of clamping down on the neck strap released a poison into the attacker’s mouths.  Unfortunately, the animal wearing the neck strap most always died or was severely injured!  Loosing livestock is not a good thing so another delivery system that did not kill or maim the livestock was needed.

  M44 diagram

The ground delivery system as its name implies is buried in the ground with the top “bait” portion exposed.  The “bait” is treated with a predator attractant.  The system is powered to thrust the bait and poison  into the animal’s mouth and throat when it is clamped down on and tugged.  No livestock are harmed and the predator is eliminated.  However, the unintended consequences of poisons is that it doesn’t stop with the intended recipient.  Most of the poisons used were supposed to be fast acting but many factors did not make it so.  The varmints would devour their meal then wonder off and die.  The poisoned predator would eventually be consumed by (vultures) other carnivores who in turn were poisoned by the tainted predator, the poison kept on working through multiple exposures!

Several media comments and or “Letters to the Editor” espouse support for hunting but then oppose trapping or the use of “mechanical calling techniques.” The “conflicted hunters” then make a scary statement about the “carnage” resulting from Coyote Hunting Contests often including pictures of multiple dead coyotes. The one thing the contest opponents fail to mention is that the system far out weighs what had gone on before. Ever watch a poisoned animal die?  A shooter can and does discriminate targets making the coyote the only animal that is eliminated!  As long as his livestock are not shot few ranchers / farmers are too concerned about the sudden decline in the number of four legged predators.

Stay tuned there is more to come on the Coyote Cam.

Its them or me-

The hierarchy of nature dictates that prevailing weather will control the environment which then dictates the level of animal habitation. Early Europeans settling in the US found hearty soil capable of growing more crops with not near the exertion required in their home lands.  Growing seasons were longer and in most cases more moderate.  Clear out a few trees and mend the rocky soil and abundant crops would result!  The cattle ranchers did not need to bend their back to the soil but instead required open prairies with a plentiful water supply.  While these two life styles would seem dissimilar in fact animals were needed on the farm – milk cows, chickens and heavier animals for plowing.  Humans have noted that domesticated animals thrive when they are grazed rather then being fed.  Healthy livestock fare better in transportation then animals simply fed  Yes, livestock are fattened up in feed lots but grazing makes for more durable animals! Where ever you find livestock you will find predators ready to stalk them, it is nature.  The sad part of nature is that when humans interfere nature suffers.  Interference is not part of nature yet humans continually try to alter the outcome nature has set in motion.

Predators are born with a sense of smell far more advanced then others. Don’t forget that dogs and cats are predators too.  Ever notice how they can sense food left out on a counter?  Back to the wilds – bears, large cats and canines can smell other animals in distress.  In as much as bears, large cats and wolfs are pretty well hunted out that leaves the Coyote.  Livestock placentas are extremely motivating as a predator food source.  Earlier on in this blog’s history a rancher was interviewed in relation to a Coyote Hunting Contest and she related the following story in support of the contests.  The rancher knew one of her cows was in the final stage of delivering.  As most cows do they try to find a spot away from the others to give birth. The rancher found the cow and watched a calf being born. From out of the bush a Coyote appeared and went after the half born calf. The birthing cow could not do anything in defense as the calf was not fully delivered.  The rancher said she didn’t have a gun but did her best to scare the Coyote off.  Unfortunately, the Coyote had a firm hold on the unborn calf and during the struggle between the cow, the Coyote and the rancher- the unborn calf was fatally injured.  The struggle proved to be too much for the cow as well, she died from shock and loss of blood a bit later.  The rancher lost not just the calf but the cow as well.  This is not an isolated story either, all domesticated animals are subject to the same fate.  Coyotes do not kill for sport but to satisfy hunger and they are aggressive during that activity.

This brings us back to the opening comments.

coyote-hunting-tactics
Coyote Hunting Contests

Look up Coyote Hunting Contests and there will be a few internet sites advocating the sport yet many, many more suggesting the Contests are nothing more then legalized mass animal killings.  Passing through the western and southwestern part of the United States the visitor will find an agrarian environment, long and empty miles of nothing but cattle or sheep.  Often you can travel for several hours and never see another vehicle.  Yet, just like others east of the Mississippi ranchers and farmers dread losing the extra help directly and indirectly provided by the state.  Just like the loss of family produce farms will eventually impact everyone’s kitchen so too will the loss of livestock.  It is time to take a realistic look at animal predation before it is too late.

Stay tuned, there is more to come on the Coyote Cam!

On the other hand, Coyote Hunting

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. 

early-coyote-hunting
Early Coyote Hunting

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.

helicoyotehunting
Helicopter Coyote Shooter

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. 

coyote-call-results
Coyote Caller and Results

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.

 

Fade to invisible?

