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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Do you hunt?

The Coyote hunting season never ends in New Mexico, hunting these predators here doesn’t require a license either.  As a matter of fact a number of western states maintain open season on Coyotes and for good reason, these predators cause livestock losses.  Lose your livestock and you will not be in business as a farmer or rancher for very long.  A banker’s cold heart makes anti hunting protesters seem quite tame when those land payments come due. Meanwhile in town – these days it is interesting that just about every call a municipal animal control agency receives is in relation to a pet attacked by a Coyote.  The loss of a pet (family member-right?) is devastating enough but to see that pet lying in the back lawn torn apart . . .well it doesn’t get any worse then that!  The common problem here is the Coyote!  What to do?

The agricultural folks will protect their industry at gun point while the folks in town are restricted in their control processes. However, both are hounded by animal rights activists.  Generally speaking – folks on one side want the predator gone while the folks on the other side want the predator left alone.  So which side is right?  Both actually! Coyote diets rely on available food sources but as has been proven they can survive on any combination of food sources.  Outside of the city limits gophers and rabbits are reliable food sources meanwhile, the city offers up rats and mice.  Unfortunately, live stock augments the Coyote’s food sources while dogs and cats often end up as a city delicacy.  The Coyote always prefers the food source which is the easiest to gather, they are not hard workers.

Coyotes have always been here but in the past they were the hunted. Wolves were the alpha canines and along with the other top predators such as the cougar and bear, Coyote populations were under constant pressure.  Wolves hunt in packs where as the Coyote hunted alone unless raising their pups.  Cougars are a lot faster in short runs then is the Coyote and the big cats far more agile hence the Coyote was badly out classed physically.  What can you say about bears, their size is formidable! How can a 35 to 45 pound Coyote contend with a 200 pound plus black bear?  There were no advocates for the Coyote back in those days.  Times have changed for the good as far as the Coyote is concerned.  At least in town there are no guns and not many traps.  Plus, food and shelter are easy to find for the Coyote.  Let us see – if you were a Coyote were would you want to live?

The Coyote has been evolving – on this every one can agree! Coyote populations are being shot on ranches and farms while the only problem a Coyote runs into in town might be a trap.  Which population is going to continue to increase?  That is right – the city bred Coyote!  Those Coyotes living outside the city limits learn that their city cousins have a better life and soon decide that city life is a vast improvement over living on a farm or ranch.  More so, when some one decides it is time for a “Coyote Hunting Contest.” The contest does not segregate males or females, they are both fair game!  On the positive side a well run hunting contest depletes a specific population and provides revenue not commonly in place.  There are a number of positive things that happen during these events, more on that in another posting.  Perhaps the one big negative is the disposal of the carcasses.  Coyote meat is not a well accepted form of protein!  In a lot of cases and is done with other harvested waste and miscellaneous parts – scavengers are relied on to clean up.  Other instances of unwanted hunting by-products are put into biologically safe trenches / holes.  At least the latter does remove all indications of a hunting contest.

A stated in previous postings this author is a hunter and I see no problem with hunting contests. Varmints make for good target practice but burying materials not taken for consumption is a good practice.  Where do you stand?

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

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!

There is a season –

Hi - Im just passing throughFirst, a disclaimer is required here. This writer has always been an outdoor sportsman which includes hunting and fishing.  In conjunction with being an outdoor sportsman we all need to recognize that predators come in all sorts of packages; fin, fowl and animal (both the two legged and four legged varieties).  It is my belief that good stewardship includes land as well as wildlife!  A well maintained wildlife environment provides a shelter against encroaching humans and conversely, predators from wondering neighborhoods.

The end of 2017 saw an uptick in the number of Coyote attacks, a lot of those attacks were fatal to family pets. This blog has long talked about the number of Coyotes being encountered in usually non-wildlife areas (think neighborhoods here).  This blog has recounted the number of state, county and city agencies discouraging folks from feeding wild life yet a few people still see mangy Coyotes as hungry and in need of feeding.  Television and newspapers note with regularity the number of Coyote and human pet interactions in gruesome details.  One would think the Coyote is right up there with national enemy number 1.

