2010 Field Updates & News

Most of the files from this 2010 page work but some older files (especially Field Updates from July 2007-2009) were lost when my old hosting company disappeared. So it is mostly my older field updates through 2009 that were lost as most links in this 2010 page work properly. Any articles connecting to the outside internet should work fine as these files weren’t lost in the transition to a new server.


December 8, 2010. Current wildlife management violates the public trust doctrine. A very important scientific paper on the subject. Also, please visit my Canid Management link to see how managing coyotes/coywolves could be made more democratic for all users, not just hunters.


December 5, 2010. Mystery of the Coywolf Part I. Very cool video that Mark Fraser produced (on YouTube) and that I am featured in.


December 2, 2010. Holiday sale: all books are 10% off, thus $21.59 plus $4 shipping (total, no matter how many books are ordered).


December 1, 2010. Article: “Living with Carnivores: The Coywolf” on the Nature Walks with Mark blog. A nice article detailing the importance of having predators like coywolves around and respecting them by learning to live with them.


November 26, 2010. Another publication available on my Pubs Page. This one is on hierarchy effects of caching in a captive pack. This type of study illustrates the importance of captive studies as this is nearly impossible to document in the wild.


November 26, 2010. It must be deer season here on Cape Cod. While most of us enjoy watching and observing all animals (including many hunters), the “noblemen” on the Cape are given keys to some of our conservation lands and can literally drive through these areas that most of us have to hike to. Massachusetts is one of the only states that allows deer driving, meaning that gangs of hunters will drive deer in large circles and blow them away, sharing each other’s doe permits if they kill an antlerless deer (party hunting is illegal in most states). Sad. I wish only bow-hunting was allowed here on the Cape.


November 4, 11, and 21, 2010. If you think that state fish and game agencies don’t cater to hunters then read this out of Indiana. The state is making it legal for trappers to capture coyotes and foxes, then instead of killing them which normally happens (by either bashing in their skull or shooting them while caught in a trap), they will bring them to pens to allow dogs to chase them to exhaustion and either rip them apart or eventually have a hunter shoot them. Didn’t Michael Vick go to jail for two years for doing similar things to dogs? And Indiana is making this legal? Pretty amazing. Update Nov. 11: Editorial on this issue here. Update Nov 21: great radio interview with CeAnn Lambert of Indiana Coyote Rescue Center on a hunting forum. The interviewer (a hunter) was also soundly against the unethical practice of chasing and killing coyotes and foxes with dogs.


November 16, 2010. Coyote videod in downtown Chicago. It would be nice if more agencies were as forward thinking as the commentators in this article that recognize the benefits of having these animals around us for free pest/rodent control, among other things.


November 12, 2010. Hunting and Predators – Does it Work? Another great article by George Wuerthner. The last paragraph of this essay is what I have been saying all along with coywolves here in MA: “Hunting is an ineffective means to reduce human/predator conflicts. In fact, a growing body of scientific research (largely ignored by state wildlife agencies) suggests standard wildlife management predicated on sport hunting increases human-predator conflicts and threatens long term ecosystem health. You cannot “manage wolves like other wildlife.” Indeed, the best way to “manage” wolves and other predators is not to kill them at all, except perhaps for the rare surgical removal of a few chronic livestock killers or the occasional animal that become habituated to humans.”


November 10, 2010. Read an article by Carol Connare about my work in the magazine UMass Amherst, my alma mater. Update Nov. 15: here is a shorter version of the story on UMass’s Homepage.


November 8, 2010. Hunting “Coyotes” over bait in New York. I question the ethics of many people, as frequent readers of my website clearly understand by now. This ad would prove that. The outfitter has no qualms about the ethics of having someone seated in a heated cabin/shed near a bait pile, then blasting away a “coyote” (coywolf) at night. I will echo what I have publicly stated many times: baiting for animals should be illegal. There is no point to it other than for “recreation” purposes. It is downright non-sporting and if it isn’t allowed for deer, it shouldn’t be allowed for other species – especially social and intelligent ones like coywolves here in the Northeast.


