So how do we get rid of Coyotes?

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.

https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2018/06/04/dogs-coyotes-metro-detroit-attacks/655705002/

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.

(https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/common-conditions/parvo-in-dogs/),

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;

  1. 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?
  2. “Carry a big stick” and not just because President Theodore Roosevelt said so.  A walking stick or golf club will work
  3. Carry a sound device such as a gym whistle or even a soda can with rocks.
  4. 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!
  5. Use secure lids for garbage cans or trash receptacles.  Eliminate food smells!
  6. 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.
  7. Watch fall out from bird feeders – seed on the ground will draw mice / rats which in turn will draw cats.
  8. In the neighborhood check out any medians with shrubs or sunken areas – all make great dens for Coyotes.
  9. Make sure you have your local legal authorities on speed dial, see a problem call it in!
  10. 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

 

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Coyotes and captivity

The life of a Coyote, depending on where they are born and live will determine their length of survival.  Currently, various data reflect that extended life expectancy in captivity is 18 plus years while those Coyotes living in the wilds may only survive about 8 perhaps 10 years with any luck.  Captivity provides clean water and above average food sources which reduces stress for most animals.  Health is not a matter of luck in captivity rather being monitored and treated as needs arise helps increase an animals longevity.  One need only look at the difference in environments to understand why captive animals live longer, less stress.  Notice I did not state complete loss of stress is obtained!  Being caged is its own form of stress, mental stress can be and is measured in a captive environment.  The one real thing that is missing for captive predators is adequate exercise, not only physically but mentally as well.  It is the author’s contention that for predators, proper exercise (of both mind and body) is in the chase.  Don’t forget that lying in hiding / wait is a form of exercise, being able to accelerate from a prone or sitting position is part and parcel to a predators need for exercise.  A predator’s acquisition (chase) of breeding mates, food and shelter requires a lot of land!  There are few if any listed zoo enclosures large enough to provide the proper exercise for any animal let alone predators!  Yes, Coyotes born in captivity live longer then their wild kin but is that a life for a predator or is it just a day to day existence?

Through out these United States many states have extremely limited hunting seasons and just about every community prohibits discharging firearms with in their territorial limits.  One community in Tennessee (according to the Greenfield Sun) has an ordinance in place that allows its citizens to shoot nuisance animals for agricultural purposes.  Yep – that includes Coyotes.  As a matter of fact, Tennessee does not restrict hunting Coyotes for all intents and purposes.  To this author’s knowledge there are only a few states wherein unregulated hunting / trapping Coyotes is permitted year round.

It is said that nature seeks to fill a vacuum hence animals (Coyotes in particular) will have increased birth rates when food and shelter are readily available.  In conjunction with that line of reasoning Coyotes are very plentiful these days in that there are so few large predators!  A hundred years ago it wasn’t humans that hunted the Coyote, there were wolves, large cats and bears killing Coyotes.  Yet no records are provided by experts that Coyote numbers increased when the larger predators killed off the Coyotes.  Many experts report that Coyotes can adjust to external environmental (hunting) pressures and increase their birth capabilities as needed. Activist say that killing Coyotes is not the solution, it is just killing another defenseless animal for no reason.  As was pointed out in the opening sentence, nature abhors a vacuum.  This author sides with the experts that as Coyotes are killed off more breeding occurs with larger litter numbers.  Typically, Coyotes have litters of 5 to 6 pups at a time when “nature is in balance.”  Coyotes are fairly monogamous in times of a stable environment or periods when the land and food supports the existing population.   However, during altered environments female Coyotes have been known to take new mates and breed more then once per season.

Sadly, in the past and with out any regulations some animals have been hunted into near extinction!  Hunting animals into extinction is not good as it serves no purpose!  Expanding a but here – this author firmly believes that well regulated hunting and or trapping of Coyotes will eventually lessen their numbers!

The side benefit to harvesting a few animals in a timely manner is that unlike attempts to restore Wolves, the Coyote’s genetic diversity will sustain good bloodlines well into the foreseeable future.  Unfettered by confinement of a cage, the Coyote will continue to do what they do really well, survive.  In the wild today there are no large predators threatening the Coyote but that environment is slowly dwindling, building a cage man never imagined. The Coyote has no problem thriving in a urban area because we humans make it easy fro them. It is up to each of us to decide whether or not we want the Coyote to be a new next door neighbor.

