I’m heading back home from a fruitless mission to find sign of sage grouse near leks (strutting grounds) along the Owyhee Front near Murphy, Idaho. We didn’t find any sign at all and fear that they are blinking out in this once productive stronghold.
We did find these dead coyotes though. There were actually 5 of them that had been killed and left to rot by the side of the road. What purpose does this serve?
Incredible. It’s hard to believe a coyote this size.
Hunter Shoots Unusually Large Coyote in Northwest Missouri. Kansas City InfoZine. By James Low.
Update 12/20/10 Here are the high resolution photos from the Missouri Department of Conservation Press Release:
I’ve had this blog on the blogroll for over a month. It’s still small, but the webmaster has the talent to put it simply with interesting video. You might want to check it out.
Dr. Jon Way who often comments on this forum is the lead author of a paper about to appear entitled, “Genetic Characterization Of Eastern “Coyotes” In Eastern
Massachusetts.” He has allowed me to post a draft of this paper.
These relatively large canids are hybrids of western coyotes colonizing the area and eastern timber wolves, canis lycaon. None of animals’ DNA showed a mixture of coyote and domestic dog. So the term “coydog,” which is in common use, is not appropriate.
Here is the draft of the paper. coywolves-jonway
The wolf was not the gray wolf, however, it was the Eastern wolf — canis lycaon-
Dr. Jon Way has been telling us this for some time. I see he has changed his suburban coyote page to the “coywolf page.”
Broken link now fixed. Coywolves’ a product of evolution. By Lawrence Pyne. Burlington Free Press.
This is clearly something the President could do quickly to rehabilitate his tarnished image on wildlife. Ironically, it was President Richard Nixon who in 1972 issued Executive Order 11643 banning the use of poisons to control predators on Federal land. Reagan later weakened this. In addition, there is plenty of poison available. Much of it is left over from the 1970s.
While in the Senate, now Interior Secretary Salazar was one of those who opposed efforts to ban the use of compound 1080, an extremely poisonous, colorless, tasteless, odorless, substance that creates an agonizing death, and which would be an ideal poison for use by terrorists to put in a municipal water supply.
Meanwhile, as far as aerial gunning goes, USFA’s Wildlife Services killed off a famous Idaho wolf pack this week (more on this later). They used one or more of their aerial gunships.
Update 11-28.2009. A lot of newspapers picked up the AP story by John Miller on the petition.
WildEarth Guardians Seeks End of Aerial Gunning & Poisoning of Wildlife on Public Lands
Denver, CO. The U.S. Department of Agriculture should stop sending its agents up in aircraft to shoot coyotes and planting lethal cyanide booby traps on the nation’s forests and other federal lands, according to a formal request filed today by WildEarth Guardians with the Obama administration.
“Federal wildlife-killing programs are unsafe, illegal, and reckless,” said Wendy Keefover-Ring, Director of Carnivore Protection for WildEarth Guardians. “We call upon the Obama administration to protect our native carnivores on the Nation’s public lands.” Read the rest of this entry »
The “predator derby” held annually by Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife is not well known outside of its participants. I don’t know about it until someone brought it up in comments. One web site, however, really took note of it.
A story at iamidaho.deviantart.com about Sportsmen for Fish and Wildife’s carnivore-killing contest apparently went viral. As a result SFW has taken down their photos of dead carnivores killed in a “predator derby” and Nikon has withdrawn their apparent sponsorship of SFW’s webpage. However, the photos are still up at http://iamidaho.deviantart.com/
See more at http://iamidaho.deviantart.com/journal/28470288/#comments.
The event to see who can kill the most “predators” is still planned for the Pocatello area on Nov. 27th – 28th. For more information on the event and others in Idaho, go to http://www.sfwidaho.org/SFW/Idaho_Predator_Derby.html.
We had no idea this effort to widen knowledge of the event was going on. It certainly shows the power of the web to make folks aware.
I’ve got to wonder if there weren’t really coywolves. On the other hand, there have been sporadic (non-fatal) attacks by coyotes on people in Yellowstone Park where it is just the original western coyote and occasional fatalities in other places.
