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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

By the looks of the article below, many folks in Alabama need some educating about how to coexist with Coyotes........While many Armed Forces bases around the Country have very forward thinking wildlife policies, Redstone Arsenal is on a wrongheaded course,,,,, trapping and killing them.............The City of Decatur is just plain misguided, thinking that there are "hundreds of them" within their city limits...........Town Fathers should create ordinances that do not allow cats and dogs to run free,,,,,,as well as guding their citizens on how to intimidate the coyotes rather than killing them(which just encourages younger and inexperienced Coyotes to reoccupy the vacancies created)............Kudos to the City of Huntsville where Officials have concluded that it is best to "pretty much leave them alone"

Coyote sightings increasing in North Alabama as municipalities grapple with shooting vs. trapping

A coyote on the Indian Creek Greenway.

They won't be using Acme bombs or anvils like in Road Runner cartoons, but Redstone Arsenal has announced it is "taking measures" to control the coyote population, measures that will kill at least some of them.

The move raises questions about the coyote population of North Alabama in general. When do coyotes become a problem? Do you kill them? Move them? Leave them alone? Let citizens trap them?

The arsenal Directorate of Emergency Services issued a press release earlier this month saying ongoing control measures haven't kept up with the animals' population growth.
Arsenal game warden Kelly Smith confirmed an upswing in sightings.
"It was not uncommon to see a coyote on occasion, but over the last four, five, six months they started becoming more regular in their appearances," he said.

Smith said the animals are getting "comfortable" around people and that's a concern.
Although he will trap skunks and raccoons and release them elsewhere on post, that's not practical with coyotes. He's killed eight in the last month or so. "It gives me no joy to do that," he added.
"With some of these coyotes my only option is to shoot them and remove them that way," Smith said. They are first caught in live traps (like cages)."I think it's very important to say that coyotes have their place in the ecosystem. I have no desire whatsoever to eliminate coyotes from Redstone Arsenal."We just have a few too many in some places that just can't hold that number of them."
In Decatur
Decatur, too, is dealing head-on with what city animal cruelty investigator Miles Naylor calls a "huge problem."
"At last count we were up to almost 60 pet deaths" in the last year, Naylor said last week. "I had one report today of two pets killed last night. It just keeps coming."
Asked if he thinks coyotes are solely to blame, Naylor replied:
"No, I know. I can look and hear the description and tell you that's exactly what that is. There's a certain way they kill and way they attack."In a typical year in the past, Decatur had seen about five or six pet deaths.

"Once you get 40 pets that are killed by a wild animal, how can you (tell) those 40 citizens that they have to hire somebody? They've only got the legal right to tell the person that they can use their small plot of land" to set traps, he said.
Since last July, 22 coyotes have been killed in the Decatur city limits -- a number that also includes road kill and attacks by dogs. The city catches them live in traps and puts them down, Naylor said. None have been rabid. He estimates there are hundreds around.

Several factors contribute to the coyote boom, he said, including less hunting and more animal rights activism. Yes, humans have encroached on their territory, "but we've also put less pressure on them.

"My personal opinion is that the state gives you the regulations, licenses and permits to deal with them. At what point do you deal with them? I feel like for the citizens that was the responsible move. We're a lot smaller than Huntsville. We had to address the issue."

Tracking coyotes is a "nightmare in the city," Naylor said, because they are observational learners. He makes them sound downright devious.

"A coyote will watch you pull up to your trap every day and know that you're going to be there at that time. That's how they get the pets. They watch your house every day, and once they know you leave at daylight, they don't come back until dark. Your little Chihuahua is out in the back, and it's their next meal.

"It's pretty amazing to me that you think you're safe from an animal that can jump 14 feet" by having a 4-foot chain-link fence, he said.

