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.


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“Its a Great Life”

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

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

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

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

Today and always

This weekend started out like most Saturday’s do, turn on the coffee maker and retrieve the paper from our front drive.  Only this morning was a bit different. While opening the paper and looking down the hill I spotted a Coyote.  Spotting a Coyote around here is not uncommon but to see one not skulking along the fence line or amongst the tall weeds is different.  There is a game trail just off our back fence where the Coyote Cam sets specifically to photograph the coyotes (other critters as well).  Now to be honest, there have not been many Coyote (let alone other animals) being photographed in the last few months.

Coyotes were only found in the southwest early on in our country’s history.  Today, Coyotes are found from coast to coast and as far north as Alaska and as far south as Honduras in Central America.  Their territories have expanded because of the animal’s ability to thrive in adverse conditions!  No other predator has expanded its territory like the Coyote.  Their dens have been found under stadium parking lots, they have been photographed crossing busy intersections and walking across frozen bays. coyote crossing frozen bay

How does the Coyote survive in these conditions? Why was a Coyote spotted out in the open just down the hill from my home?

Human acceptance of the Coyote in our environment has made the Coyote unafraid of us. As our country expanded from the colonies to where it is today, we have built up to and into previous rural and undeveloped lands.  The desire to go from point a to point b requires that we build four (maybe six) lane highways to get us ever more quickly to our destinations.  Wild life is being forced into an ever decreasing areas with limited food sources.  Wild life has found that humans are not necessarily good neighbors and all but the Coyote continues to flee in the face of the onslaught.  Back when the Coyote was found only in the southwest it was not the alpha predator.  Wolves were the primary canines.  For clarity here it should be noted that Wolves are strictly carnivores whereas Coyotes vary their diets relying on small animals for their protein substituting berries and seeds at other times.  Wolves prayed on Coyotes when ever large game were not readily available.  Mountain Lions hunted the Coyote and bears would kill the unwary Coyote whenever the opportunity arose.  The Coyote soon acquired stealth as part of their survival techniques.  These days and with the large predator’s numbers greatly reduced the Coyote has no enemies and less reason to remain unseen.  Humans supply food and shelter and the Coyotes take advantage of the freebies!  Is life good or what?

Drawing to a close this issue will again repeat the mantra of a Coyote free neighborhood.

  1. If you feed your pets outside make sure to clean up. No food bowls left outside! Food debris is picked up and placed in garbage containers.
  2. Garbage containers are securely latched!
  3. Bird feeders are checked daily removing any seed from the ground. Fallen seed draws mice, rats and squirrels which in turn is the magic buffet Coyotes enjoy!
  4. Check the wood pile to ensure there aren’t rodents or Coyotes living inside.
  5. Get rid of any structure that might provide a Coyote den.
  6. Check the neighborhood and eliminate any draw a Coyote would find useable! That median in the middle of the street can house Coyotes given ample foliage like trees and shrubs.

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

As the summer gets hot

Vacation went a lot longer then expected, glad to be home! We will get back on track this month hopefully.  However, a review of the past two months Coyote news seems relatively quiet.  A few articles from random community news outlets continue to report chance encounters on the urban front and thankfully, none reported attacks on humans.  On the other hand, pets continue to be victims of Coyotes.  It would appear small pets are more likely to be attacked then their larger cousins.

On the rural side of the fence recent Coyote studies are producing some pretty astounding data. Common knowledge of Coyotes suggest they roam frequently and widely but one study revealed a Coyote had traveled 80 plus miles possibly in search of new territory.  The following link talks about the Coyote whose nickname is the “Interstate Traveler.”  The article includes all the “Dos” and Don’ts” found in this and past issues of the Coyote Cam.  The well written article also reinforces the fact that Coyotes originated in the southwest of the United States and what we see today are the progeny of those original predators.  I highly encourage all to a take a look at that article.

Recent construction projects directly next door and in the streets has apparently scared away many of the nightly denizens, haven’t seen a trace of Coyote in several weeks.  The Rio Grande River is at its highest 10 year levels so vegetation is growing nicely holding small game and water fowl to that immediate vicinity. Rabbits are no longer as plentiful around the neighborhood as they used to be so that Coyote draw is no longer active.  Water, food and shelter are at the top of the Coyote’s list which may be the reason they are staying closer to the river instead of nearby neighborhoods.  However, one never knows when the Coyote is going to be active as was demonstrated this past weekend.  A local realtor likes to put on neighborhood yard sales this time each year so my wife and I decided it would be a good time to see our neighbors.  As we walked past an arroyo/street crossing we knew something had darted behind us but didn’t stop to investigate.  An oncoming family pointed to a large bush we had just passed and said they had seen a Coyote run out of the bush just as we passed it.  That was interesting in that a Coyote would be this close with all the commotion of the construction and elevated amount of traffic due to the yard sales going on.  One never knows!

