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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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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Massachusetts Biologist Jon Way responding to the recent NY Times op ed article about why Deer must be controlled------Jon making a case that the Eastern Coyote(Coywolf) might in fact be mitigating the out-of-control white tail deer population east of the Mississippi.

From: Jon Way ;
To: New York Times <>; "" <>
Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 9:36 AM
Subject: Response to Bambi Must Go article

Daniel Cristol's article "Bambi Must Go" details that deer numbers have increased to detrimental levels because deer have no natural predators, human hunting has declined rapidly, and we provide favorable habitat for them. While most of his article was accurate, deer do have a natural predator on the east coast especially in the Northeast. The rapidly colonizing eastern coyotes are actually wolf hybrids. The original eastern (or red) wolf that lived in most of the Northeast was likely a small type of coyote-like wolf and genetic research by my team shows that these "coywolves" have genes from both western coyotes and eastern wolves. Thus, the eastern coyote is bigger and better able to predate on deer.

Eastern Coyote

In fact, many states (like Maine) and regions (the Adirondacks) are crying that "coyotes" are ruining deer hunting in their state. Scientific research does show that eastern coyotes/coywolves do prey on deer and not just fawns, but in the wintertime on yearlings and adults as well. I bet coyotes on the east coast are already having an effect on deer without most realizing it. I would argue that we should nurture this opportunity to coexist with coyotes/coywolves and give them the chance to fulfill their ecological role which includes preying on deer, even in urban areas. Research shows that they are rarely a danger to people and simple things like leaving cats inside, leashing dogs, and not feeding them encourages them to behave naturally which involves living in social packs (yes even in the suburbs) and preying on natural prey and avoiding people.

Because they do well near us, eastern coyotes/coywolves are more likely to be a more effective predator of deer in urbanized areas than wolves or mountain lions would ever be. I bet they are already having an effect, similar to wolves preying on elk in Yellowstone, if we just give them a chance. Meanwhile most states allow them to be killed with few restrictions for most or all of the year. This is no way to treat an ecologically important animal that can do the dirty work of removing deer for us, all free of charge.

Jonathan Way, Ph.D., Eastern Coyote Research, Cape Cod, MA
            The writer is the author of Suburban Howls, an account of studying eastern coyotes in the suburban wilds of Massachusetts. His webpage ( details his research on this animal.

 Please visit my new website "My Yellowstone Experience" (, as well as my eastern coyote/coywolf site ( where you can purchase my book Suburban Howls ( and support creating a wildlife watching refuge in the town of Barnstable (

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