Singer killed by two coyotes. The Star.
Wylie Coywolf: The coyote-wolf hybrid has made its way to the Northeast. By Carina Storrs. Scientific American.
This is hardly new news on this blog, but important for newcomers.
It does show that where there is a major ecological niche, it will be filled. Canids evolve rapidly and are the epitome of a generalist predator.
As for myself, I’m happy when a coyote wanders through the neighborhood. It (or they) clean out the feral domestic cats.
Controlling wily coyotes? Still no easy answers. By Mark Stark. Associated Press.
Call for end to USDA’s wildlife killing agency
The Associated Press
After reading about the coyote killing contest this Saturday, Feb. 21st, in Challis, sponsored by the Bent Rod Sports, I guess I’ll not be doing any more business there. If you are willing, the groups that put out the press release below, encourage you to call Bent Rod Sports (208.879.2500) and register your protest over the coyote “tournament” described below. Perhaps suggest that a PHOTO CONTEST featuring the best LIVE photo of wildlife taken around Challis, would be a better idea.
*Update: Feb. 23, 2009 on Challis Rod and Gun Coyote “Tournament”:
Before dawn on Saturday, Feb. 21, an observer noted a small number of vehicles in front of Bent Rod Sports in Challis. Eventually about 13 men walked out and headed somewhere to find some coyotes to shoot. The number of coyotes killed is not known. The store isn’t saying, and the local newspaper says it won’t run a story, despite all the protest calls to the Bent Rod and the Challis Chamber of Commerce. There might have been more than 13 hunters, but the event became so secretive, no farther information is known. The location of the evening viewing of the dead coyotes and prize giving was not disclosed by the Bent Rod. There was no opportunity for observers to photograph the hunters and their coyotes.
*Update: Idaho wildlife advocates protest coyote hunt
Coyote killing jumps in Wyoming: Infusion of WY state funding leads to record killing by federal agents. By Chris Merrill. Casper Star Tribune.
Are Wolves The Pronghorn’s Best Friend? Wolves benefit pronghorn by keeping coyotes in check. Coyotes are a very serious predator of pronghorn fawn, whereas wolves pretty much ignore them.
ScienceDaily. Mar. 3, 2008 — As western states debate removing the gray wolf from protection under the Endangered Species Act, a new study by the Wildlife Conservation Society cautions that doing so may result in an unintended decline in another species: the pronghorn, a uniquely North American animal that resembles an African antelope. Rest of story.
A “scrawny” coyote bit two people at Old Faithful within 15 minutes. It was later shot. Story: Coyote killed in park after biting 2. by The Billings Gazette Staff.
How come wolves seem to be the only predatory large animal that don’t bite anyone?
– – – – – –
Update: I was surprised to find a very similar incident reported Dec. 31 at Death Valley National Park in the Park Services daily “morning report.” Ralph Maughan
THE MORNING REPORT
Study links wolves, coyotes of Bay State. By Stan Freeman. The Republican
Dr. John Way (who frequently comments on this blog said) “The results seem to show that, on average, roughly 10 to 15 percent of the genetic makeup of our Eastern coyotes is Eastern wolf. . . . However, some of the individuals studied were almost pure Eastern wolf.”
To best understand what Dr. Way found, go to his web page”
There have been scary stories about the “goatsucker” for some time.
It turns out it is a hairless coyote, but the story doesn’t answer if it was a mutation, deformity, sick, or if there are more than one.
Strange beast found near Cuero, Texas is a coyote. Roger Croteau. San Antonio Express-News
Dr. Jon Way, who often posts here, has his book out, Suburban Howls, and there is a good interview with him on the radio. “The Point: Coyotes.“
Wolves have been demonstrated to reduce coyote density in Grand Teton National Park and in the southern Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. This from a study recently released by the Wildlife Conservation Society and reported by Science Daily.
Coyote densities were 33 percent lower in wolf-abundant sites in the Tetons. Similarly, coyote densities declined 39 percent in Yellowstone National Park after wolves were recently reintroduced there.