Conversely, there are a number of groups through out the United States that advocate saving the Coyote.  Just this past Sunday in the Albuquerque Journal a column entitled Coyote-killing contest riles some might suggest that stopping cruel and insensitive Coyote killing contests ought to be the law as it is in some other states.  OK, lets not paint all citizens with one brush.  We are not all trying to save the Coyote – ask any pet owner who has witnessed their family (member) pet being killed by a Coyote.  The majority of those folks see a need to eradicate the neighborhood Coyotes.  Leave the city limits and there will be another person that has no need of the Coyote, those in the agricultural industry.  Farmers and ranchers not only loose family pets to Coyotes but they loose a part of their income to Coyote predation.  Cattle and sheep fare the worse loses due to Coyote attacks because currently, there are few other predators other wise – losses would be far greater! As any veterinarian can attest, Coyote attacks are often expensive to treat.  A sheep or cow being much larger becomes even more expensive to treat.

Why has the Coyote become so infamous – in one word, humans. An ever growing population of humans is forcing wildlife into smaller and smaller parcels of land.  Humans have paved roads into the lands once dominated only by wildlife.  These roads create a quasi type of wildlife fence, cross it at the wrong moment and death is instantaneous.  Those lands parceled by roads are also drained thereby eliminating sources of drinking water for wildlife as well the environment of water fowl.  Wetlands, once home to water fowl are fast becoming construction sites.  Say what you will, we humans are the ones encroaching on wildlife!  OK, the point of no return has not been reached . . . yet!  There are still areas where wild life abounds but that area is diminishing in size every day.  The last place a Coyote wants to be is out on a ranch or farm, their life spans are limited out there!  Much safer are the city neighborhoods where humans provide food that doesn’t have to be hunted and shelter that doesn’t require preparation or maintenance.  Go ahead and leave those pet food bowls outside, be sure the backyard fountains are running and by all means don’t bother covering those garbage cans.  Birdfeeders should be filled to over flowing so not only birds but squirrels come to visit.

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Your bird feeder is empty but you want have to worry about the cat

Thanks for your readership!

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!

A look back

The Coyote Cam started as a lark some few years back but only this year has it evolved into a concerted effort to study Coyotes and their habitats. The following is a simplistic overview of how Coyotes came to be in our neighborhoods. A few things about Coyotes are fact; Coyotes adapt, Coyotes thrive where other animals fail, and Coyotes will always be with us. It is hoped that the sharing of this material will provide some Coyote knowledge to all who follow this blog.  Coyotes are not going away, learning to coexist is a better alternative.

Long before civilization began to intrude on wild life Coyotes had a few predators- mainly wolves, mountain lions and some times, bobcats. Life was good for the Coyote as they would often feast on animals killed by the larger predators. Unfortunately, the Coyote became the next meal when those larger predators returned to reclaim their kills. The Coyotes soon understood that in order to survive they would need to expand their food sources to avoid being eaten themselves. Avoiding those larger predators the Coyote developed stealth or as some call it – shape sifting. Coyotes are stealthy but stealthy only goes so far when you are hungry. The Coyotes were not picky eaters then or now so the smaller game population of rabbits and squirrels provided an alternative to hazardous left over carcasses. Not only were the smaller game less attractive to the wolves, mountain lions and bobcats but the squirrels and rabbits often had larders of seeds and berries. The Coyotes learned that rabbits and squirrels equated to seeds and berries which could be another food source in difficult times.

