Coyotes on a KY Farm, by Barbara Scott Knupp

Hi —

Since moving to our KY farm 2 years ago, I’ve become intrigued by our coyote neighbors and thankful to find your blog, Yipps. The observations of you and Mr. Wood add greatly to my understanding of the animal. I marvel at the photos and videos. It’s a rare occasion when I actually see a coyote and my efforts at wildlife photography are dismal, to say the least.

In recent days I responded to Mr. Wood’s interesting observations with a story of a coyote caught on my game camera in the past few days. I’ve attached the photos with a request that you share with Mr. Wood and others if the photos are of any interest in documenting the animals and their habits.

The camera sits on a tractor path which runs through our farm (about 1/2 mile) ending at our neighbor’s hay field. The camera is attached to a tree near the back of the farm. It faces a soybean field. The tree is part of a tree line separating our farm from a vacant, overgrown field. I set up the camera in the Spring and was rewarded with shots of deer, turkeys, raccoons, squirrels, a bobcat, and brief glimpses on occasion of a coyote trotting by — usually a paw or a tail. However, by late Summer, I no longer captured any photos with the camera! Possibly due to the drought, wildlife seemed to take a different path. I soon discovered a coyote was visiting our nearby corn field, instead.

Then the rains came. I saw a large deer print on the path and thus put the camera back out. The camera takes 12 photos — I don’t have a chip in — and all of the photos were of a coyote who seems interested in an ear of corn — possibly dropped by another animal. Attached are 2 photos. However, I also had photos of the coyotes (mostly shots of tail or a foot) from 8 pm to 1 am. I wonder what was so interesting on that path. Last night I got another coyote photo in the same spot — however it appears to be a different coyote and I wonder if it has a scar on its leg? I also have observed several scat along the path — some of which includes berries and dark hair.

This I really can’t add any knowledge but offer the photos of KY coyotes and wonder what is so interesting along the path??

Thank you — Barbara

PS: Oh, my husband looked at the photos and thinks its not corn but part of a corn shuck – I still think there was a small cob there  – now its gone.   If just part of a corn shuck, maybe the coyote saw it float through the air before landing on the path.  Who knows??

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. yipps
    Oct 10, 2012 @ 20:41:25

    Hi Barbara —
    Wow, it does look like a gash on that coyote’s leg!

    My first thought about the interest in the “cobb” or “husk” is simple curiosity. However, from 8:00 pm to 1:00 am sure is a long time to be curious about something so simple! It’s fascinating! Janet


  2. Barbara Knupp
    Oct 10, 2012 @ 21:53:54

    Thank you for posting the photos! I wonder how the one in the 3rd photo got that gash on its leg – slipping through a fence possibly? There are wire fenced cattle farms in the vicinity. I suspect a fight would result in obvious wounds to the face. Do you see any physical differences between the KY coyotes and those further west? According to my old book on American Mammals, copyright in the 1960s, there are no coyotes in KY. Coyotes have certainly been on the move in recent years.


  3. Charles Wood
    Oct 11, 2012 @ 11:13:10

    Just a wild guess, but is there a chance there was any gasoline on that corn husk? Maybe that coyote is getting high?


  4. Barbara knupp
    Oct 12, 2012 @ 00:53:05

    While I didn’t smell anything, the farm equipment is rather old so wouldn’t be surprised if there were some fuel or oil drips. I caught some coyote photos on the camera last Spring but by Summer there was no longer any sign of them on the path until now. I suspected its den was in a wooded area across the road but now I’m curious about the vacant field adjacent to the path.


  5. Charles Wood
    Oct 12, 2012 @ 18:38:13

    Spring through Summer is pupping season. If you have a breeding pair, they would be very active around their den during Spring and into early Summer. My coyotoes aren’t as active around their den area as Summer progresses. For most of Fall and Winter I don’t see my coyotes much. I didn’t see them last year after August 31, not seeing them again until they re-occupied their den area as Spring approached.

    As to a den, it’s for pupping, not sleeping. The area a coyote uses for a den may also have cover that they sleep in from time to time. But as far as the den itself, they don’t actually go in it except when giving birth and weaning puppies. The den is much like a bird’s nest, where it is abandoned when it isn’t needed for the puppies.

    My coyotes’ den area has boundaries. There is one side that provides easier access, the other sides are fenced with lots of brush. Fences and brush don’t trap a coyote. But the easy route in and out is the likely path for an intruder where it is easier to keep an eye on the one easy route in than on the entire 360 degrees. So the vacant lot may be more attractive as a den area than the woods.


  6. Barbara knupp
    Oct 13, 2012 @ 12:42:47

    Wow now this really added to my understanding of coyote behavior. Very informative. In the neighbors field at the end of the tractor path sits a small open structure where the neighbor hangs tobacco to dry after harvest in Fall. Otherwise it stands deserted and the surrounding ground is overgrown with weeds in Summer. The path to the structure is washed out and rocky. Not exactly inviting to visit. I’ve been told that in the past coyotes used a hole under the floor as a den. Once the tobacco plants are up, wildlife seem to avoid the neibhors tobacco field across the street. However, I often see deer there in early Spring and Fall when the field is clean. The coyote passes through the area but I’ve never seen it in the tobacco field. Guess there’s nothing to hunt there but wonder if they are also avoiding the plants.


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