Well here we are folks more then half way through 2017, still a lot of hot weather ahead of us across the country. Sadly the wild fires are eating up the countryside and along with the loss of animals is the destruction of homes.  Take some time to look at your surroundings to know which way to escape should fire come your way.

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

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Coyotes are every where

It seems that rural folks have predators while urban residents have nuisances.

Hmm – OK!  During this past May several stories detailing Coyote and human interactions from Rhode Island to Orange County California continue to reinforce that the Coyote is here to stay.  Interestingly, Colorado has started testing a new method to control the interaction between Denver residents and their nuisances.  Basically, the plan is to eliminate Coyotes exhibiting bold or overly aggressive characteristics thus “weeding out” that part of the Coyote gene pool. Those Coyotes that run when confronted are allowed to escape into the background. The article posted in the Denver Post has drawn some negative feedback from residents who question the validity of the methodology’s supporting detail.  If you have a moment read the Denver article and leave your feedback here.  Comments will be discussed during the July Coyote Cam postings.

The Coyote Cam camera was placed on our driveway this past month. Two Coyotes were there but only one was visible, the other appeared to be a ghost. Seems the rabbit population was decreased shortly thereafter as a carcass / remains was found up the street during my morning walk.   Coyotes – one, rabbits – 0.  Unfortunately, the camera was blowing around in the late evening wind and the picture was not real sharp.

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Speaking of which it seems there will be less scenery available in the very near future. A local contractor intends to build a home on the vacant lot east of us. The loss of scenery will be hard to accept but then new neighbors should help to fill in some blank spots along the street.  Not sure the construction noise will be accepted by the Coyotes though.  However, the Coyotes wont be gone for long if history is any indication.

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

Policies on Coyotes?

Readers should know that the majority of material for this blog is gathered from various media then offered up for discussion. This author makes every attempt to cite sources as well in some cases, embed the original document in the blog. Carrying on with this year’s focus on rural Coyotes it seems there are fewer instances of interaction with humans involved in agriculture being reported. No, it is not that there are fewer occurrences. Remember that the agriculture industry looses livestock to predators almost on a daily basis. Therefore, the industry has to allocate resources to either eliminate or diminish those losses to a negligible level. Agricultural loss control mechanisms do not rise to the level of neighborhood pets being taken by predators. Instead, those in the agriculture industry consider the Coyote just another daily chore to be dealt with and entered as an expense item in their financial planning.  The media is not interested in those mundane agricultural chores but does rely on the old adage – “if it bleeds it leads.”

A recent “Idaho State Journal” news article describes a young man loosing his dog and suffering an injury due to cyanide gas exposure from an M44 predator control mechanism. Only the local television station in Idaho Falls carried the story in conjunction with the “Journal.” No other regional or national news media made mention of the story as of the date of this posting. It seems that if any regional or national coverage of predator control comes about is when a certain segment of society deems it so.  What does this say about the news media?

After a few months of watching the evening news this viewer notes that the major networks offer news of the day ending with a warm / feel good story. Intriguing how some ninety percent of network evening news is followed by ten percent or less of feel good stories. An Emu being chased by several good Samaritans or a young bear swimming in some one’s back yard pool – Not that those articles aren’t interesting but who determines what feel good story is to be offered?  Several teams must spend some time in selecting the subjects but what are their guidelines to providing a positive end to their daily presentations?  There are policies which provide guidance to these folks that put together the daily news in its entirety but who wrote the original policies?  Are those policies ever reviewed to ensure they are in conformity with today’s wants or needs?

Coyotes in agriculture or Coyotes in the neighborhood? One thing for sure the Coyote is not wanted in either environment.  How does either of those stories end?  For the Coyote the story will always be stealth and adaptation to elude its stalkers.  For the humans living in the rural countryside the Coyote’s fate is sealed.  For the Coyotes in the city / urban / suburban neighborhoods their fate is determined by how aggressive they become.  What does this say then?  Depending on city ordinances Coyotes are better off living in town then on the farm!  Will the Coyote be the lead story on the evening news or will it be that feel good ending to your day?

 

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

A Tragic Loss

Some of you may have heard about an incident in Idaho wherein a 14 year old boy was injured and the family pet killed by an M44 or Cyanide Bomb in March of this year.  As is reflected in the Coyote Cam many predator control methodologies have been in place since the early 1930s here in the United States.  However, some of those predator control mechanisms have one problem, they are indiscriminate.  Many iterations of the M44 have evolved but the basic mechanism is still in use.  The M44 currently used by the Wildlife Service utilizes spring launched sodium cyanide with an orange marker while other users in the US contain yellow markers.  The Australian government has requested the device for use there though they asked for sodium fluoroacetate poison.  That request did not identify a specific marker for the Australian devices.  Regardless of which device or where it is in use it is supposed to be obviously signed in order to prevent human exposure!

