2011 Field Updates & News

30 December 2011. Wild Wolf travels from Oregon into California. While one wolf doesn’t make up a population this is still fantastic conservation news to bring in the new year!


30 December 2011. Wolf: The Last Stand. A very dramatic 6 min video showing the awful things that people do to wolves. If this makes you sad then imagine what some people do to coyotes who aren’t even protected in most states. While this does a good job of graphically showing how wolves are still treated, it is not accurate to state that wolves are becoming extinct or might so because of what happens to some of them in this video. However, that doesn’t give anyone the right to do such cruel (and sometimes torturous) things to wolves (and likewise to coyotes) just because they won’t go extinct.


28 December 2011. After a week and a half I am slowly learning more on how “Eb” died. She was apparently killed over a bait pile and I think from someone’s house. To my knowledge many of the people that kill coyotes (coywolves) kill them over bait here in Massachusetts and the people that kill many likely do it from their houses or at least near bait – i.e., they live in a rural area and put bait a distance from their house and then shoot “coyotes” from an open window. It is 2011 and these type of people have more rights than a scientist that wants to study them or a wildlife watcher that wants to enjoy their presence. The good news is that “Eb” (killed on the Wianno Golf Course) was likely shot not within a legal distance from other houses. Hopefully the shooter will get caught and either arrested or given a citation.  I sure would not want to be this person’s dog.


21 December 2011. “Sportsmen’s” group to pay $100 for photos of killed wolves. It is safe to assume that most so-called “sportsmen’s” groups are anti-predator and have a disproportionate impact on state wildlife management. These people should be ashamed of themselves. I for one don’t consider them a noble sportsman – just the opposite in fact with antics such as this. This is the case nationwide from the Sportsmen Alliance (for some wildlife) in Maine to the many groups in the Rocky Mountains – they are all anti-predator and honestly think that a dead wolf is a good wolf.


20 December 2011. A secretive but essential neighbor. Great article about how coyotes are everywhere in California but aren’t dangerous – and are actually important to keeping pest species numbers down. I wish more articles were proactive and positive about our nation’s wildlife – rather than being reactive and writing a story after, say, coyotes attack a dog (in which the interaction could have been prevented with simple measures).


17 December 2011. Depressing and bizarre 36 hours after finding out that the coywolf “Eb” is dead. The story begins when I collared her nearly 4 years ago just after my son was born. Thus, my son has grown up his entire life tracking Eb with me. She was a very feisty, somewhat large (41 lbs) gray looking coywolf – and defined (with her looks) why I think eastern coyotes should be called coywolves. I tracked her mostly in the village of Osterville where she paired with a mate in 2008 and had pups in 2009, 2010, and this past summer. She was truly a matriarch of that area and I had the privilege of seeing her hundreds of times in the area, often with her pack (I found her 2320 times so I really knew a lot about her). Now, fast forward to this Thursday (15 Dec. 2011) where I saw her traveling with her mate near route 28 at night. Little did I think that that would be the last time I would see her alive. Yesterday morning I woke up and tracked my collared animals, like normal, and located her and her mate in a swamp in the Wianno Golf Course. It was a totally normal location; they were close to houses abutting the golf course but in a thicket and safe (so I thought) for the day. I did not track them last night but woke up this morning and found them, separated by a couple of miles which is not completely unusual although they are usually together as they mate in mid-January (for a late-March birth). Again, I didn’t think much of it until this afternoon after checking my mail box and receiving the attached letter today. This is so bizarre because I found her seemingly alive yesterday morning yet I got something in the mail today and the letter had gone all the way through Brockton (via a cancelation stamp) and back. I am thinking she was killed in or near the Wianno Golf Course in Osterville. If anyone knows anything about this then please call me because I suspect something unusual occurred here like the animal was trapped (which would likely be illegally) and the trap was checked after I found the animal – and then she was dispatched. The reason why I say this is because the two were almost exclusively active at night and I can’t imagine she came out of the woods after I located her. But if she was trapped then that would totally make sense. To area residents, please let me know what you know. Thanks. Good-bye to a remarkable animal, we will miss you. Finally, I do want to also thank the person for turning in the collar (via the letter) despite me most likely having a completely different view of coyotes/coywolves than “Mr. X” does. However, I would like to know more about this animal and how/when/where it was killed.


