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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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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Good to know that in one of our earliest colonial settled Northeast regions, The Hudson River Valley(extending from Albany NY south to Westchester County, adjacent to NYC), sound and prudent advice on how to co-exist with the Eastern Coyote(Coywolf) is being dispensed by many different authorities................In the article below, Dr. Paul Curtis of Cornell University, a biologist who has been studying Coyotes in the NY region for the past decade, has this advice and commentary for us about Man and Coyote coexistence-------"Out of 40 coyotes I had collared in Westchester County, only one got in trouble cavorting with dogs for about 2 weeks during the breeding season(Late Jan-March)"..................."I don’t think coyotes are becoming more aggressive"............. "However, in areas where they are not hunted or trapped (suburbia), they can habituate to the presence of people"................"Even in Westchester County, coyotes used primarily natural areas and ate a natural diet (deer, rodents, etc.)".............. "We rarely found garbage or other anthropogenic food sources in over 500 coyote scats we analyzed"............."More daytime sights of coyotes usually are an indication of potential habituation to people"........."Coyotes are very territorial and will kill small dogs in their home range if given the chance"............. "Coyotes rarely take house cats"................. "Again,out of more than 500 scats examined, only 3 contained hairs from house cats"......... "They stay away from cats for the most part, probably because cats have teeth and claws"......................"Remove any potential food attractants"............ "When walking small dogs, keep them nearby on a leash"......... "If a coyote does become aggressive, shout, yell, and throw sticks or rocks at it"..........................."Coyotes are here to stay and we have to learn to live with them"............... "Again,removing food attractants and minimizing habituation is the best we can do"............. "If a(specific individual) animal causes severe problems, have it removed by a Wildlife Control Operator"............ "Just killing coyotes randomly will have little impact on their numbers or potential conflicts(with humans)

The Hudson Valley comprises the valley of the Hudson River and its adjacent communities in the U.S. state of New York, from the cities of Albany and Troy southward to Yonkers in Westchester County

At the time of the arrival of the first Europeans in the 17th century, the area of Hudson Valley was inhabited primarily by the Algonquian-speaking Mahican and Munsee Native American people, known collectively as River Indians.

The first Dutch settlement was in the 1610s with the establishment of Fort Nassau, a trading post (factorij) south of modern-day Albany, with the purpose of exchanging European goods for beaver pelts. Fort Nassau was later replaced by Fort Orange. During the rest of the 17th century, the Hudson Valley formed the heart of the New Netherland colony operations, with the New Amsterdam settlement on Manhattan serving as a post for supplies and defense of the upriver operations.

During the French and Indian War in the 1750s, the northern end of the valley became the bulwark of the British defense against French invasion from Canada via Lake Champlain.

The valley became one of the major regions of conflict during the American Revolution. Part of the early strategy of the British was to sever the colonies in two by maintaining control of the river.
Following the building of the Erie Canal, the area became an important industrial center. The canal opened the Hudson Valley and New York City to commerce with the Midwest and Great Lakes regions. However, in the mid 20th century, many of the industrial towns went into decline.

In the early 19th century, popularized by the stories of Washington Irving, the Hudson Valley gained a reputation as a somewhat gothic region inhabited by the remnants of the early days of the Dutch colonization of New York (see, e.g., The Legend of Sleepy Hollow). The area is associated with the Hudson River School, a group of American Romantic painters who worked from about 1830 to 1870.

The natural beauty of the Hudson Valley has earned the Hudson River the nickname "America's Rhineland",[15][16] a comparison to the famous 40 mile (65 km) stretch of Germany's Rhine River valley between the cities of Bingen and Koblenz. A similar 30-mile (48 km) stretch of the east bank in Dutchess and Columbia counties has been designated a National Historic Landmark

The Eastern Coyote(Coywolf) in many shades, some more wolf looking, some more coyote looking






Headed up by Dr. Paul Curtis
  His research interests include wildlife damage
 management in urban and agricultural landscapes,
 wildlife fertility control, and resolving community
-based wildlife issues.  Extension programming has
 included public policy education and a variety of
 wildlife-related publications and videotapes.  Dr.
 is  co-principal investigator of the portion of the
 study concerning coyote behavioral ecology.