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

Watching the setting Sun

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 ?

Coyote Garbage Can
Scrumptious bites and a beer

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

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

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!

Lets feed the wildlife – or not!

Stop feeding the Wildlife! Sound familiar?

As an interested party in all things Coyote I use an aggregation program to scan the internet looking for articles about this predator. A recent article comes from the Chicago Tribune entitled, Slowik: Stop feeding coyotes, authorities tell Southland residents by Ted Slowik dated Jan. 16th, 2018.  The article and many other before it reiterate the advice to well meaning but highly misguided folks to stop feeding the wildlife.  In part, the practice of feeding wildlife encourages interaction between wildlife and humans.  This blog has reflected on many instances wherein people have knowingly and unknowingly fed wildlife.  Several humans in the course of feeding Coyotes have sustained serious bites and the animal later destroyed.

Let us examine the activity of feeding animals in general, no it doesn’t include Bigfoot.Bigfoot Warning Most of us have hand fed our pets.  Right?  Did you know there is a right way to feed treats?  Never offer anything to a pet using your extended fingers!  Place the treat into the palm of your hand and place your open palm under the pet’s muzzle.  Why?  The pet will use its tongue to pull the treat out of your open palm.  Otherwise, using your fingers to feed treats will encourage your pet to use its teeth to pull the treat to its mouth.  Now, a lot of folks tend to be skittish and will pull back when confronted with pet teeth – this causes the pet to aggressively pursue the treat.  Bitten fingers usually result from this method of treat feeding!  Meanwhile, your pet wonders why you are growling at it while holding your bleeding fingers in your now clenched fist!  Not a good thing!

Only a fool would hand feed treats to a wild animal. Nonetheless, there are fools that firmly intend to see that the wild life doesn’t starve to death!

game-trails

The “Good Samaritan” leaves pet food by game trails or just throws some morsels over their back fence.  Lets not forget that canines especially those that hunt for a living have a sense of smell many times more powerful then humans.  Additionally, humans leave their scent on everything they touch.  A Coyote will associate the human scent with food and using that exemplary sense of smell literally find its next home – yours.  First and worse of all is that it imprints on the animal that humans are not to be avoided, humans provide food.  Next, the human provided food is always there – no hunting required.  Pet food is usually found in or near pet food bowls typically just a few steps from the human’s back door!  Oh – and along those game trails too.  The best buffet for a Coyote are the unsecured, loosely covered garbage cans.

Coyote Garbage Can

Several days of assorted foods found in garbage cans is great stuff for a hungry Coyote plus it is another easy hunt, no sweat.  So – humans equal easy food.  This action is dangerous to both animal and human!The Coyote isn’t the problem! The Coyote is doing what he/she does to get by in this world, they are hunting for food.

You may just attract the attention of something a tad bigger then a Coyote

Grizzly Warning

Don’t feed the Wildlife!

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.

M2E1L0-0R350B320
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

Halloween Horror?

Mange

Wait – What was that animal slinking about in the brush there?  Some kind of dog or was it a Coyote?  Ether must be in terrible pain! There was something really wrong, it had no fur.  Worse yet, its skin was flaky and horrible looking.  A distinct odor settled in as the unfortunate animal ran away, the sores on its body stinking beyond belief!  Could it be an undead creature looking for a life to replace the one it lost?  More and more animals are walking around suffering from mange, a common parasite infestation found mostly on canines.  Only in this case the parasite problem is out of control!  Most canines are born with some parasites.  Puppies are at higher risk of infection though mange during their first year because of an under developed immune system.  However, mange can and does occur later in life in a canine’s life.  There are two types of mange, Sarcoptic and Demodectic.  The first – a result from an out of control parasite while the second form occurs due to changes in the animal’s health.  Most often older canines develop mange but the skin deterioration is also due to hormone imbalances and or cancers.  Either form of manage is a reason to keep your animals on a leash.  Mange can be found in the soil so while a leash can help prevent your animal from coming into contact with a diseased animal it may not totally prevent your pet from walking through contaminated environments.  Oh!  Yes – humans can contract mange if in contact with either a sick animal or exposure to parasite infested areas.  Still sleeping with your pup? 