It is said that when Native Americans first began to hunt they were less then successful. The lowly Coyote took pity upon them and taught them how to blend into the landscape, walk silently, and become successful hunters.  The nick name early Native Americans gave the Coyote was “Shape Shifter.”   While modern day Native Americans are mostly found on reservations, the Shape Shifter can be found almost every where.  Even more astounding is the Coyote’s ability to survive when all of its known predators do not.  How then does the Shape Shifter not only survive but thrive in today’s societies?

Last edition of the Coyote Cam recounted, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, the need for Federal Coyote Pooper Scoopers in order to determine the Coyote’s feces content. The fecal analysis to determine what exactly the urban Coyote was consuming.  Several former editions of this Coyote Cam maintain that the urban Shape Shifter consumes berries, seeds, mice, rabbits, squirrels, along with the occasional pet (cat or dog).  If one looks about his or her home there is little else an animal could eat!  Professional animal observers have pointed out on numerous occasions Coyote’s love of trash cans and communal dumpsters.  Multiple media reports of human and Coyote encounters also reflect the Coyote’s diminishing fear of humans!  Folks – this is where it starts to get a little scary.  If they no longer fear humans it wont be long until they are jumping six foot fences into our backyards.  That is exactly what happened in Colorado this summer.  The following link repeats a news cast wherein a dog owner stood helplessly by while her young pup was being snatched.

Woman Watches In Horror As Bold Coyote Snatches Her Puppy

Can we ever get rid of the Coyote problem? Probably not.  What we can do is to make our home and immediate area inhospitable to the Coyote!  If you feed your pet outside once it has finished its meal remove the food bowl and any tidbits left around that area. While cleaning up after a pet feeding take a moment and look around. Do you have a bird feeder in your yard?  Check for seed on the ground.  Mice will come for that ground seed and they in turn, draw Coyotes.  How about those fruit trees?  Any peaches or apples on the ground?  Learn to think ahead of the Coyote – they seek an abundant food source.  While Coyotes will eat fruit and seeds in the absence of meat, squirrels and mice rely on those same fruits and seeds.  Hence, Coyotes being the fast learners they are- hang around fruit and seed piles to harvest a squirrel or luckless mouse.  Eliminate the Coyote’s food sources!

Next, never let your dog outside alone to do its “business.” Yes some pets do not function well on a leash so it may be time to retrain your Spot (hopefully your Tabby is not pooping in your neighbor’s flower bed) to accept this embarrassing encroachment on their privacy.  A trend to use poop bags for dog walks is gaining popularity, Coyotes have the best poop analyzer in the world – their nose.  Start using those poop bags!  Those poop bags keep the walking paths not only sanitary but diminish the Coyote’s ability of finding your home.  Tidy poop removal will cause the remaining stuff to dissipate more rapidly!

Finally – learn to haze! All you college graduates know what hazing is.  Making the underclassmen feel like morons, right? To a certain degree the same thing applies to Coyotes only in their case we want to frighten them.  The biggest problem we have today is that the casual walk with the family dog is not casual anymore.  However, being prepared to scare the Coyote will aid in making them feel unwelcome!  Hazing a Coyote is not hard!  First, make sure Spot is safely attached to you if possible.  Throw up your hands and make yourself bigger – start yelling “Go Away.”  Be Loud!  If you are at home and can get to the water hose spray the Coyote, they do not like being wet.  Most all county extension offices have Coyote specialist – call them and find out what they recommend.  If you don’t have a Coyote problem now it is only a matter of time before you do.  Be prepared for that eventuality because it may already be there, the Shape Shifter is watching you.

Stay tuned – there is more to come on the Coyote Cam. Thanks for reading!

A dead battery?

The National Parks Service (NPS) “collars” Coyotes. As well, a lot of animals are collared by multiple entities and the collar tags given numbers to differentiate the data obtained from that collared animal. Interesting stuff, really! Take for instance P-22 or as some of you may know him, the Big Cat of Hollywood.

http://proof.nationalgeographic.com/2013/11/14/a-cougar-ready-for-his-closeup/

The data from that collar provided insight on the comings and goings of an urban, male Mountain Lion. Best known for its photograph with the famous Hollywood sign in the back ground P-22 gained a lot of notoriety when it apparently consumed a Los Angeles Zoo Koala Bear for dinner.

To a lesser degree C- 144, an alpha-female Coyote and C-145, a male Coyote are being tracked through out Western Los Angeles.