About the time civilization (farmers & ranchers) showed up Coyotes found that their predators were disappearing. Any time ranchers and farmers lost livestock it wasn’t the lowly little Coyote’s fault, it was the larger predators killing the livestock. If a framer or rancher could shoot anything with four legs it was probably going to be the larger predators – wolves, mountain lions and bobcats.  To put it simply, the Coyote saw and learned that when man showed up it was hiding time.  The Coyote had a long history of being stealthy and it was probably that trait that saved the species for years to come.  As the Coyote’s predators were thinned out by man the Coyotes expanded into new territories and thrived. New and larger hunting areas, better den sites, larger families.  Life was good.

Life was good as long as agriculture was the core industry of the Coyote’s environment.  Alas, the world was evolving. Agriculture was giving way to manufacturing – the new industry! Some ranchers and farmers found that they could sell off some of their acreage to developers and acquire more land further away from cities.  As more and more land was being converted to home sites there was less and less agriculture, man was moving into the Coyote’s neighborhood.  Barely a hundred years has passed and man is living in what used to be the Coyotes backyard, a few generations later and man is now the Coyote’s next door neighbor.  Wait a minute here – man is at the hierarchy of life so why is it that man is considered the new entity on the Coyote’s block?  Current media reports that Coyotes are appearing in our neighborhoods so how is it that Man is considered “the new guy on the Coyote’s block?”  At first this new arrival was more deadly then the Coyote’s former predators.  Hunting territory was cut into fenced off lots, vegetation which provided concealment for the Coyote was cut down and replaced by roads. Vehicles that traveled the roads killed Coyotes (and their prey) in large numbers.  Coyotes are resilient, they remembered what it was like to be hunted. The Coyote retreated into the background but they did not go away!  Their numbers were fewer because both their hunting territories and available den sites were being reduced as humans built ever larger homes.

Ah – but the humans brought with them pets and backyard feeders. In addition to those pet and backyard feeders Coyotes found that many humans threw out uneaten foods – garbage? By golly these humans are good neighbors after all, they build city parks around their homes! The trees in the park grow old, the old trees have hollows and cavities good for dens.  Some previous Coyote hunting grounds were being converted into human entertainment, baseball parks, football stadiums and best of all – huge parking lots like the one at Solder Stadium in Chicago. The Coyote Cam reader will remember that Soldier Stadium is also home to a family of Coyotes.  Looks like the good times have returned if you are a Coyote.

Get out there and enjoy a walk this Spring!

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

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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!

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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.

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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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.

 

Walk through The Rio Grande Bosque

Just when you think you understand all that there is to know about Coyotes they will fool you (me!). A recent news article from suburban Detroit describes a home owner waking to the sound of braking glass.  Another person living there also responded to the braking glass and together they found a Coyote sprawled on the floor beneath a broken dinning room window.  They immediately called animal control officers who removed the Coyote from the couple’s home.  As the officers were walking away from the house the home owners returned to clean up the broken glass and over turned furniture.  Surprised, the home owners found yet another Coyote in a comatose state underneath the over turned furniture.  They yelled for the animal control officers to come back and retrieve the now staggering Coyote.  Now this being that time of the year when Coyotes are romantically engaged it would not be farfetched to imagine that one of the Coyotes was either running in fear or was being pursued.  We don’t know which was which since the sex of either Coyote was not divulged in the news article.  Nonetheless, the lead Coyote must not have seen the window but imagined it as a path of freedom and the following Coyote was hot on its heels.  Food or a potential mate is the driving force in the animal kingdom but through a glass window?  Hmm . . . .

The above article’s readers were discussing the elimination of these uninvited guests and trouble makers. A few folks apparently put their mouths in motion (pen to paper / hit the send button) before engaging their brains.  Conversely, the folks who read this blog know that the State of New Mexico as well as Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas (dang near every state in the union for that matter) prohibit discharging firearms inside city limits.  It seems our Canadian neighbors in Kirkland, Montréal have similar laws on discharging weapons in inside municipal boundaries.

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Sadly, the use of leg traps (steel jawed) is still permitted in some areas but again, pretty well discouraged by many state wild life agencies specifically near human habitations.  Think about Spot or Fluffy or worse yet, a young child being snared by a leg trap.