Dr. Jon Way, who has often offered his expertise on this blog, now has his book, Suburban Howls: Tracking the Eastern Coyote in Urban Massachusetts, published.
You can order it from the usual on-line sources or a signed copy with special color inserts at his website: Eastern Coyote Research.
It is estimated that 20,000 coyotes live in Pennsylvania today. A hundred years ago there were none.
Story in the Pocano Record.
The headline above was written at Headwater News for a link to a story in the Arizona Republic’s, “Brazen coyote attacks alarming pet owners, even in Biltmore area.” John Faherty.
It’s amazing how a change in a headline affects the impression the casual reader obtains. I think Headwater News picked up the tone of the story better than whoever wrote the Republic’s headline.
Finally a little thought about coyotes and livestock. . . killing coyotes to protect livestock can have just opposite effect. Here Brodie Farquhar writes another on the Casper Star Tribunes explosion of articles on predator control.
Calling a truce. By Brodie Farquhar. Casper Star Tribune.
It seems Wyoming’s predator-fearing livestock politicians don’t realize that coyotes mostly eat rodents, and there is currently a rabbit explosion in Wyoming.
Wow this talk about coyotes and livestock, coming out of Wyoming just doesn’t stop. “Battling the wily coyote.” By Jeff Gearino. Southwest Wyoming Bureau Casper Star Tribune.
The article is written from the viewpoint of “predator management supervisor” Rod Merrell.
In the article Merrell keeps saying the coyotes are incredibly smart. That’s because we have spent 120 years making them that way with high human mortality driving natural selection for the smartest coyotes at avoiding getting killed by humans.
Whitney Royster has an another article today too. Coyote control success demands precision. Casper Star Tribune.
How important are sheep in Wyoming compared to the money generated by the energy industry there? Ten times less? A hundred times less? Maybe a thousand?
Update . . . more. Lethal predator control [the many ways to kill these “bad animals”]. Casper Star Tribune.
In this article Jeff Gearino explains how the increasing funding will allow local predator boards to expand killing to more species — skunks, starlings, and ravens. Somehow these species are menacing soda ash production in Wyoming and are a threat to the Jackson Hole airport.
There are already killing a lot of coyotes from the air. Judging from this practice and buildup.
I can just see how they might be able to wipe out most of the wolves and grizzly bears even if they get just a short window by a judge.
Local predator boards get boost. By Jeff Geario. Casper Star Tribune
Reporter Jeff Gearino and others have written a series of articles in the last few days about the $6-million the Wyoming legislature just put into state-funded predator control. That is a sudden infusion of big money, and I wonder what it’s really about? This is money on top of that appropriated by Congress for the predator control federal agency, Wildlife Services. I haven’t seen any reports on a large buildup of coyotes, even though that’s what most of the talk in the article is about.
Somehow I’m suspicious that the big dollar increase has something to do with the just delisted grizzly bear, and maybe, the soon to be delisted wolf.
Here is the first article “Kill or be Killed,” which begins with two foreign workers riding their “magnificent steeds, trailed by their equally magnificent Great Pyrenees sheepdogs” as they get instructions from their padrone to go out and kill a whole bunch of coyotes.
Carnivore-Livestock Conflicts: Effects of Subsidized Predator Control and Economic Correlates on the Sheep Industry. Conservation Biology.
State calls off coyote hunt. By Matt Christensen. Times-News writer.
The South Hills are not in South Central Idaho like the article says. They are in extreme southern Idaho.
Shooting coyotes by paid employees from aircraft to reduce their numbers is not properly called “a hunt”
Too many dogs are lost to the M44 Cyanide devices the federal agency Wildlife Services puts out to kill coyotes, and too often they are non-target species. A Utah man is bound to teach them a lesson, and they really need to learn because the dog’s owner suffered some symptoms of cyanide poisoning too.
Story from Wild Again (Sinapu’s blog).
I missed this important story earlier.
