Forensic Coyotes, by Walkaboutlou

Good morning Janet,

An interesting event happened on a ranch I patrol.

Coyotes helped us solve a mystery. And crime.

The situation has taken weeks to unfold, but thanks to hard work, intense scouting, and persistence, it’s over thankfully.

This ranch has over 4000 acres. It has allowed Coyotes to coexist for 3 human generations. The patriarch of this ranch knows the coyotes, literally. He knows packs, individuals and territory. He knows his ranges and livestock and dogs. His land abuts BLM lands, and has abundant wildlife, including wolves, cougar, bear. His family follows his traditions. It’s an incredible place.

At issue was his cows started losing calves. An unusual amount lost without a trace.

So we literally started scouting/tracking/patrolling every square foot of 4000 acres for clues. His instructions-specifically look for any scat. Particularly coyote scat. Why? His words- ” A lot of things can be happening. We’ve got bear and cougar. Maybe wolves have discovered Fall calving areas. Maybe dogs are raiding. But 2 things I know-1)the cows are calm. They aren’t acting like a predator is around. And 2) whatever is taking calves, the coyote scat would tell me where. Nobody kills without coyote scavenging. The coyote will tell me where calves are lost/killed by the scat.”

So we spent weeks combing the land. Lost more new calves. We found cougar, bear, and wolf scat. We found coyote scat by the hundreds scattered and honestly presented. Not a single calf hair or part was found. Nothing.

The rancher made this conclusion-“coyote eat and scavenge everything out here. We’re not losing calves to predators. I have another suspicion.”

So trail cams were moved. And old driveways, roads patrolled.

Eventually, the mystery was solved. It was humans. Poachers. Efficient. Quiet. Humans. They would drive in secretly in 4 wheelers or on foot. Shoot new calves with .22 rifle. Hoist calf over fence to waiting vehicle. And leave. No trace of kill. No parts for Coyote to scavenge. Ironically, the poachers where same men who vehemently stated wolves, cougars, bear and coyote were responsible.

Calm Cows, and Coyote scat aroused the Ranchers suspicions. Intense scouting and tracking confirmed animals weren’t cause. Again coyote scat verified.

Trail cams and law enforcement finished the case. And found the calf killers. Poachers. Humans.

The patriarch said this in conclusion “my coyote tell me everything. If you listen and take the time, they’ll tell you everything. They are my 1st watchdogs. They tell me if wolves come through. They haven’t bothered my livestock for decades. They respect my LGD. And their scat literally shows me everything they eat and what’s going on. Not a single calf hair for 2 months. No animal can hide food from coyote. No animal can take calves without a trace. Except a human. The coyote told me it wasn’t wolves bear or cougar. It was men.”

So…Coyote Scat was a factor in catching poachers.
Truly, animals can show us worlds within worlds. If we allow it and take time.

Calm Cows and Coyote scat cleared suspicions, proved who it wasn’t, and led us to a conclusion. A human conclusion proved by trail cams and law enforcement

Maybe coyote should work for forensics.


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jo Thompson
    Nov 15, 2019 @ 13:31:33

    WOW! Incredible story. Thank you for sharing.


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Nov 15, 2019 @ 19:17:53

      People who KNOW coyotes can’t be hoodwinked; it’s folks who DON’T know coyotes who malign them and are duped by other people’s stories about them. Here it’s obvious that both the rancher and Lou KNOW coyotes. :))

  2. Bobbie Pyron
    Nov 15, 2019 @ 14:59:12

    Wow, that’s an amazing story! I love it!


  3. environmentalhealthpolicy
    Nov 16, 2019 @ 20:57:07

    Wow, that’s really interesting! I’m so glad you caught the poachers and protected the cows. So many people would have jumped to conclusions and gone after the coyotes or other predators. I’m sure that’s what these poachers were counting on! What a thoughtful and perceptive way to interact with the animals around you!


  4. Gail
    Nov 20, 2019 @ 03:34:30

    Awesome! Thank you for sharing. I’d like to share it, too!


  5. Hilary Cole
    Nov 20, 2019 @ 16:49:46

    Hi Janet.. Thanks for sharing this amazing story from Lou .. it’s so good to know that they didn’t just assume wildlife were responsible. A Rancher who definitely understands the wildlife around him. 💖


  6. Patricia Stock
    Nov 21, 2019 @ 02:52:48

    What a smart rancher. You can tell he is one with the land. Thank you sir.


  7. Sue fish
    Nov 21, 2019 @ 14:22:41

    This a a great story. Wonderful to read about a rancher who coexists with wildlife and has appreciation for the benefits they contribute to his farm. Kudos


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