October 8, 2010 (update Oct 21). Another “amazing” article from my home base of Cape Cod, MA: Coyotes don’t belong on suburban Cape Cod. Yet another ecologically illiterate person that relies on emotions and frustrations of losing his 2 cats rather than learning about the true biology of coywolves. For one, this animal is very similar to the original red or eastern wolf that we had in Massachusetts and killing them (or getting rid of them as he implies) is useless to protect his pets for many reasons that I have repeatedly discussed over the years. Rather, he should take ownership and responsibility that leaving pets outside (especially cats) is our fault and domestic animals do similar things (like hunt) that “coyotes” do. It is sad that science and learning about something has passed by the wayside, and people like the author just expect us to get rid of things that are inconvenient to some people. This is yet another example of fear, intolerance, and a feeling of supremeness, similar to the attitude that has led to prejudice and racism of certain cultures and races over the past few centuries. October 21, 2010: A great response to the article above: Forget about coyotes – cats are killing songbirds.


October 19, 2010. An interesting article about letting “coyotes” control deer in PA parks. It is important to note that a 45-55 pound predator is not a coyote but a coywolf, a hybrid between coyotes and wolves – and likely similarly related to the original red/eastern wolf found in that area historically. I just returned from 9 days in Yelllowstone National Park and the thought of natural predation in a national park should be stressed, just like gray wolves have reduced elk numbers (along with other factors) in Yellowstone.


October 7, 2010. Article: “Idaho should get out of the business of managing wolves”. Yet another article showing the social, sentient side of wild canids. It is very depressing that state wildlife agencies manage coyotes, coywolves, and wolves like other animals. They are social, intellgent animals that live in family packs. Here are in Massachusetts the 6 months of legal slaughter is just about to begin. Instead of having bag limits and other reasonable regulations, hunters in supposedly liberal Massachusetts will be able to kill unlimited numbers of coywolves (despite wolves being protected and often killed if they make it to the area because they look like our hybrid coyote-wolf). Hunters can use dogs to chase coywolves (still called coyotes by state agencies in the Northeast) to exhaustion, they can use bait to draw them in even though we are all told not to feed wild animals, they can shoot them at night when they are supposed to be active (to avoid us), and the list goes on. Our native canids are not protected like other animals in the true sense of the word. There is absolutely no fair chase involved in many of these practices, and finally, the minority of hunters (already a minority of the population) that participate in these practices often do so out of hate – which is a sad way to manage our wildlife.


September 30, 2010. Interview on me in Wildlife Watch Binocular by Marie Thomas. This is a 2007 article but was lost from my old website.


September 27, 2010. Mysteries that howl and haunt. Article to appear in New York Times Science Section Tuesday 9/28. I am quoted on the coywolf terminology but that wasn’t the focus of the article.


September 27, 2010. Coyotes are here to stay. A positive article about coyotes in the Westchester (greater NYC) area.


September 23, 2010. Look for a story on my scientific paper on coywolves in the science section of Tuesday’s (9/28) New York Times. The article should run then!


Summer 2010. Added Sept. 18, 2010. Two editorials (click here for first and second articles) from the New York Times on Wolf Delisting and my response to the New York Times about coyotes/coywolves living in their own backyard.


September 10, 2010. Man threatens to sue state of Montana for basically catering to hunters/ranchers and ignoring wildlife watchers who contribute lots of money to the state, and have no voice in wildlife/wolf management. I sure can identify with Jerry.


September 7, 2010. More hysteria associated with coyotes. Instead of learning about how to coexist with these creatures, a community in the greater NYC (near CT) area is trapping everything they can to kill it, when the article says it all – they got the animal involved in the attacks and it was rapid. The trapper is clearly aggrandizing the story because there is no way a coyote would bite the head off a pup right now. All pups are at least 5 months old and resemble teenagers, not little puppies that could get their heads bitten off. But why would a newspaper writer want to learn the facts? I believe a permanent hazing (negative conditioning) program should exist so these animals know that they need to be caution and secretive when living near people. The most important thing to realize is that capturing and killing these animals is simply opening up a territory for other coyotes to colonize.


August 22, 2010. A caring society emphasizes with wildlife. A great article on Fox penning and the questionable ethics of allowing it (in 17 states).


August 17, 2010. Ted Nugent guilty of baiting wildlife in California. I find it interesting that it is illegal (and unsporting) to bait all wildlife in Cali but hunters can slaughter unlimited number of coywolves here in MA for 6 months a year, including through baiting.


August 14, 2010. Great article on the head of the Yellowstone Wolf Project, a dream job of mine. ‘Wolf man’ Doug Smith studies Yellowstone’s restored predators: ‘Nature without wolves is not nature,’ says the field biologist and project leader.

August 10, 2010. The case against poisoning our wildlife by Camilla Fox of Project Coyote.


