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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, January 15, 2013

The yokels in upstate New York who are making inane statements that there are too many Coyotes versus the number of deer in the region need a primer on what once was a wolf, puma, black bear, fisher, marten, bobcat, lynx, suite of carnivores all figuring out how to dine on deer without driving them to the brink................So the fact that there are bears, coyotes and bobcats(fishers do not account for much, lynx are gone,,,,,,,,,,,marten are scarce) eating a % of deer fawns and the sporadic adult deer in winter makes it quite clear that we have lazy human hunters in the Empire State who somehow feel it is their right to see deer in every sector of the forest................Wake up New Yorkers----Coyotes only partially fulfill the services of Eastern Wolves-----------------As we have seen from John Laundre and others over the past weeks, plenty of deer for all the big carnivores to come back onto the NY scene.............'IF YOU CAN MAKE IT IN NY, YOU CAN MAKE IT ANYWHERE---Frank Sinatra

Coyote Numbers: Too Many Per Deer?
Peter Hamilton;
CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY, NY- The sun goes down. The moon comes up. The nocturnal arise. Far off in the distance, a chilling howl is heard; an increasing yipping and yapping sound. At first, to the listener, naturally it could be faraway dogs.
Or not. If the sound is a high-pitched yelping, it is most likely the peculiar call of Canis latrans — the coyote. In Latin, it means "barking dog". Many Chautauqua County residents are familiar with the extraordinary series of short, yelping notes, and they are not that of their neighbor's dog barking. Moreover, for many of those who live in the countryside, the scientific Latin name is not the word they would use to describe "the nuisance of coyotes."

What they, those coyotes, call themselves, is presumably known only to them.The coyote is a very vocal animal. Robert Blades, a national wildlife expert, and a licensed commercial wildlife trapper, says that the coyote has one of the most sophisticated vocalized specialization of that of other animals. Including, he writes, that of whales."A coyote's bark, growl, yip, and whine is used to let other pack members know where it is," Blades said. Coyotes also use short barks to warn of danger. Other vocalizations include growls when establishing dominance, whining and whimpering when males and females are establishing bonds and high-pitched barks to summon puppies, says Blades.

Their shrewd cry discriminates several purposes: to call in the pack, beckon a mate or announce their territory. The calls are most commonly heard at dusk, or at night, and occasionally in the daytime. Although their call is year-round, it is heard most often during mating season, February through March. Or, as in the fall, when it is time for the pups to leave and establish new territories. When a coyote wants to call the pack together, it howls at one high note. When the pack is together, it howls even higher and shriller.

Like the way they do when it's time to pack-hunt food. But what do they eat?
"Almost anything," according to the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. However, "For the past 30 years," according to SUNY, "deer have dominated winter diets."And summer suggests that account, because the "coyote's summer diets also consist of deer." At other times, coyotes prey on beaver, and in lesser amounts, snowshoe hare. Mice, if they are plentiful. In the late summer, if deer and other prey are unavailable, they could eat insects and berries. Occasionally, "rabbits, woodchucks, and small mammals. However, the report says, "depending upon the nature of the habitat," coyotes take only a "small percent of deer" during that plentiful season.

That position — the one about coyotes not hunting deer during the summer — might be a matter of opinion. Some hunters are convinced that coyotes are limiting the abundance of deer. A subjective anecdote exists by those disgruntled wild-game hunters that a coyote is competitive.
Ed Martin, member of HuntingNet, feels the coyote population is out of control in Western New York.
"The DEC doesn't think it's that much of a problem," Martin said. "But when I have large 'Yotes' walking though my backyard in the middle of the day, I think it is."

Ed, like many other hunters, shares his sentiment regarding coyote numbers with those who feel that the coyote has an unfair advantage in taking deer quota, meaning the number of deer within a game hunter's licensed ration. In other words, supported by Ed Martin, a coyote is competitive and has an inequitable lead against that of a licensed hunter's permit rations.

