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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, April 29, 2014

I offer a "tip of the hat" to New Hampshire Outdoor Writer John Harrigan who appeals to my "simple man mentality" of respecting the resourceful Eastern Coyote, the ultimate survivor in the Eastern Forests of the Northeast................John gets the fact that he has to keep an eye on his dog, especially at dawn and dusk when Eastern Coyotes are active, rejects the common and ignorant clarion cry for Coyote Control,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,recognizes that the generations of people before us allowed the Coyote to march East due to the fact that they killed off all the Wolves and Pumas in the name of Sheep farms..............John(and many of us reading this Post) finds it confounding that we succumb to the whims of deer hunters in saturating our forests with "Bambi" when there are so many of them now that our woods are not regenerating in all their biological magnificence.......... He expects a little rationale thought from his fellow citizens as it relates to the obvious---- Coyotes are not "the devil in disguise"............Despite how many Deer the Coyotes take, the deer keep on reproducing with no significant hit to their numbers....................And finally, Harrigan's "clarion trumpet salute" to the fact that at some point, The Eastern Wolf and Puma just might sneak back in and complement the Black Bears and Coyotes in their job of keeping the forest green and vibrant.............As John states-----"Why do we worship the wolf, with its soulful howl, as a symbol of conservation and everything we supposedly love about the wild, but on the other hand regard the coyote, "The Trickster," the wolf's close cousin, as nothing more than a rat at the dump?"

John Harrigan: Why hate the coyote but worship the wolf?


On a morning enveloped by fog, or maybe a low-flying cloud, I could see no farther than the pasture across the road. The dog, Millie, perhaps the most spoiled dog north of the notches, had to go out, and I followed for her protection.
These days, with two coyote families all around, hungry from winter, I stay with her, particularly at the edges of dawn and dusk. She would be nothing more than a snack. Think "Millie on a toothpick," with olives.
Periodically, there are clarion calls to "do something" about coyotes. This connotes that (a) there is a mission of sorts, and (b) any "do something" initiative would work.

I don't get the (a) part. The collective "we" created a vacant niche when we finally, around 1900, managed to persecute the Northeastern wolf to near oblivion. We did this during a time when the landscape was more than half cleared for subsistence farming and for the hard money that sheep could bring.
The cleared landscape was not about cows, as many people continue to think, it was about sheep. Their legacy was the stone walls we stumble over deep in the woods today.

We are now at around 83 percent forested and have set the table for high-end predators (mountain lions, wolves) to attend the banquet. Why should we be surprised if the guests appear?
I don't understand this fixation on persecuting the coyote while wrapping ourselves in the righteous mission of having more deer. To me, the habitat in most of the state is about as full of deer as it can be.
Coyote kills occur in public when the coyotes are ravenous near the end of winter and the deer, confined to the yards, are most susceptible. Every year about this time, I get mail from people distraught about seeing this little drama carry itself out on the ice, the deer splayed, the coyotes circling and then tearing way. But both species seem to emerge in the spring, just about now, to go about raising their young.
Evidence suggests that the red wolf, whose genes today's coyotes in the Northeast carry, will eventually occupy its ancestral range.

This fosters the question: Why do we worship the wolf, with its soulful howl, as a symbol of conservation and everything we supposedly love about the wild, but on the other hand regard the coyote, "The Trickster," the wolf's close cousin, as nothing more than a rat at the dump?
John Harrigan's address: Box 39, Colebrook, NH 03576, or


david annderson said...

I love Coyotes! How can anyone not love these adorable wild dogs, so much a part of the lore of the West, which have kept the continent's ecosystems healthy in the absence of the slowly-returning Wolf?

Rick Meril said...

Dave............appreciate your readership and comments over the past couple of days