August 5, 2010. The Straw Figure fallacy. A great You Tube video explaining how one deflects an argument to not answer the question/point raised. Politicians are experts at this (and that is not a good thing). I also get this all the time when arguing that eastern coyotes/coywolves should have more protections because they are important for the ecosystem and are social, intelligent animals that should not be allowed to be slaughtered. Counter-arguments frequently are hunters pay for wildlife management and “coyotes” are prolific so they can compensate for any losses entailed (while a minority of people participate in this activity). However, these points deflect my argument and don’t address the points I am bringing up. State wildlife agencies and hunters have repeatedly said we are on the same team because we all want to preserve wildlife habitat for the benefit of wildlife, but this is not true because: 1) my study animal live much longer in more urban habitats with less human hunting; and 2) non-hunters have no say in wildlife management and the folks in charge of wildlife management don’t allow others (like me) to have any voice in wildlife management. Anyway, it is well worth watching this 3.5 minute clip and is applicable to many different circumstances.


July 31, 2010. Urban Coyotes by John A. Shivak. A good non-lethal focus on managing coyotes.


July 29, 2010. Bizarre story of a Cape Cod (Truro) man that had a “coyote” as a pet. I have no idea how he acquired this animal. I sure hope it wasn’t stolen from one of my traps.


July 14, 2010. Wolves and Oil by George Wuerthner. Another great article by former hunting guide Wuerthner. It highlights the fact that state fish and game agencies can’t neutrally manage their predators like wolves and coyotes given their bias to hunting interests. It is a conflict of interest. I happen to agree with just about all of the article. Agencies should not manage predators for “maximum sustainable yield” like you might deer and elk. Predators are social, intelligent animals that live in family units and need a broader, ecosystem focus.


July 10, 2010. Coyotes (in Maine) get bad rap, so leave them alone. An article detailing the ecological importance of “coyotes” (coywolves) in Maine.


June 22, 2010. My genetic paper on Coywolves is finally out (and not just in press). Click here to view it directly or click here to go to my publications page.


June 21, 2010. Wisdom of Wolves: Leadership Lessons from Nature. A cool 4 minute motivational video on wolves and teamwork.


June 20, 2010. Happy Father’s Day to all out there. I want to specifically acknowledge the Coywolf Sill whom I tracked for over 8 years and published his accomplishments both in the popular and scientific press. He was an amazing father, diligent and steadfast in his duties, for many years. He is likely now a loner living out his old age (11+ years old) in solidarity in the matrices of other pack territories. His collar does not work so I may never know his fate. Good luck old man.


June 19, 2010. New publications accepted and published. View my publications page for more details on some unique and important papers!


June 18, 2010. Where are all the deer on Cape Cod? I have long argued about how few white-tailed deer there are on Cape Cod, MA one of the only places in the Eastern United States where one can say that. Well here is the 2009 Deer Hunt information. Cape Cod is zone 12; 201 deer were killed or about 1 deer for every 2 square miles of land. That is not many deer yet Mass Wildlife still issues way too many doe (female) deer permits anyway. I also find the date of posting interesting. Mass Wildlife claims I have been chronically late with reports with my Coywolf Research when I would submit an annual report in mid-February (1.5 months after the endpoint); yet they do not post 2009 information until 6 months later. I guess it is easy to do and say what you want when you have absolutely no accountability…. My suggestion: eliminate doe (antlerless) tags on Cape Cod until numbers have a chance to build back up (say 5 years). I have already published on this topic and the recommendations have been ignored by the state of MA and town of Barnstable.


June 18, 2010. We finally have news regarding the Petition to Protect Wolves in the Northeast: the service rejected our request (not much of a surprise) to list the Gray Wolf as a Distinct Population Unit in the Northeast but 2 things remain possible: (1) we can finally appeal the finding and a judge is more likely to meet our demands than state and federal wildlife agencies, and (2) there still is a chance to list the Coywolf (still called Coyotes by the service) under the Endangered Species Act to better protect Wolves naturally returning to the Northeast. Read letter here.


June 10, 2010. Article: The West needs more, not fewer wolves. The writer, George Wuerthner, makes many similar arguments that I make about coyote/coywolf management including the need to recognize the social, intelligent nature of canids and that they should be managed differently than ungulates (deer, elk) and not for maximal sustainable yield.


May 28, 2010. Biologist (Maine) advises coyote coexistence. It is time states recognize the importance of carnivores and not ascribe to redneck wildlife management of allowing unlimited slaughters of this important animal. I have been arguing this for years.


May 24, 2010. Visit my Publications Page for a favorable review of my book in Canadian Field-Naturalist, a peer reviewed journal!


