Nature pits the Coyote against humans and the Coyote are winning. However, a story coming out of San Francisco California suggests a different perspective on that relationship. This is an interesting comment about the Coyote’s ability to thrive in an urban environment based on the local newspaper’s other entertainment value. Coyotes have learned over the years that survival depends on its ability to blend into its surroundings. In the above story the newspaper carrier simply wants to end having to re-deliver papers. His solution only serves to reinforce to a Coyote, humans are not to be feared! As this blog has pointed out lo these many month, Coyotes do very well in municipal settings Thank You very much! But why do Coyotes do as well as they do when everyone hates them? The secret is that not every one hates the Coyote (nuisance animals in general). The National Park Service reports on a regular basis that even with signs reading, DO NOT FEED THE WILDLIFE – their Rangers still find piles of pet food left along trails. People have been cited for illegally feeding wild animals yet the practice continues. Now, we have a paper carrier encouraging a Coyote to retrieve and play with substitute newspapers. These misguided but well meaning folks do not understand that feeding / playing with the wildlife diminishes the fear of humans. Not only will the wildlife lose their fear of humans they will forgo their natural hunting instincts to dine at the local neighborhood garbage can or backyard pet food bowl.
There are a lot of stories these days about Coyotes stalking family pets and carrying those pets off while the owner’s watch in horror.
Yes, some pets do survive the initial attack only to suffer until death takes their pain away. Pets that do live through their injuries are fortunate though often traumatized to the point of not being able to do their business without looking over their shoulders! Here is the point that falls through many of the “attack stories,” wild life offers other ways to kill then just aggressive attacks.
K9 Parvo, Distemper and Rabies are all carried by wild life not just Coyotes.
However, this blog’s focus is on Coyotes living among us so it is important to understand that these days one is just as likely to encounter a Coyote as any other wild life. Remember it isn’t just the physical presence of a Coyote transferring diseases during an assault it is also shedding and their fecal matter we must be concerned with. All animals primarily experience their world through sounds, smell and taste. As we walk through the neighborhood we pick up all sorts of unseen debris on our shoes and clothes. Just our walk through the neighborhood can infect our pets. The pets use their sense of smell and taste to see their world during those walks. Who hasn’t walked into their homes only to have the family pet come wagging their tails and beg for a pet on their head? We bring all kinds of infectious diseases into our homes without ever realizing it. Keeping the pet food bowls picked up and the garbage can lids secure are only the first lines of defense against Coyotes. It is important to know what has passed this way and what we step in!
So what do we do to avoid Coyotes in our neighborhoods? If you haven’t encountered a Coyote you soon will. Between now and that first time take the following preparations;
Make sure your pets are on a leash. Some folks believe their dogs are just too big to be taken by a Coyote. Maybe – but do you really want to take the chance?
“Carry a big stick” and not just because President Theodore Roosevelt said so. A walking stick or golf club will work
Carry a sound device such as a gym whistle or even a soda can with rocks.
Clean up around your home – put away empty pet food bowls. Water bowls catch debris or left over food particles from your pets food bowl!
Use secure lids for garbage cans or trash receptacles. Eliminate food smells!
Around the house be sure wood piles do not provide dens for Coyotes. Storing a wheel barrow upside down? Be sure nothing can get under it.
Watch fall out from bird feeders – seed on the ground will draw mice / rats which in turn will draw cats.
In the neighborhood check out any medians with shrubs or sunken areas – all make great dens for Coyotes.
Make sure you have your local legal authorities on speed dial, see a problem call it in!
Make sure your local municipal / city / county aggressively pursues animal control policies and procedures! If they don’t get involved!
Stay tuned, there is more to come on the Coyote Cam
It had to happen sooner or later but come on – “Selfies” with wild animals? Cheryl Santa Maria writing for the Digital Recorder reports that residents of Montreal have been posting Instagram selfies with Coyotes. Essentially, the article reflects an increased number of Coyote sightings from last June to this April in Montreal. Now the average person is going to ask, “why would an wild animal that avoids people get close enough for a selfie?” Even Instagram has admonished their users against attempting selfies with wild animals, it never turns out well! Habituation is a word that keeps appearing in ongoing instances of human interaction with wildlife. The action of humans attempting to “help wild life” by feeding them is not a good practice and is discouraged by any and all wildlife scientist! However, PETA has a different view on the subject – This author disagrees with PETA on that stance! When wild animals start getting comfortable being around humans the relationship will end badly for both the humans and the wildlife!
Feeding wildlife encourages even closer associations. Stop for a moment and think back about the times as a child you were offering the family pet a treat. What happens when you put out a treat to a pet and then quickly pull the treat back? Instinctively the pet will lunge forward and attempt to snag the treat before it gets away. Too often the snagged items are the fingers holding the treat, OUCH! Screaming at the top of their lungs children will run off crying to Mom that the dog/cat just bit them. The family pet will run away but wild animals often interpret the wailing and fleeing as a sign of distress and intensify their attack. Change the picture here just a bit, the Coyote is hunting and a human walks by with a small dog/cat on leash. OK maybe the small dog has just seen a Coyote . . .