17 December 2011. Farming elk for hunters by killing wolves. Although not the title of the article, essentially that is what this article is about. Why people who kill animals seem to always get the upper hand is utterly astonishing – especially using some of the methods they are allowed to (snares, traps).


17 December 2011. Family dog mistaken for coyote and shot. Another sad example of what hunters can do to not only our nation’s wildlife, but our pets as well. All in the name of recreation, or “to reduce their numbers”… Really sad.


16 December 2011. After yesterday’s two nice stories, here comes one from Maine about trying to legalize trapping of “coyotes” in Maine. I wouldn’t be surprised if they soon try and re-legalize snares where animals are choked to death. What a horrible practice. In my opinion, the world would be a better place WITHOUT people that do these awful practices.


15 December 2011. Belmont (just outside of Boston, MA) prepares for coyote mating season. Great article about being proactive. If every town had an Animal Control Officer like John Maguranis, the world (with its animals and human residents) would be a better place!


15 December 2011. Coyote-human conflicts can be prevented. Great response to the ridiculous hysteria happening in Brookline and elsewhere – my guess is that some wildlife officials are glad to sit on the sidelines hoping to legalize leg-hold traps like we are back in the 1800s.


14 December 2011. Hunters taking advantage of faking disabilities to get access to closed gates where all other people have to walk. While this good article takes place in Montana the same thing happens in my hometown of Barnstable, MA where gated conservation lands are opened for noble men (privileged hunters) during the hunting season to, literally in some instances, decimate the deer herds (because a large number of guys surround a given patch and gang hunt by driving deer to each other) that the rest of us (including some hunters who would rather have to walk) have to walk into. It is a system that favors one user group over another. By the way, this year that would include the West Barnstable Conservation Lands and Cotuit Watershed, likely among others in just my hometown that is gated all year except during hunting season.


12 December 2011. Brookline Residents see trouble in coyotes. This is irresponsible journalism at best. Brock Parker interviews residents that are concerned that coyotes have eaten all the turkeys (no evidence to back this up) and that next time they may come at their children. The reporter goes after emotion and provides no statistics to back this up. Last year 2 people died in Central Park from falling tree limbs yet 2 people have been killed by coyotes in all of recorded history in North America. There is no evidence to back up the concerned citizen’s thought that coyotes are going to move up the food chain (i.e., to attack people) and it is actually irresponsible to not counter any of these arguments. For example, hazing could scare them off of the area and keep the coyotes alive (and more wary) and the “people safe”. Then a resident says that she feels threatened and that they should possibly be relocated (or shot) – meaning that they should be somebody else’s problem, not hers. It would be nice if the reporter interviewed anyone that knew anything about coyotes and easy ways to coexist with them. Instead the focus at the end is on the rather barbaric need to use body gripping traps to make things more peaceful with people that refuse to coexist with all animals. Do they know that the animal gets shot in the head after getting trapped?


9 December 2011. “Howling mad: North Brookline (Boston, MA) neighborhood wants help with coyotes”. Not 2 days after I post a nice, positive article on “coyotes” (coywolves) there comes this hysteria from a pack of coyotes. I wonder if the state or town considered hazing like blasting pyrotechnics at them; or having folks leash their dogs and leave cats inside. I also find it astonishing that the police chief says that these animals are fully protected yet someone, apparently a nobleman (i.e., a hunter), buying a $30 hunting license can blast them away for almost half the year and basically do what they want to them with (essentially) impunity here in Massachusetts (and all other states for that matter).