May 24, 2010. Creation of Eastern National Parks to facilitate Wildlife Watching. You can also contact these people to help in this creation! In fact, it is imperative that you email/call the following people to get this to happen. We can make a difference but you need to act to make it happen. For link to write a letter to the President click here (for subject click Policy comment, then click Environmental Issue), to the Interior secretary click here (email: feedback@ios.doi.gov), to contact State Senator John Kerry (MA) click here and State Senator Scott Brown (MA) click here.  In my opinion, the Obama Administration has not lived up to their bargain of conservation and using science ahead of politics. The administration could redeem themselves to a degree if they read this letter (which I sent them) and create these new national parks here in the East.


May 21, 2010. A killing hand rules Legislator’s wildlife panel. Great article about wildlife management in Maine. See my Field Update from April 1 to learn more about what the author is talking about. It is amazing who is in charge of wildlife management and how a narrow interest group (extreme hunters, not even sportsmen really) determines hunting seasons and regulations.


May 7, 2010. A new scientific publication available. This one documents the life of an individual (Casper) whom I wrote a tribute to in my book but in a scientific way. Don’t underestimate the importance of individuals.


April 28, 2010.  Is Coyote/Coywolf management inherently racist?


April 28, 2010. Science-based wildlife management. My thoughts on the hypocrisy of state wildlife departments…


April 26, 2010. Support “coyotes” (coywolves) in New Hampshire. There is a bill to decrease the hunting season of coyotes to about half the year – that is not great but certainly better than year-round as currently exists in NH. Please email: comments@wildlife.nh.gov and call 603-271-3511 (fax 603-271-1438) to support the measure.


April 20, 2010. My website was down again – for 2 weeks. Sorry…. But I just received a great article from last year. I am reposting it here because it accurately describes the injustices of coyote/coywolf management: Why Fish and Game Agencies Can’t Manage Predators by George Wuerthner.


April 2, 2010. “Coyote(s)” on Martha’s Vineyard. Wow, that would be amazing if they naturally colonized this island roughly 5 miles from Cape Cod.  I am very concerned with the negative comments in this article. It is honestly like people are stuck in the early 1900s with their views toward predators. It really is unacceptable (see quoted comments toward bottom of article) in todays day and age.


April 1, 2010.  I have long argued that wildlife management is the most undemocratic form of government imaginable. It ignores the Public Trust Doctrine by letting a small minority of people (hunters, trappers) have a majority of the say in wildlife management. This is unfair in a day in age where wildlife watching income often dwarfs hunting expenditures in many states, like here in Massachusetts where it is 10 to 1. This article is great – it is written in the prestigious Journal of Wildlife Management and essentially says this. Personally, I am shocked that various groups (Environmental, Animal Rights) haven’t sued to make this more equitable – for instance read my article (also dated 1 April) just below this to show how undemocratic wildlife management is. Great article attached. And it is peer refereed!


April 1, 2010.  Read about the awful rule changes for killing “coyotes” in Maine. What a bunch of Rednecks running wildlife management up North. This is a disgrace to any ethical hunter. New bills allow “coyotes” in Maine to be shot and legally left to rot (not on list of wanton waste). Also, you can now put bait on frozen ice. I’m sure the idiots doing this will clean up after themselves – Not – thus insuring water pollution. One day legislators and wildlife officials will see the value of all wildlife. This is pathetic and a disgrace to the state of Maine. And no, this isn’t an April Fool’s joke. Forget about their social, intelligent nature and the fact that predators are vital for ecosystem health. Lets shoot ’em all.


March 31, 2010. Many peer-reviewed publications recently accepted (i.e., they are In Press and not officially published yet) and one new article now posted as a pdf (Coyote eat Cicada). Note: the new (In Press) papers are using the term Coywolf instead of Eastern Coyote. Visit my Publications Page to view them!


March 31, 2010. At last: after nearly a month, my website is back up and running. My hosting company continues to have problems with Site Studio 1.8. Grrrr….


February 18, 2010. Boston Globe article on the eastern coyotes being a hybrid with western coyotes and eastern/red wolves. I strongly believe that this creature should not be called a coyote and should rather be called coywolf to reflect its hybrid origin. I will posit this idea further with future peer-reviewed publications following (or more aptly piggie-backing) this one.


February 12, 2010. Field and Stream article about the positive benefits of coyotes which control smaller (meso) predators like foxes.


February 8, 2010. “Coyotes” in Manhattan. How cool. Article on it and link to my website. I wish more people could see the positive benefits (like rat control) to having a predator in an urban area. I bet one “coyote” (coywolf) could eat 1000 rats a year in NYC.