https://www.nps.gov/samo/blogs/Location-Location-Location.htm

The alpha-female Coyote’s tracking data has raised some eye brows as she crosses the infamous Los Angeles Freeways seemingly at will. Based on the data and follow-up field assessments it appears urban animals have evolved or at least learned to survive just about anything humans can throw at them.   C-145 enjoys the leisurely life style of most young males, feeding and mating whenever the occasion arises. For what ever reason even though both Coyotes were tagged about the same time they never seem to cross paths. On a side note here: It should be pointed out that a lot of states and their larger communities are working to provide all wild life a safe means to cross freeway systems such as tunnels and walk-ways. Nonetheless, it would seem the animals in this review are not doing a bad job of finding their own way, Thank You Very Much! Ah but now comes the sad part of this story- the battery went dead. C-144 had just returned from one of her long jaunts, another eye-popping event as most alpha-female Coyotes seldom if ever leave their home turf. After only a day or so after her out of territory walk C-144 went blank. She was seen with the collar but obviously the collar was malfunctioning and is most probably attributed to a dead battery. Here is the problem, once tagged Coyotes are not often recaptured to be retagged. So now the previous C-144 is more a dead weight on the female Coyote’s torso. Will we see more of this female Coyote? Probably. She seems to have lasted a lot longer then her counterparts. Several more Coyote stories are coming in these days from Columbus Georgia up to New York and even further north to New Brunswick Canada. New Brunswick media reflected on last winter’s Coyote eliminations by a local fur trapper. He related that the local deer populations were down but Coyote numbers seemed greater then in years past. The trapper suggested that the Coyote numbers would fall as they rely on deer for a major part of their diets. Followers of this blog will recognize the relationship between Coyotes and food sources. Unfortunately, the urban animals don’t just rely on a single food source. Specifically, urban Coyotes have come to understand we humans discard sufficient food sources as well as shelter. Unlike the New Brunswick Fur Trapper above, readers understand that just like C-144 even though we can’t track her, from time to time we will see her.

Stay tuned, there is more to come from the Coyote Cam

Where does the material come from?

Some of you have asked about the source of my material. It all began several Christmas seasons ago with the gift of a Trail Camera.01160012

One other attribute to this story is the location of our home. My wife and I live just north of the community of Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Our backyard abuts Bureau of Land Management acreage.  Three hundred yards to the east of the BLM property is a Bosque (Spanish for woodlands) that provides riprap for both sides of The Rio Grande River.  On the opposite side of the Rio Grande lies the Sandia Pueblo, a Native American Reservation.  I speak about our home location because for several years all manners of wildlife both feathered and fur bearing lived and hunted the Bosque.  Our sub-development was not as populated, or as noisy nor were there many other developments nearby in those days.  I had seen porcupines, raccoons and coyotes roaming about during that time but never close to the homes, that trend soon reversed itself.  A drought sat in and for the next two years the river started drying up.  Almost immediately, some of those Bosque critters were coming to neighborhood backyard bird feeders and water fountains to augment their diminishing food sources.  That was three years ago, that was the same year Santa Clause delivered my first trail camera.

The summer before the camera went up there was a terrible commotion in our garage one particularly hot night.  I had left the garage door opened just a few inches hoping for some cooler air.  Apparently, a raccoon had snuck in then helped himself to a stash of bird seed.  That varmint created such a mess it took two days to clean up and set things in order.  By now there was a regular game trail going on behind the back fence and emboldened rascals of the four legged persuasion, walking down the street in front of our house.  It was time to decide, coexist or find a way to rid our selves of the pests now frequenting our home.  We enjoy nature but it was getting a little too friendly.  The internet has a lot to offer on just about every subject, some references are good and others pretty bad.  This was also about the time that a few communities with in New Mexico were taking up Coyote Hunting Contests.  I retired January 1st, 2011 from the Regulation and Licensing Division and went to work almost immediately for the New Mexico Legislature as a Financial Analyst.  That job entailed determining what potential legislation would cost the tax payers.  One of the bills I reviewed was the concept of licensing Coyote Hunting Contests, more on that in another story.  Hard facts were in front of me and with my new desire to rid our home of pests, the future was set- almost.

The internet offered that efforts to exterminate Coyotes were futile at best, better to make the Coyote uncomfortable near your home.  The internet also carried stories about ongoing Coyote studies which could be verified, I emailed a couple of those leads.   I found there were a few columnists  who were very happy to share their references in addition to those I was gathering, the life of the Coyote was beginning to reveal itself.  The Coyote is not a complicated animal, it thrives were other animals have perished.  The Coyote is only a nuisance when it kills livestock or attacks the family pet and scares the bejebus out of inattentive home owners.   However, the story of the Coyote seems to be almost all negative hence the desire some have to eliminate it from their surroundings.

Now that I have a better grasp on the Coyote’s prescience it doesn’t seem as malevolent, it passes my yard by though I sometimes get his picture with my trail camera.  During cold nights his family will be photographed as they make their way to the old Bosque hunting grounds.

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A family at work

Two years ago there may have been a Coyote in the backyard, I found a big blood spot on the grass.  And too, one of the rabbits that fed on the grass went missing.  That is what nature is all about and every once in a while it will happen in your backyard.  I installed wire mesh on all the entry points rabbits use to access the grassy areas and made sure all of the birdfeeders are positioned over open, sandy soil which discourages small rodents.  I have learned to keep bird seed inside the garage in locked containers with all external doors closed tightly.  There has been no evidence of critters in the yard since!         I paid attention to the assimilation of Coyote material I was gathering and it seems to have paid off.

Have a great summer every one!!!  Stay tuned, there is more to come on the Coyote Cam!