7 December 2011. Coyotes claiming their urban territory. A very nice article about coyotes in some of the urban areas of Canada. The article nicely gives many of the positive aspects of coyotes. Very refreshing.


1 December 2011. Picture and story of a trapped wolf up in Alaska. Great article on the unethical laws (in most states) that allow such a magnificent animal to die such a painful death. Note: this is a standard foothold trap legal in most states; snares choke the animal to death and are actually still legal in some states. All in the name of tradition according to most state fish and game departments who still allow this activity for recreational purposes.


29 November 2011. The economics of returning wolves (to the Adirondack’s in NY). Great article on how valuable canids are not only ecologically but economically in an area. If only more people would listen.


27 November 2011. Great response to the ridiculously one-sided story from last week (20 Nov.) up in Maine. This article, Coyotes are amazing animals that should be appreciated, nicely retorts the unfounded statements made by the director of Sportsman’s Alliance (for some) Wildlife (in Maine).


20 November 2011 . Hunters, Biologists disagree on coyote effects on deer. The usual rant from hunters in Maine who think they own Maine’s wildlife. I personally think that the Sportsmen Alliance of Maine and Gerry Lavigne (an old school good old boy biologist who can’t appreciate predators on a landscape) are the two worst things for Maine’s wildlife. They show how biased of an effect hunters can have on managing our wildlife. Thank goodness for the counter-arguments presented in the article from 4 reputable people including Maine’s current deer biologist. The arguments of the hunters at the end of the article are funny, if they aren’t so ridiculous. As if this article isn’t worse enough, then comes this article about the director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of (some wildlife in) Maine who has seen coyotes hunt in packs. Amazing that this guy (Republican David Trahan) was a former state senator – pathetic actually. But not surprising that he would use fear and probably lies to vilify a predator.


9 November 2011. Who owns our wildlife? A great article detailing the tremendous over-reach of hunters in managing wildlife, considering they are only 5 percent of the nations’ population. However, many more dollars is contributed to the general economy than hunters’ dollars. I agree with the author, that maybe hunters should only be in charge of game species (deer, ducks, rabbits) and a new game agency created that would be in charge of predators and other non-game. Also, a similar article details this injustice here.


7 November 2011. Coyote-wolf hybrids confirmed in the mid-Atlantic (Virginia) area. I have read this scientific paper and find the results very interesting. While they have some wolf-DNA they are really “hybrids of hybrids”, meaning that they are hybrids with eastern coyotes/coywolves and western coyotes that met in the mid-Atlantic area. They do not seem to have “as much wolf” as the coywolves here in the Northeast, but they also aren’t the same as western coyotes. Very interesting. However, I do not like the term Great Lakes wolves in the context that the scientific article (and this news article attached here) does not even mention the whole eastern wolf concept/theory and how they are recognized as a full species by many researchers. Great Lakes wolves are essentially hybrids between gray wolves and eastern wolves, while eastern coyotes/coywolves here in the NE are hybrids with western coyotes and eastern wolves.


6 November 2011. Sadly, as I return back to the Northeast after watching wild wolves and coyotes in Yellowstone Park, I have the joy to read up on what a bunch of rednecks are trying/planning on doing to eastern coyotes/coywolves in Maine (read here). They must’ve never read the vital importance that canid’s play in the evolution of prey species. The writer, I know from experience, is particularly nasty to anything that preys on deer – in fact, I think he would vote to make Maine a large deer farm if he had the choice to. People will never learn – there needs to be a National Canid Protection Act to better protect U.S.’s wild canids.


1 November 2011. I am just returning from 9 days of watching wild wolves in Yellowstone. What a remarkable experience. Now, I read a good perspective about the wolf hunt: Animal Emotions – Rampant wolf killing makes some people happy, by Marc Bekoff.


7 October 2011. Biological mechanisms for why killing coyotes/coywolves doesn’t work. This is an important article that I wrote for The Wildlife News. I hope more folks realize the futility of killing coyotes to kill them. They should have more protection nationwide and be treated like a valuable game animal – not a pest (unless they are in the act of causing damage).