February 4-18, 2010. Website server down again. Sorry. Grrrr…..


January 31, 2010. Fascinating article on feral dogs in Moscow. The animals revert back to an intermediate form between domestic dogs and gray wolves (note: these are still the same species). They lose their color variation becoming mostly brown in color (like dingoes) and act like wolves (like being territorial) even in the middle of the city. These animals live at very high densities compared to coywolves here in the NE yet they don’t seem to be a public health issue in Moscow despite there likely being an exponentially greater chance for the dogs to attack people than coywolves here in MA. I chuckle at how scared people are of coyotes/coywolves here than folks in Moscow who literally live side-by-side with an animal (the domestic dog) that routinely kills people (20 a year in the U.S. alone).


January 31, 2010. AP article: Aggressive coyotes more likely to be rabid. My comments: An interesting study from MA concerning rabid coywolves in that 10 of the 108 tested “coyotes” had rabies (9%). However, what the article fails to stress is that this is a naturally biased sample size of aggressive individuals that died from contacts with people (e.g., a police officer shooting one). The article should spend more time describing that the vast majority of animals are afraid of people and avoid them even though they live throughout urbanized areas. In other words, I bet the total number of rabid and/or aggressive “coyotes” in MA is far, far below 1 %. If they stressed this point, then I would agree with their findings as surely 10% of the population is not aggressive to people like is the case with rabid animals.


January 27, 2010. Cape Cod Times editorials: Coyotes’ benefits to Cape seem elusive, at best. My comment: the original article (click here) was nicely put. Today’s article, however, shows how utilitarian and misinformed people can be. What a shame. To think that the Coywolf, a mix between coyotes and the native red (not gray as the article states), are non-native and not valuable to the ecosystem, lacks perspective. If this man read any ecology book he would find the vital importance of predators in the direct evolution of their prey. Maybe hunters should hunt domestic chickens and sheep instead of the deer and rabbits that are quick and agile because they evolved with a predator (actually very similar to today’s coywolf) long before the first human showed up in this area around 10,000 years ago. And we should think beyond the lost hunting opportunities due to coywolf predation. Over 30 times more people watch wildlife, including coywolves, with wildlife watching bringing in over a half billion dollars to Massachusetts alone. I concur with Mr. Shine, leave them alone and they will stabilize their own numbers.


January 27, 2010. Wood needed. I know that numerous folks live in the Barnstable area and check out these field updates. And I know that many of you would be interested in donating to my research, since you know that I live on a shoestring doing this research, but can’t for financial reasons. Well I heat my house with wood and could greatly use either seasoned split wood or logs that are 12-18 inches long that need to be split (which I do myself). That would be most helpful if possible. Please email me if you can help out – thanks!


January 26, 2010. Note on counter. If you notice the counter on the bottom of the page and actually monitor it for some odd reason (like I do!) please be aware of 2 things: 1) the counter does not work when I can’t update my webpage (which happened on 3 separate occasions in 2009 alone); and 2) the page frequently resets itself to a lower number. I have not been able to figure out why this happens. So, the page counter is more of an index than a true count. Certainly it would be well over 100,000 page hits if it wasn’t for these 2 mishaps. Update September 16, 2010. I started a new counter with Choice Host being my server.


January 23, 2010. Please visit my Talks section for new talks as well as a link to National Public Radio for a piece I did on 20 January about Coywolves.


January 22, 2010, Evening. I now have complete access to my webpage, finally! I have added 2 new publications available as free .pdf, including the Coywolf paper to appear in a forthcoming issue of Northeastern Naturalist. As of this paper, coyotes in the Northeast do not exist. They are coywolves.


January 22, 2010. Some recent articles critiquing coyote hunting in one form or another. See article 1, article 2, and article 3. It is good to see many groups interested in the welfare of coyotes especially condemning coyote hunting contests. More and more people are catching on to the value of all wildlife, including common predators. One day state wildlife plans will reflect this, unlike current management practices allowed in just about all states.


January 22, 2010. Nice article on my research and book (written 13 Jan.) from Animal Tourism online magazine.


December 26 – January 22, 2010. This has been a frustrating month. I was logging on in December to wish everyone a happy howliday and to please consider donating to ECR at year-end but I could not log in and use my account. Site Studio 1.8 has been down and is finally getting fixed. How frustrating. Anyhow, it is just coming back so I am going to wait a day or two before I send more updates including a .pdf of the official Coywolf paper on my publications page. Stay tuned!



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