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Most state wild life agencies do permit the use of “padded” leg traps but even those have alarms that electronically alert that the trap has been tripped.  Having said this many times before –  Once you have seen a Coyote in your neighborhood it is probably too late to get rid of them.  The dens and hunting areas are well established by the time you see these fur covered menaces!

Some say Coyotes are the reason for missing pets and for that reason the Coyote should be exterminated. There are other reasons for deterring Coyotes such as rabies and mange.  Both of these illnesses can be transmitted to Spot or Fluffy by unhealthy Coyotes.  This past summer of 2016 saw several people in California bitten by a supposed rabid Coyote while a local Albuquerque Coyote recently recorded by a local TV station, was found to be suffering from a sever case of mange.  Sick animals are usually easy to spot and for that reason may serve as a warning sign there are problems coming soon to a yard near you.  Coyotes are increasingly less fearful of humans though when confronted they will skulk off and disappear.  The Coyotes are not gone they have moved beyond where humans habitually look for them and there they will hide until we leave that area.

This author use to hunt (in the early days with a gun though now with cameras) and the one thing that never escapes my thoughts is that the Coyote will let humans pass very closely before they react. The nearby Bosque (wooded area bordering the Rio Grande River) provides a great walk through nature.  The river draws migrating water fowl making their journeys south in the winter and returning north in the spring.  While the river is not fished it does have sufficient water flow that encourages wild life to seek water and shelter along its banks and wooded areas.  Coyotes are common to this area and are sometimes seen attempting to take a drowsy duck or inattentive goose that has drifted too close to the river’s edge.  Many times I have walked by a scrub oak bush or mesquite bramble only to scare a Coyote (and myself as well) into a rapid retreat.  If cornered the Coyote will defend itself, if there is an escape route the Coyote will depart at a high rate of speed!  It should be noted that local Coyotes remain less aggressive then being reported elsewhere.  Fortunately there haven’t been any reported cases of mange or rabies reported here.  Our Bosque appears to be healthy.

 

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

Something is a foot

Perspective is every thing! A new camera and a different angle of view makes a lot of difference when trying to photograph Coyotes.

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OH – and the bait as well.

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In the past this blog has stressed what not to do such as leaving bird feeders unattended, letting debris and litter stack up on the ground. It draws bait – er . . I mean rodents and small game such as the rabbit pictured above.  As it turns out there are also plants that have seed and seed pods left over from the past summer.  This author has discovered that these seed sources not only draw small four legged game but birds as well.  Unfortunately, the birds draw household cats (pets maybe).  The trail camera kept recording cats but those random pictures just did not seem appropriate for a blog about Coyotes.  Talk about the wrong perspective!  Several articles presented here reflect that cats, along with small dogs are often Coyote fodder. But that is a story for another edition.  Back to the pictured rabbit.  Seems the Coyote was hot on the scent of the rabbit!  Several pictures show the rabbit then a few minutes later, the Coyote shows up with his nose to the ground as seen in the above picture.  Yes, one photo is dated several days before giving the impression the Coyote was a bit early.  Let us just say that they did cross paths and there is now one less rabbit in the neighborhood.  Last evening several Coyotes were howling away down by the river.  Maybe, it was because there is a newcomer to the Coyotes, an owl.

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This bad boy (girl?) stood about two feet high and in flight, appeared to have a six foot wing span. The lighting was not what is pictured, it was actually late sunset / early evening. Very limited lighting at best.  For you photographers out there – Canon Rebel T3i, F 3.5, telephoto lens at 200mm and shutter speed around 125.  Post processing to clean up noise and finally, cropped to the subject.  OK – it was not the trail camera but who said wildlife was going to be on the trail camera only?  The Coyote Cam is attempting an improved photography mode in the coming months.  The advanced mode should drastically improve quality.

How was your Thanksgiving?

I hope it was a good one!

Stay tuned – there is more to come from the Coyote Cam.