The cure for manage- keep your pets clean with regular brushing.  Pets may resist but wash them on a regular basis.  Be sure to check every inch of their bodies particularly the folds of skin around ears, shoulders and flanks.  Be sure your pets remain healthy, vets can help spot problems early and treat them as needed.  Should a need arise for topical ointments your vet can guide you in selection and application.  On a parallel thought – As we age we sometimes forget our pets are aging as well, aging pets can’t tell you they hurt.  Older pets are susceptible to manage as much or more so once again it is important to pay attention to their health and any loss of fur.

Old Dog 

Our regular coverage of Coyote attacks:  The Denver area has seen a rise in Coyote attacks against small animals, even over six-foot fences.  One resident lost her Miniature Doberman Pincer, the tall six-foot fence didn’t slow the Coyote down at all.  Meanwhile, another owner watched as her seventeen-year old cat was snatched right off a front porch.  It can never be stressed enough our pets are viable food sources for wild animals.  The sad part is that pets really don’t know the difference between friend and foe until it is too late.  Dogs have been seen playing with Coyotes or at least what was assumed to be play.  In the case of the older cat it may have considered the skulking Coyote just another neighborhood dog roaming through the front yard.  Pet owners need to provide their pets as much oversight as is possible.  In order of importance; Pet feeding bowls cleaned and kept inside at night, all bird seed removed, potential animal dens destroyed and last but not least, keep pets on a leash!  Walk your pets early to mid-day, Coyotes like to feed during evening hours but never assume there isn’t a Coyote nearby!   

 That’s it for October Coyote Fans!  Stay Tuned, there is more to come on the Coyote Cam 

Pack or Family Hunting Unit?

Do Not Feed_edited-1

It appears someone in Arlington Heights, Ill thinks they need to support their local wildlife – WRONG!  Neighbors are up in arms as one of their own is suspected of feeding “home cooked meals” then leaving said  meal under a nearby tree for the local Coyotes.  What is wrong with these folks? It is not just this Blog warning about the problems with desensitizing Coyotes but many state ordinances do prohibit the feeding of wildlife for that very reason.  The ideal situation is to haze or make the Coyote’s life miserable hoping that it will seek other locations for their feeding and den sites.  Maybe some law abiding citizen in that neighborhood has their home security cameras trained on the tree drop off.  Lets help stop well intended BUT totally misguided folks from doing the wrong thing – Do Not Feed The Wild Life!

Unfortunately, in Northern New Jersey (Saddle River) a woman was out walking her dog one evening this month when confronted by a “pack” of Coyotes.  The article does not describe how many Coyotes were in the pack but suffice it to say the word “pack” suggests there were more then two.  Here in the southwest Coyotes do not normally hunt in packs but rather family groups (four to five) specifically during this time of the Coyote’s life cycle.  Coyote parents are teaching their pups/youngsters to hunt thus their numbers might suggest a pack.  The article does not mention what type of Coyote comprised the “pack.” Another intriguing problem on the east coast is that the standard Coyote there is a good deal heavier then the standard Coyote found here in the southwest.  Add to that larger size an even larger Coyote easterners refer to as a “Coywolf” (65% Coyote, 25% Wolf and 10% Dog) and now the animal becomes very intimidating!  Thus, these two factors, the size and number of animals confronted would cause anyone to be alarmed let alone an older woman walking her small dog at twilight.

Coywolf PNG

– Coywolf –

Just to remind everyone reading this issue – be prepared when you go out for a walk with or without your pet. Even if you don’t require a cane to walk get into the habit of carrying a big stick for those daily/evening walks!  Most animals met on the street (with the exception of the two-legged variety) are frightened by something larger then they are – waive your “big stick” and arms in the air, yell “go away.”  Keep yelling and waiving your arms pretty soon the animal will retreat or run off plus you stand a fair chance of attracting other humans to your predicament.  Anything that makes a lot of noise is good thing too, some one mentioned canned-air horns!  A coach’s whistle will work and may be a tad less expensive in the long run.  Believe it or not a soda can filled with rocks makes a great rattle noise and has been used to scare off Coyotes.