3 October 2011. Outrageous claim of a 400 lb bison killed and devoured by bison questioned by biologists in Massachusetts. I have heard of this story from a couple of weeks ago and also thought it was bogus. There are too many inconsistencies and worse, the farmer didn’t even see it happen. It likely died, was fed on by a pack of coywolves (which could number 10 including pups), and then discovered by the farmer after all of the howling. Very bizarre story. This story even made a national wildlife website. The only thing I disagree with is the biologists suggestion that coyotes (really coywolves) don’t hunt together. They do and often travel in groups of three to four. Similarly, the pack hunting abilities of wolves is often over exaggerated as usually only one to four animals in a pack does the killing – most animals are young animals that feed on the kills made by their parents or older siblings.


23 September 2011. Storm warnings: Extreme weather is a product of climate change. While this is not related to coyotes and wolves, I believe this article is important to post. It is basically a scientific fact that global warming (or a better term is climate change) is happening and is affecting extreme weather conditions. The vast majority of scientists attribute most of the change to humans. It is amazing that the same (mostly) conservative lawmakers that continue to deny human-caused climate change take medicine and other scientific marvels that came about because of the same scientific process/method that accepts human-caused climate change.


21 September 2011. Additional papers accepted to scientific journals. Please visit my Publications Page for more! One is on gray wolves (Canis lupus).


12 September 2011. Photo of a wild coywolf that I have been fortunate enough to watch this summer 2011: I call her “White lips” because she is uncollared and has the obvious white around her lips.


12 September 2011. A must read (continued from my June 17 post below)! “North American Model Flawed“. This short (3 pages) journal article explains what I (and others) have been arguing for many, many years. That is, there are many other things in addition to hunting that are responsible for saving wildlife. You don’t have to be anti-hunting to argue these things – but for hunters to say they are the primary reason why wildlife populations have recovered is not quite accurate. The authors in this piece argue that numerous federal laws in the 1960s (such as the Clean Air Act and Endangered Species Act) as well as nature based “non-consumptive” activities such as bird watching and visiting national parks are just as important for recovering wildlife populations – especially non-game species (e.g., more people appreciating all of nature – including predators – means less coyotes/coywolves getting shot).


12 September 2011. Following the article above this post comes a very concerning news article from Maine. To appease a very small minority of hunters (already a minority of the population), Maine is considering killing bears in the spring after they emerge from hibernation because she says their population is increasing. Who cares if it is increasing. We are smart enough to find ways to coexist even if their numbers are increasing. This is yet another instance of a state agency treating a complex, socially intelligent, and ecologically important animal as a number and statistic rather than as an individual.


31 August 2011. Visit my events page for some new and up-coming talks I am giving, including one at a cool place in the Adirondacks of New York.


3 August 2011. A major paper available on my publications page. This details double litters found in coywolf packs following the death or disappearance of a breeding male. This is the second paper this year that I has described density increases of coyotes/coywolves following the death of a breeding male. Click here for my Publications Page.


28 July 2011. A wild mountain lion (cougar/puma) killed in Connecticut. The federal government has essentially abandoned large carnivore recovery (mainly cougars and wolves) here in the East, which is shameful. Both wolves and now mt. lions are trying to return. We should assist in their natural recovery with strategic releases of cats in parts of the Northeast. Be aware, the link takes a while to load.


27 July 2011. New article available on my publications page! This one is a summary of coyote/coywolf movement patterns for the journal “CATE”.


20 July 2011. Great article by Wendy Keefover-Ring in the Huffington Post about the ridiculous waste of money that tax-payers spend on Wildlife Services’ killing predators. Ironically, Conservative lawmakers, who constantly beacon to stop wasteful spending, largely support this system and vote to continue it while they try and reduce other beneficial social services.


