Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Why The Eastern Coyote Merits Separate Species Status

how the eastern coyote or coywolf differs from the western coyoteThe eastern Coyote or coywolf is larger and has a thicker body, shorter muzzle, and shorter ears than the western coyote.

Jonathan Way, a research scientist at Clark University in Massachusetts, makes a case for renaming the eastern coyote that populates the northeastern U.S. He sees it as a separate species of canid.

Way argues that the so-called eastern coyote looks unlike the western variety, exhibiting characteristics of coyotes, wolves, and dogs. There is a current debate among scientists as to what to call this creature.

Hunting Secrets Revealed!

fox and moon2.blingeeFor any huntsman, staff member, or field member, wouldn’t it be helpful to know the specific time intervals on any given day when the fox or coyote is most likely to be afoot? And when it is most likely to be lying up? These times vary each day according not only to the phases of the moon, but are influenced also by how closely the moon rise and moon set correspond to the times of the sunrise and sunset in your particular hunting country.

Wouldn’t it be helpful also to know which specific days of the month you will experience average, good, or best conditions and the recommended time intervals for hunting on those days? There is a fascinating resource on the web that many sportsmen and women—hunters and anglers—use to advantage.

Epp Wilson, MFH and huntsman of the Belle Meade Hunt (GA), refers to this calendar regularly. “The game table predictions are more accurate than not in our experience,” says Epp.

The Coyote, An "Allegory of Want"

Here is the funniest, most perceptive, and penetrating description of the coyote that I have ever read! Excerpted from "Roughing It," a collection of Mark Twain's experiences while traveling through the Wild West by mule wagon between 1861 and 1867. From the Foxhunting Life archives.

coyote.jim dugganJim Duggan photo

Another night of alternate tranquility and turmoil. But morning came, by and by. It was another glad awakening to fresh breezes, vast expanses of level greensward, bright sunlight, and impressive solitude utterly without human beings or human habitations, and an atmosphere of such amazing properties that trees that seemed close at hand were more than three miles away.

We resumed undress uniform, climbed atop of the flying coach, dangled our legs over the side, shouted occasionally at our frantic mules, merely to see them lay their ears back and scamper faster, tied our hats on to keep our hair from blowing away, and leveled an outlook over the world-wide carpet about us for things new and strange to gaze at. Even at this day it thrills me through and through to think of the life, the gladness, and the wild sense of freedom that used to make the blood dance in my veins on those fine overland mornings!

Along about an hour after breakfast we saw the first prairie-dog villages, the first antelope, and the first wolf. If I remember rightly, this latter was the regular coyote (pronounced ky-o-te) of the farther deserts. And if it was, he was not a pretty creature or respectable either, for I got well acquainted with his race afterward, and can speak with confidence.

Rare Red Fox Sighted at Yosemite

sierra nevada red fox.npsSierra Nevada red fox / National Park Service photo

It’s been one hundred years since a sighting of the Sierra Nevada red fox has been confirmed in Yosemite National Park. Also known as the High Sierra fox, it is a subspecies (vulpes vulpes necator) of the red fox (vulpes vulpes) and was captured on camera in Yosemite in mid-December, 2014. The California Fish and Game Commission declared this exceedingly rare subspecies threatened in 1980, and it could receive federal protection under the Endangered Species Act this year.

The Sierra Nevada red fox is slightly smaller and darker than the more common red fox, which is non-native to California. It’s range is limited to alpine and subalpine meadows above 4,500 feet.

The Eastern Coyote

coyote1.piferIllustration by Doug Pifer

Early in the twentieth century, at the behest of western ranching and agricultural interests that were losing stock to predators, the U.S. Government instituted program after program designed to erase the wolf, grizzly bear, mountain lion, and coyote from the landscape. The programs were mostly successful in their purpose: the wolf, grizzly, and mountain lion were driven nearly to extinction. The coyote, however, was the one predator that not only survived the pressure, but increased its population and its range. How it did that is one of the mysteries of the animal world.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission has published an excellent study of the eastern coyote (Wildlife Note 39), which we believe readers—even those familiar with the species—will find substantive and revealing. We republish it here with the kind permission of the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

The eastern coyote has stirred as much interest and emotion as any other animal in Pennsylvania. Seeing a coyote or hearing the howl of this wild, wily animal is a great reward of nature to many people. Others fear this animal just knowing it is in the wild. Some sportsmen dislike coyotes because they think the predators kill too many game animals. Trappers and hunters find coyotes to be especially challenging. Some farmers lose livestock due to coyote predation. The coyote has been referred to as the brush wolf, prairie wolf, coy-dog (misnomer) and eastern coyote.

The eastern coyote, Canis latrans, is found throughout the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada. Recent research shows the eastern coyote is an immigrant, the origin of which likely involved interbreeding between coyotes and gray wolves. Analysis of DNA suggests coyote-wolf hybridization has occurred. Other studies indicate that the eastern coyote is intermediate in size and shape between gray wolves and western coyotes. As a result, the eastern coyote exhibits different behavior, habitat use, pelt coloration, prey preferences and home-range sizes from its western cousin. The eastern coyote is the largest canine found in Pennsylvania. The following information pertains to the coyote in Pennsylvania and throughout northeastern United States.