Is the 2012 deer population in Western New York larger, or less than, in previous years? Will hunters have less deer game to ration? About the same, or, a little more, implied the New York State Department of Environmental Control (NYSDEC) in 2011.
"We anticipate modest population growth coming into the 2012 season and will issue about 20 percent more DMPs to hold the population near the objective level," predicted the NYSDEC report.
White-tail deer hunt numbers are controlled by New York State issued Deer Management Permits (DMP). The New York State Department of Environmental Control (NYSDEC) calculates there are approximately 1.8 million deer in the state. The 2011 deer population in Chautauqua County was over 20,000, says a computation by the NYSDEC.

The DEC sets aside property into Wildlife Management Units (WMU), commonly referred to as "state land". In a 2010-2011 census by The New York DEC, it said that 230,000 antler and "antlerless" deer were "harvested" during that season. Within each WMU, there is a Buck Take Objective (BTO); or, the ratio of kill per square mile. In 2011, the BTO ratio for the "state lands" in Chautauqua County was "8.5 deer per harvested mile".

Does that figure support the perception that the coyote is taking more deer?
Objectively, the notion that an inequitable ratio of deer to coyote exists could be supported with information from the NYSDEC. The department suggests that deer may now comprise "more of the diet" with the coyote population "than previously accounted."

What about the coyote populations?
"The Eastern coyote is firmly established in New York," said Megan Gollwitzer of the NYSDEC. She says Coyotes have had "an accountable presence" in Western New York "for about 70 years." The DEC estimates that there are currently 30,000-35,000 coyotes statewide.
Coyotes, like many of their relatives in the animal genus, canis, are territorial carnivores, often hunting in groups numbering upwards to nine members. Deer, like their Odocoileus genus relatives, are browsing feeders, grazing together in pairs, and often in herds of six and up. The territorial range for coyote pack hunting, according to environmental reports, has diminished. The natural grazing opportunities for deer have been reduced, say agricultural reports. It is a commonly accepted fact that the natural animal world — that of both coyote and deer — and the man-made world, are encroached.
White-tailed deer that live in a good habitat (grasses, open pasture, corn stubble) can be expected to graze in numbers of about two dozen within a limited 300-400 acre vicinity; an area approximately three-quarters of a mile square.

According to National Wildlife figures, the average circumference range of an Eastern coyote, Canis latrans, is between three and eight miles; an area about 3,600 acres. According to the US Census Bureau, there are 1,060 square miles of land in Chautauqua County (excluding 438 square miles of water).A deductive ratio could place a small number deer with a large radius of a coyote pack. Or, about four deer to each coyote.

Does this mean coyotes will seek out deer as their exclusive prey?
"Maybe," suggests Tim Mullard, a New York State licensed Nuisance Wildlife Control Officer. (NYSWCO) "The coyote population in the county is abundant. The coyotes in the Chautauqua county area can travel greater distances than that of coyotes in other national areas."
Mullard said they have a larger hunting scope. He consulted a reference table and accounted, they average about an 18.2-mile range. That would be a span three times the radius of other, non-Chautauqua County coyotes.

Will coyotes become a competitive hunter to human hunters? "They can be," says Bill Blancer who is also a NYSWCO from the Mayville area. "Coyotes are pretty clever animals. They hunt in packs, or a rout." Mullard reflected on whether coyotes will become a significant challenger to the number of Deer Management Permits. "Not necessarily," he said. He describes coyotes as "opportunistic." They are also scavengers. He also said that they hunt the easiest food available to them. They seek animals they find in their range.

"But, they don't usually kill adult deer," he added. "And, if they do, they may not finish the hunt."
Is the future of deer management in juxtaposition with coyote populations at risk? According to a 2011 NYSDEC report, "There is plenty of deer for hunting in Chautauqua County. The deer harvest in 9J has been right at objective levels since 2006."

To-date, the 2012 harvest season report has not yet been released.

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