We have one perspective, the Coyote another. The Coyote sees a small dog/cat trying to get away from the human. Must be food and the human can’t catch it, why the cord/rope? The Coyote goes into attack mode chasing after the small animal. The human yanks the pet up into their arms much like the child pulling the treat back. The Coyote attack intensifies, the pet begins crying and squirming meanwhile the human attempts to fight back. Being larger the human may have a slight advantage but depending on their hunger/aggressiveness, the Coyote has more of a reason to continue the attack. Not a pretty picture for either the Coyote or the human and pet! Go back a few days in time, this happened because the Coyote found a bit of human-provided food during its evening forage along this trail which was left behind by some well meaning human.
Oh Yeah, and for, those of you who think your dog is too big to be attacked. A seventy pound Labrador Retriever got off lucky because its owner stood his ground between his dog and a forty pound Coyote. A seventy pound Labrador versus a forty pound Coyote? An obvious mismatch but all too often the Coyote comes out a winner in those confrontations! This story comes out of Indiana which has seen increased instances of Coyotes or Coydogs which are typically much heavier then their western kin. Speaking of Coyotes along the eastern seaboard, more and more Coyote encounters are being recorded. The common thinking there is that more and more subdivisions are encroaching into the wilds hence more encounters with Coyotes and other wild animals. Encroachment into wild life may not be avoided as more and more humans decide that the city life is not for them. Unfortunately, most city dwellers have the wrong perspective of living with or among wild life! Now about those selfies – cell phone or digital camera?
Next edition find out why trapping, shooting and poisoning are not the only choices.
Stay Tuned – There is more to come on the Coyote Cam
I am sitting on the back porch enjoying the sitting sun relishing an adult libation and reflecting on life . . . . being retired has a lot of advantages and disadvantages. Family is relatively simple – my daughter and her husband are pursuing successful careers while the grand kids are grown and just starting their careers. On the down side, multiple doctor appointments as we enter our “Golden Years.” Let me caution you about these “Golden Years,” take really good care of your health and be mindful of your financial situations as you progress through adulthood! Now all of this has nothing to do with Coyotes – right?
Reflecting on one’s life has as much importance for Coyotes and maybe more so. The animal kingdom has been around a lot longer then humans, its a fact. Animals are born with out much hope of becoming young adults let alone seniors. The reason most animals die at an early age is bad health but more often as not is predation from other animals. Animals survive via a learning process which also includes lower life forms (and I am not talking about human thugs here). Most animals start life with two strikes against them. First, young animals have a high mortality rate and the rest of their lives does not get any better from there! The second strike against all animals is finding food and shelter. So is it easier to obtain food and shelter in the wilderness or from humans? Who has the most attractive shelters and the best tasting food ?
Humans! Does living among humans pose a problem- Yes and No. It may take a few generations of Coyotes to understand survival needs in the city but they adapt better then other wild life. Over the past issues of this blog multiple pictures of Coyotes have been published of them doing some amazing things. How about pictures of Coyotes walking across a frozen river taken by a US Coast Guard Cutter just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Ever seen a Coyote walk over the balcony roof of a bar? You can see it in the archives here. Really amazing are the photos of Coyotes waiting at a street intersection waiting for the lights to change so they can safely cross!
All of those “learned skills” are necessary to live in the city! Alright, you might say, so they can learn some stunts – how does that help them survive in the city? Those stunts are the tools needed to find food and shelter. Don’t forget they also have the ability to disappear. Wait a minute, Coyotes can’t just disappear. Actually what they have learned to do is to blend in with the background and remain extremely still even when within just inches of a predator / human. That knack for staying hidden is part of their stealth skills learned from millennia of being hunted by alpha predators. Stealth is a large part of how Coyotes can survive and do more then just thrive in threatening environments. Almost daily the media reports instances of owners walking their small dog down a common path bordered by low shrubs and bushes. All of a sudden a Coyote appears out of nowhere and attacks the small dog. No! The Coyote did not suddenly appear out of no where. The Coyote was crouched low in the vegetation bidding its time! Through its sense of smell and hearing the Coyote had learned that many domesticated, small animals (dogs) walked this path daily. Too, the Coyote is blazing fast when compared to other animals its size and weight. Adult Coyotes have been known to hit 35 miles per hour. Life skills come very quickly to Coyotes . . that or they do not survive. Its is good to sit safely on the back porch enjoying the sitting sun reflecting on life.
Stay tuned – there is more to come on the Coyote Cam
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
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!
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 but 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 and 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!
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
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.