15 July 2011. Loss of Large Predators Has Caused Widespread Disruption of Ecosystems. Great article linked to a scientific article on the same topic. I am consistent with the following statement: this article highlights why it is so wrong that all state agencies in the Northeast allow a literal slaughter of eastern coyotes/coywolves, when they are very important ecologically. Being a medium to fairly large sized canid on the landscape, they exert ecological effects that human hunters never can. I don’t get why state agencies do not seem to understand this as they allow such things as no bag limits per hunter, and extremely long – or even year-round – seasons. It makes no sense with all of the science out there indicating that we need these animals to live at ecologically relevant densities (let alone the ethics of killing social, intelligent, family-oriented animals for essentially fun).


12 July 2011. Park would be a boon. My article/editorial on the proposed Maine Woods National Park next to Baxter State Park. I just returned from Baxter and the way that animals roam free is very noticeable and an important part of a nature sanctuary which (in large sizes) are rare here in the Northeast. Most of our national parks out west function in this fashion but here in the east, even some of our national parks (like Cape Cod National Seashore) have compromises (like allowing hunting) which (at least in my opinion) distract from the park experience. Mainers have a chance to do it right!


21 June 2011. Cow tramples and kills women in Iowa. As you can see, events like this are much more common than either wolves or coyotes (or coywolves) harming people. This just won’t make the national news like a canid attack would.


20 June 2011. Mystery of the Coywolf, Part II. Mark Fraser (from Nature Walks With Mark) produces another captivating short (9 min) film on the eastern coyote/coywolf. He is a supporter of better protections for this amazing predator. In case you haven’t seen Part 1, here it is.


17 June 2011 . Scientists call North American model of wildlife management flawed. This is an important article in my view. I have long argued that it is undemocratic to have one user group in charge of something. This is effectively the case for hunters and wildlife management. I particularly believe that the management of predators, certainly including coyotes/coywolves is case in point. For example, having a year round season on coyotes ignores their social, family-oriented nature as well as their important role in nature. This article and the associated scientific article takes my ideas further.


14 June 2011. Wild in the city: Canine enthusiast Frank Vincenti educates New Yorkers on how to live with coyotes. A very good article about a friend of mine that runs the non-profit Wild Dog Foundation.


8 June 2011. Management of Predators: A need for changes in policies by George Wuerthner. This is something I have been arguing for years. This quote summarizes the article: “management for populations without considering the social organization of top predators can lead to greater conflicts with humans, particularly livestock owners and hunters, the two groups who are often hostile to predators“.


6 June 2011. Battle in Augusta (Maine) to focus on protecting wolves. This is an important meeting that will likely determine the recovery of wolves in the Northeast. I completely agree with John Glowa in his statements in the article as I am also pessimistic about the fate of wolves. My prediction: the Service delists the gray wolf even though there is a good chance that gray-eastern wolf hybrids historically lived in the area. Then, instead of protecting coywolves (a.k.a. eastern coyotes) to allow eastern wolves (a similar species) to recover, they will instead take the Secretary Salazar approach of not listing eastern wolves because “they do not currently exist” in the area. Effectively they will thus abandon any type of wolf recovery in the Northeast. Environmental groups will appropriately sue the service for this blatant disregard for the law and be forced to recover eastern wolves to get a more wolf-like canid on a spectrum of coyote to wolf. I hope I am wrong but this is the most likely outcome.


29 May 2011. In my opinion, this is a pathetic display of hunter behavior and why wildlife management needs to become more diverse. Hunters in Maine are pursuing and trying to (not successful here) coyotes during the heart of the pup rearing season. To allow a social, intelligent, family-oriented animal to be killed during this critical time of the year shows no respect for the animal and favors a minority of misguided people who end up making all hunters look bad.


25 May 2011. 2600 coyotes killed in Nova Scotia through Bounty program. What an utter waste of money and time for a small minority of people wishing to eradicate (unsuccessfully) any competitor; let alone the ethical and potential ecological effect that this may have.