In the above case of the teenager and his dog, the investigation conducted by the local sheriff and reported on by local media does not reflect warning signage was in use. The orange marked powder dusted both the teen and dog which suggests the device was a Wild Life Service authorized deterrent.  The M44 tripping or trigger assembly is designed to prevent exposure to non-canines, it must be bitten and tugged / pulled upward to activate the spring launched contents.  The M44 is designed to project the cyanide powder upward into the mouth of the predator where upon the moisture inside the recipient’s mouth causes the formation of cyanide gas.  The article describing the pet loss suggests the Labrador ingested cyanide gas but implications were that the dust was wind born.  However and somewhat in contradiction to above published M44 guidelines, the area adjacent to the M44 may have been coated with the cyanide dust which required decontamination as happened to the victims and first responders.  Every thing that was used to respond to the incident had to be decontaminated though no one has told the family how to deal with the teen’s clothes.  On another point, the teenager told reporters that his Labrador was “frothing from his muzzle while issuing guttural sounds.” His dog went into seizures then lay still said the youngster.  Not quite what the M44 published guideline’s describes as a quick, painless death.  The state of Idaho and certain other states have discontinued the use of M44s for predator control as of this posting.

The M44 is an efficient though not necessarily inexpensive solution to the larger problem of livestock predation. Used properly the M44 has a good record doing the job it was designed for.  National Geographic states, “In recent disclosure forms Wildlife Services reported that out of 76,963 coyotes killed in 2016 for livestock protection, 12,511 were felled with M-44s. Another 30,000 were gunned down by sharpshooters from fixed-wing planes and helicopters, and 15,000 more died in choking neck snares.” How important is predation to just the cattle industry?  If only half of the recorded number of coyotes killed (76963 / 2 = 38,481) killed one weaned calf costing $1,035.00 (2015 prices) each the cost to the cattle industry alone would be $39,828,352.00.  No matter which industry is considered $39.8 Million is a staggering loss!  Some states have legislated against “Coyote Hunting Contests” but when compared to the costs of allowing hunters to terminate predators as opposed to using mechanical devices.  The hunters appear to have a lower overall cost per coyote exterminated and  . . less likely to indiscriminately kill a family pet.

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

* http://idahostatejournal.com/news/local/pocatello-boy-watches-family-dog-die-after-cyanide-bomb-explodes/article_d0003a2f-6b7f-5d31-b427-68db03d3b93a.html

**https://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/wildlife_damage/content/printable_version/fs_m44_device.pdf

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

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

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

  bear-trap

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

Livestock Protection Collar
Predator Control Device

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

  M44 diagram

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

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

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

Its them or me-

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

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

This brings us back to the opening comments.

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Coyote Hunting Contests

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

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

On the other hand, Coyote Hunting

For some time this blog has been dedicated to urban interaction with Coyotes.  A few readers asked why not look at the Coyote from the other side?  The urban Coyote has a comfortable life compared to the suburbs or worse yet, rural lands.  For the remainder of this year (2017) we will shift our focus to Coyote survival in rural areas.  The farmer’s and rancher’s lively hood is at stake every day with weather as the primary detriment and livestock predation a close second.  The USDA-National Agricultural Statistics Service is referenced for this and other articles. Sheep and lamb mortality can be as high as 80 percent in some cases almost entirely due to Coyote predation.  Cattle are much larger and hence their size poses a problem for Coyotes but not one that can’t be over come.  The young and sick have always been targets for predators and cattle are no exception.  Cattle ranchers constantly struggle with predation and calving operations are extremely vulnerable to the coyote when mom and dad coyote are teaching their pups!  When the average size livestock loss is running over $50,000 per year something has to be done.  Fare warning here, the following material may not be suitable for all readers.

 

 When Buffalo roamed the American prairies the Wolf, for many years, reigned supreme as the canine alpha predator!  The lowly Coyote learned to survive using stealth and cunning to evade the Wolf as well other predators.  Alas, as the human migration pushed ever westward the Wolf was hunted to the verge of extinction.  Trappers and commercial hunters severely reduced wild life populations (think buffalo) but it was the settlers who had the most detrimental impact on the alpha predator population!  Farmers and ranchers saw the Wolf, Mountain Lion and Bear as the primary reason for livestock losses!  As a result the Coyote’s primary nemesis was eliminated and the Coyote’s hunting territory expanded as well as his reproductive activity.  Interestingly, many studies have shown that Coyotes live about six to eight years in the wild.  Conversely, in captivity Coyotes can live twelve plus years.  Other studies found that during the least stressful periods wild Coyote pups survival averages around one or two pups out of six.  Amazingly, when external pressures exist (hunting or higher level predators) pup survival can be 100 percent.  In the case of elevated pressures suggestions are that with the removal of the adult Coyotes the pups have more on which to survive.

 

 

Coyote hunting contests have been around for years although on a smaller scale following the demise of the Coyote’s predators. 

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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.