Not a protected species
Jud Easterwood, biologist at the state wildlife management office in Tanner, said "I can assure you coyotes are becoming a problem" and are clearly having an impact on wildlife.
The animals vary in color -- brown and even black -- and some people think they're seeing a red wolf when it's really a coyote, he said. Coyotes aren't a protected species and there's no hunting limit."They're open for the take," he said, during daylight hours in proper hunting areas.

Lee Kasmeier, a spokesman for North Alabama Wildlife Rehabilitators, said there are places where coyotes could be released in the wild -- such as Bankhead National Forest -- instead of killed."We have plenty of people who would go out of their way to help" relocate them, he said.

In Decatur, Naylor said some people have encouraged him to leave the critters alone."I've had some threats," he said. "I've had some people follow me. If we don't do something, you're going to have citizens shooting irresponsibly or dangerously through the city or setting traps or poison or different illegal means," he said."The last thing you want is a bunch of folks with 30-ought-sixes in your neighborhood shooting at coyotes at night."

In Huntsville
Urban coyotes are common in Huntsville, where they're pretty much left alone.Dr. Karen Hill Sheppard, director of Huntsville's Animal Services department, said there aren't necessarily more but they "have definitely become more visible.It's been pretty stable the 10 years I've been here," she said. "We know where people are most likely to see them -- anywhere along the mountains."

That includes "green corridors" near Monte Sano, Green and Huntsville mountains, plus the golf course on Bailey Cove Road, along Green Cove Road, in ditches along Carl T. Jones Drive and the Research Park area. Some communities like Monte Sano have become quite used to seeing coyotes, she said. In other areas, people are "shocked, like they saw a polar bear."

In consulting with wildlife control experts in other states about the growing number of coyotes, Sheppard learned that "what everyone is doing, by default, is nothing." Tracking them down "is not a wise use of taxpayer resources," she said. "We were never able to trap coyotes, and we're not going to shoot them. They don't go into traps. They are smart, smart, smart, smart.

"Most of our urban coyotes, what they do is stop and stare at you," she said. "I tell people to throw a rock at them, or yell at them. They think they're about to get taken out by a coyote, but they're not."
Sheppard heard about a woman walking a female dog (in heat) and two coyotes followed her. She was also carrying food. Andy Prewett, land manager for Huntsville Land Trust's roughly 6,000 acres, heard a similar report about a hiker with a dog on Monte Sano. The idea of menacing coyotes traveling in packs is "not realistic," he said.

Coyotes will run off with cats and dogs under 10 pounds, especially old or young ones, Sheppard said. If a dog is just injured, though, it's likely something else did it."The coyote would have eaten your dog," she said.Some residents have threatened to shoot coyotes. "We don't recommend that," Sheppard said flatly. It is illegal to fire a gun in the city limits, police spokesman Dr. Harry Hobbs confirmed, punishable by a $500 fine or up to a year in jail.If people are determined to get rid of coyotes, city animal control suggests they hire a private critter-catching company.

'Getting braver'
Chris Banks of Tennessee Valley Wildlife Control, which sells wildlife/pest removal services in North Alabama and Southern Tennessee, said he's probably killed "a couple hundred" coyotes in the last four or five years."They are eating a lot of cats," he said. "They are getting braver."
Near a horse ranch in Madison, he used foot traps and caught a male and a female the first night. "If you see their tracks, I can peg 'em."

He figures coyotes live 10 or 12 years with a good food source.
"They are going to keep multiplying and die of old age," he said.
"I caught one that looked like a wolf, and one that was as big as I was," he said. When he held the animal up by its legs, "its head was hanging past my feet." That was near Elk River.
Something else to think about: Banks figures he's killed 40 or 50 bobcats, too.


john Anderson said...

Are there Coywolves here in Alabama? If so how far south are they found?

Rick Meril said...

Hi John.................At this point, Eastern Coyotes(Coy Wolves) that have 10-15% Eastern Wolf DNA are found south to D.C. and Virginia.................As yearling Coyotes often leave the natal den area in search of their own territories, likely at some point in the future for Coyotes in Alabama to have some strain of Eastern Wolv geneology