3 May 2011. Ghost Dogs. Article on urban coyotes (focusing on Chicago study led by Dr. Stan Gehrt). Stan has received a lot of recent press for his very cool research.


1 May 2011. Updated May 2. From Maine: Lavigne puts coyote control plan on the table. If anyone wonders why hunting is becoming less popular than all you have to read is so-called sportsmen V. Paul Reynold’s article on the need to kill more coyotes, completely ignoring all of the other issues associated with low deer numbers (mainly logging and harsh winters). In fact, there is still no plan to document the effectiveness of a mass coyote (really coywolf) slaughter. Fortunately, there were also 2 recent articles (following mine on 24 April) condemning this plan. Updated May 2: And a third article against killing coyotes: Hunters more deadly to deer than nature’s coyotes.


24 April 2011. My response to the April 20 (& 14) post four stories below this one. Title “Column about coyotes uninformed, biased” in the Kennebec Journal. Thanks goes to the KJ for printing this! April 25: I just received an email (I would assume following this editorial – although I can’t be positive on this correlation) with the following quote: “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up to something, sometime in your life.” – Winston Churchill.


23 April 2011. Time Magazine article on coyotes in Chicago. The study is led by Dr. Stan Gehrt.


22 April 2011. More on wolves being removed from the Endangered Species Act by politicians rather than scientists. Editorial from the New York Times. My take: Salazar has been a huge disappointment and I didn’t like it (and his outrageous cowboy hat) when Obama first appointed him. I am greatly worried that Obama has ignored his vision of restoring science to the government. This example would be the exact opposite of that and he didn’t do a thing to change that. I think this will cost him in 2012 when many democrats may look the other way…


21 April 2011. “Wolves, political stupidity, and fear-mongering: Wolves are a clear and present danger” by Marc Bekoff. One of the quotes from Marc’s piece: “Ignorant politicians ignore science and allow the continued slaughter of wolves… Why ignorant politicians and others have such a large say in how wolves and other animals are treated is baffling especially when their opinions fly in the face of science.”


20 April 2011 – Great response (editorial) to the article here: 14 April 2011 by George Smith “With fewer deer up north, coyotes move south”. I see Mr. Smith’s writing as a ridiculous article filled with so many errors and untruths. George Smith was the former director of Sportsmen’s Alliance (for some wildlife) of Maine.

My response below:

Coyotes and common sense

George Smith’s recent column about coyotes, “With fewer deer, coyotes move south,” is one of the most uninformed and biased pieces I have read recently on the subject. His entire mindset is dedicated to making Maine a wildlife farm for hunters, which is scary for the group he used to run (Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine).

Coyotes live throughout the state, and there is no evidence that the lack of deer has forced coyotes to move south in search of other food. Smith’s column deflects the blame in order to propagate more management (i.e., killing) of a social, intelligent, family-oriented species.

Rather than saying the dog could have been leashed and that wildlife-human/pet conflicts exist, he repeatedly makes the point that these animals need to be controlled (i.e., killed).

Two people have been killed by coyotes in all of North America’s recorded history, yet 20 die from dog attacks every year in the United States. Also, 5 million people are bitten or attacked by dogs every year. Where are those statistics in his rant against coyotes?

In my book, “Suburban Howls” (www.EasternCoyoteResearch.com), I detail how these animals live very close to people and cause very minor problems compared to the potential for conflict, since they live everywhere in the country. Coyotes go out of their way to avoid people, in fact.

As far as deer go, perhaps we should attribute diseases to inflated game populations (like deer) that Smith espouses to maintain. What about excess car collisions and Lyme disease potentially attributed to hunters who don’t accept predators as a part of nature?


January to March 2011 – There are no updates…They got randomly deleted from the bottom of the document. Update October 2012 – I have finally switched hosting companies (to IPage) and am using WordPress as my server, so I now should have more luck with not losing information.

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