Over the last several decades, coyote
 (Canis latrans)
 populations have spread eastward, sometimes
 into populated areas. This continuous range
 expansion coupled with constant development
and human
 population growth has led to a marked increase
 in human/coyote interactions.
With an increase in the number of interactions
comes an increased potential for human/coyote
 This potential has garnered the attention of
 communities, wildlife professionals, and
 researchers in the
 northeast. For example, the New York
 State Department of Environmental
 Conservation (DEC) has
 recorded increasing numbers of complaints
about coyotes from residents in suburban
 areas around the
To provide communities and managers
 with the tools needed to make informed
 management decisions,
 the DEC and Cornell University are
conducting a multi-year study. We will
investigate a variety of issues
 surrounding suburb dwelling coyote
 populations and human/coyote
 interactions. The study will include
 research into the behavior of suburb
 dwelling coyotes and well as the
 attitudes and behaviors of people
 in areas where coyotes live. You
can find a more detailed description
 of the study methods below.

 the research team
 will document the behavior of coyotes
 by measuring home range size,
 habitat use, movement patterns,
and den-site selection.
Coyotes will be safely captured and
 equipped with VHF or GPS tracking
 collars. Each coyote will be
 marked with ear tags (color coded
 and numbered) for later identification
by researchers and residents.
 Capture locations will be monitored
 once a day at a minimum, and checked
more frequently relative to
 the proximity of people and pets in the
In conjunction with the movement data,
 diet analyses will be conducted to
 determine food sources used
 by the local coyote population
. Researchers will sample transects
 regularly for coyote scat (fecal material),
 and analyze it for composition of
undigested food items. This information
 will help to evaluate coyote use
 of suburban areas.

The human dimensions aspect of the
study is designed to evaluate the
 interests of various stakeholders.
This component of the research
will include a series of informant
interviews and surveys. To begin
this process, discussions with
community members who have
encountered coyotes, and
interviews with various town and
 county official will be conducted.
This information will be used to
 formulate citizen surveys designed
 to assess
 the public’s beliefs, attitudes, and b
ehaviors toward coyotes.

Interested parties can assist this
 study in a variety of ways
. Researchers will need access
 to private and public
 lands for coyote capture and
 other monitoring activities. As
 part of the human dimensions
work, community
 members may be contacted by
one of our researchers and asked
 to participate in the study through
 or surveys.
Now that a number of coyotes
 have been collared and tagged,
community members can help
with coyote
 observation. Coyote sighting
 information from residents will
be vital to the study. You can
 report coyote
 sightings on this website by
 submitting a form through the
“Sightings” link. Important
information to record
 includes: date, time, street
address, ear tag color and
 number, total number of
 coyotes seen, and a brief
description of observed behavior.

The initial phase of this study
 will provide important insight
 into the ecology of suburban
-dwelling coyotes and
 their interactions with people.
It is anticipated that a
 comprehensive understanding
 of these circumstances will
 lead to management decision
s that can help avoid human/
coyote interactions with
 significant negative


Bob Beyfuss: This is what you need to know about coyotes in the Hudson Valley and Catskills regions