That brings this week’s edition of the Coyote Cam to a close. Be sure to look for the upcoming edition of the Coyote Cam when we look into recent sightings of “Zombie Dogs.”  Yes, ghosts and hobgoblins are not scheduled until later during Halloween but apparently these apparitions are making an early appearance!

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

What was that brown blur?

Summer is on its way out though there is a bit more warm weather remaining. The calendar says we are midway through August yet September looks to be a carbon copy of these past few day’s temperatures.  Fortunately, this area has began receiving moisture as “Monsoon” type rain which uplifts the dry hot desert making it more livable for humans. The amazing New Mexico pale orange / purple / rust colored sunsets are growing shorter and the cooler evenings more enjoyable making an evening libation shared with friends taste all the better.  The high desert flora; mesquite, cactus, and ocotillo are past their maximum  bloom but still manage to draw honey bees and hummingbirds looking for nature’s sweet offerings.  The Coyotes, less timid now, make frequent trips past my back gate in their daily quest for food.  On this day one pauses to see if any bothersome humans are nearby.  Accustomed to these regular forays I cast a quick glance to the gate and catch the Coyote checking on us.  He is on his way before I can call out his presence to the group, slinking off through the underbrush beyond the little hill and down into the arroyo.  The lone Coyote is gone, nothing but a surreal image blending into the rays of the setting sun.  However, not before my trail camera has captured his photograph.  telephoto-cropped

Reports of Coyote encounters continue from coast to coast and border to border, sightings occurring round the clock. Some reports even contain cell phone photographs of the offending Coyote. Many of the reports from journalist are only looking to help fill space while others do their research and offer their readers legitimate insight into the life of a Coyote. What is missing are the reported sightings from ranchers and farmers – why don’t they have the same level of Coyote nuisance as their urban counterparts?  Ranchers and farmers don’t complain about these problems, they fix the problem and I don’t mean neutering either!  Urban dwellers typically don’t have the flexibility their rural cousins can exert toward Coyote resolution.  Most media guidance suggest residents follow the normal routines for varmint control, keep a clean yard in and around the home.  When confronted by a Coyote attempt to scare them off says many of the reports being submitted by the national and local media.  The reports that provide sound guidance are usually the ones that include an interview with a local government wildlife agency, the experts know how to prevent varmint encounters and resultant interactions.  What continues to happen and which will defeat all attempts toward peaceful varmint eradication are those well meaning but misguided individuals that feed the wildlife.  Coyote sightings / encounters will continue thanks in large part to those who drop a handful of dog food on trails while hiking or encourage Coyotes to drink from their golf course water cups.  Encouraging wild life to accept close proximity to humans is detrimental to all concerned be it Coyotes or Grizzly Bears!

An interesting side note here – In today’s email there appeared a notice from the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish detailing their upcoming public meeting to be held in Albuquerque.  The first item on the agenda is “Wildlife Complaints.”  Coyotes are not the only urban problem!  More and more feral hogs are ripping through farms and home owner lawns lying adjacent to the Rio Grande River. Depending on the reader’s locality determines which species (or all) of wildlife is wreaking havoc with the reader’s environment.  Every one is a stakeholder in this endeavor!  Each and every one has a responsibility to pay attention to their surroundings.

In a similar parallel – two footed predators prey on those whose headphones prevent the wearer from hearing the approaching attack. Folks just walking down the street while watching a video have been killed as they blindly walk into traffic.  Lack of attention is not an excuse! Where is this going you might ask? Walking out the front door look around the yard or street.  What do you see?  Same old stuff that has been lying around for awhile?  Was that hamburger bag laying on the street chewed up this morning?  New folks showing up in the neighborhood?  If the flower bed has been torn up what caused it? What was that critter darting around the corner just now?  Know your surroundings, get to know your neighbors and finally –  pick up anything that might represent food to paws, claws and talons.  Take off the headphones, put the cell-phone in your pocket and enjoy your surroundings.  You might just catch a glimpse of a Coyote!

I appreciate your stopping by to read about Coyotes and other things. Have a great week and remember –

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