I wouldn’t say this is proven yet, but the hypothesis is based on the observed fact that wolves actively kill coyotes and reduce their numbers. It is also observed fact that wolves rarely bother with pronghorn fawns, but coyotes prey heavily on them.
Story in the Jackson Hole Planet. Wolf density aids pronghorn fawn survival. By Melanie Stein
Billings Gazette reporter Mike Stark has finally done the needed spade work to come up with the story of how mange was spread into the canid population of the area, including now one wolf pack in Yellowstone.
Mange threatening wolves. By Mike Stark. Billings Gazette.
This story is from USA Today. It’s a bit humorous in a way, despite the obvious danger. This most persecuted canid has truly conquered North America.
Coyotes at Chicago’s O’Hare cause delays. By Judy Keen.
One person quoted in the article says the coyotes are venturing closer and closer to cities. That’s wrong. They live in the cities and have for years now.
The coyote is probably the most successful predatory animal in North America. Contests like this have little effect on the coyote population, which over the last hundred years spread from the western United States to all of North America because of the elimination of the wolf and human induced ecological changes that increase coyote habitat. The capacity of coyotes to increase their numbers in face of substantial killing also promotes natural selection in favor of a more adaptable and durable coyote population.
The question about contests like this is ethics, and I think the controversy is basically a conflict between rural values in an area of human population decline and those of the larger society.
Coyote killing contest prompt howls from foes. Town offers cash prizes in calling competition. By Matthew Brown. Billings Gazette. AP
New, posted on 1/12, article by Todd Wilkinson. Controversial Contest Brings Coyotes Again Under The Gun. New West.
Biologist John Way suggested this article–“On the hunt for the elusive Adirondack wolf.”
It seems that the belief that wolves have, or are about to reinhabit the Adirondacks is not new, nor is debate over what the eastern coyote really is.
“In an effort to help increase the deer population and also protect grazing sheep in Utah, the state provides money to eight Utah counties to pay bounties for killing coyotes.”
Read the story in in Tooele Transcript Bulletin. Tooele is pronounced (TA will a).
Offering bounties on coyotes is a long discredited program, nevertheless it continues for political purposes.
It does not decrease the number of coyotes except in rare instances. Instead the coyote population increases unless 40 to 50% of the population is killed a year. Bounties and the many other efforts to kill coyotes are one of the reasons coyotes have spread from the West to the entire North American continent.
Replacement of existing coyotes with new coyotes, tends to increase predation on sheep if sheep predation was at a background level to begin with. The way to reduce sheep predation is to kill the coyote pairs or packs that kill the sheep, not a general assault on coyotes.
Coyotes are not primary predators on big game (except in harsh winters). Coyotes do reduce rodent populations and fox populations.
Even you don’t mind lots of “killin,” this is not cost/effective.
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“During the early years of game management, many states relied on massive killing efforts (bounties) to
reduce predator numbers (e.g., wolves, coyotes, foxes) which were competing with man for game animals (e.g., white-tailed deer). Bounties are not used by most wildlife agencies nor are they supported by WS for predator control because:
• Bounties are not effective in reducing damage.
• Circumstances surrounding take of animals is largely unregulated.
• No process exists to prohibit taking animals from outside the damage management area for
• Bounty hunters may mistake dogs and foxes as coyotes.
Coyote bounties have a long history (>100 years in the U.S.) of use in many states without ever achieving the intended result of reducing damage and population levels (Parker 1995).
The overwhelming disadvantage of coyote bounties is the misdirection of funds meant to, but not effectively and economically able to, reduce coyote damage to livestock.”
This was taken from http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ws/nepa/WVcoyoteFONSI.pdf
If this was a wolf, it would be the first true wolf seen in Vermont in over a hundred years. There are wolves to the north in Quebec, but they are not immediately adjacent to Vermont.
It is well known that the “eastern” coyote, which is usually much larger than the “western” coyote, is often a mixture of grey wolf (not dog) and coyote genes. These wolf/coyote hybrids seem well adapted to the New England countryside.
Story in the Boston Globe.
New. Oct. 9. Story with photo of the canid in the Burlington Free Press.