A reader from Windham sent this photo of a coyote to Bob Beyfuss. Photo provided

My column on Coyotes a few days ago
ago provoked quite a bit of email
 as well as some beautiful pictures. 
Thanks for send them to me! People
 seem to be pretty divided on whether
 these local residents are helpful or
 harmful. A student reporter in the
 Hudson Valley area sent me the 
following questions which I 
forwarded to Dr. Paul Curtis, 
Cornell University Cooperative
 Extension Wildlife specialist. I 
think his answers are worth sharing
 with you.
1. Coyotes have been breeding and
 raising their pups in areas with
 increased human contact, do you
 think pups being born into this
 setting are making them more of 
a threat to us because they’re seeing
 humans as less of a threat?
If coyotes don’t see people as a threat,
 they are smart and can definitely 
to our presence. Also, people either 
intentionally (or unintentionally) 
feeding coyotes (e.g., pet food left 
outdoors overnight) can facilitate 
habituation and lead to conflicts. 
That said, only a very small
 percentage of coyotes ever have
 conflicts with people. Out of 40 
coyotes I had collared in Westchester
 County, only one got in trouble 
cavorting with dogs for about 2 week
s during breeding season.

2. Coyotes are protected by
 environmental law. However, local 
hunters can now be paid to hunt them 
to control the population. Do you think
 that this is necessary? Do you think 
that people should be allowed to hunt 
them for a longer period than November
 to March?
Yes, coyotes are protected game animals 
and furbearers. I’m not aware of any 
bounties on coyotes in New York State. 
However, there are coyote-killing contests
, where hunters taking the most coyotes 
in a weekend can win prizes. I don’t see any
 need to expand the existing coyote season.
 If coyotes are causing conflicts, or 
threatening safety or property, they can 
be taken at any time of the year with a 
depredation permit. Also, Wildlife Control
 Operators can take problem animals at any 
time if hired by a landowner.
3. Recent reports have portrayed that 
coyotes have become increasingly more 
aggressive. Do you think that the
 behavioral changes are due to the 
availability of human food and garbage?
 Or because it is breeding season? Or both?
I don’t think coyotes are becoming more 
aggressive. However, in areas where they 
are not hunted or trapped (suburbia) they 
can habituate to the presence of people. 

Even in Westchester County, coyotes used
 primarily natural areas and ate a natural diet 
(deer, rodents, etc.). We rarely found 
garbage or other anthropogenic food sources
 in over 500 coyote scats we analyzed.

4. Many locals have lost their pets and
 livestocks to coyotes more recently than
 usual. Also in New Paltz, there has been 
mores sightings of them on roads and even
 during the day time. Why do you think this is?
More daytime sights of coyotes usually are an 
indication of potential habituation to people. 
Although livestock kills do happen, they are
 not all that common in New York state. It is
 not nearly as common as out west. The pets
 of greatest risk are small dogs. Coyotes are 
very territorial and will kill small dogs in their
 home range if given the chance. Coyotes rarely
 take house cats. Again, out of more than 50
0 scats examined, only 3 contained hairs from
 house cats. They stay away from cats for the 
most part, probably because cats have teeth 
and claws.

5. Have you or anyone you know lost a pet/
livestock to a coyote recently?
No, I don’t know anyone personally. I have 
heard several reports of attacks on small dogs
, but nothing recent.

6. What precautions do you recommend 
locals take in order to prevent coyote attacks
, or what to do when one occurs?
Remove any potential food attractants. When
 walking small dogs, keep them nearby on a 
leash. If a coyote does become aggressive
, shout, yell, and throw sticks or rocks at it. 
If it is not rabid, it will flee. Rabid coyotes
 can be aggressive and unpredictable.

7. Do you think that there is any solution in
 controlling their population? Or perhaps, a 
method in decreasing coyotes’ growing 
aggressive and fearless behavior?
Managers have tried to reduce coyote 
numbers out west for decades with no 
success, even using poisons and aerial 
gunning (which would never be used in
 the Eastern U.S.). Coyotes are here to 
stay, and we have to learn to live with 
them. Again, removing food attractants 
and minimizing habituation is the best
 we can do. If an animal causes severe 
problems, have it removed by a Wildlife
 Control Operator. Just killing coyotes 
randomly will have little impact on their 
numbers or potential conflicts.

Bob Beyfuss lives and gardens in Schoharie
 County. Garden Tips appears Fridays. Send
 him an e-mail to

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