The Chess of Pupping Season, by Walkaboutlou

Hello Janet,

Spring is here with erratic weather and wild swings. And locally we are seeing coyote tactics like never before. And more coyote then ever.

The changes are a culmination of 2 years of massive wildfires changing the land, wolf pressure and prey abundance. We really can’t say what this means long term. But we do see coyote have reacted INSTANLTY to changes.

It’s challenging to describe but I will try. The Cascade mountains east of us had all forests lost, right up to the foothills of ranges and ranches. The land there is barren and burnt and open. It’s actually been reseeded, but the saplings wont be forest for decades. It’s hundreds of miles of scorched trunks. 

For the resident wolves…it meant leaving and finding any forests and woods they could. There are only a few packs regionally…so it was relatively easy to find new territory. However, it does mean wolves claim vast areas for denning, hunting and raising pups. This means 0 tolerance for any coyote found by wolf packs.

The coyote flawlessly responded by converging upon these newly barren vast areas. We couldn’t figure out why so many pairs were clearly staking these devasted areas as home until we realized….voles. There are hundreds of thousands of voles filling up every nook and cranny you can think of. The fires destroyed old growth woods but there is an explosion of grasses and plants and the voles are having generations of buffet living. The coyote literally are feasting on a cyclic vole boom. And they have come for miles. 

Wolves pretty much avoid such exposed open country crisscrossed with logging roads. The coyote literally just disappear in the maze of stumps that go to horizon.

In this scenario…Kinky Tail and her new Mate left the foothill ranch and went to a scorched castle of rock nearly 9 stories high and on private land. She pupped in this labyrinth of Rock towers and she and her Mate can see for miles. They forage for voles and stay at the rocks.

As we patrol…we routinely come across coyote. My pack are trained to stay together and literally push through, creating space. Unlike city areas….we have to engage here. But it’s very natural. The coyote give way to the hills and woods on ranchlands in foothills…and we do our fence patrols.

Final observations made on Kinky’s denning strategy. To our shock…Kinky has been joined by the elderly blind Slim Jim her father. Why he left his bison ranch sanctuary and how he made it to his daughter (over 8 miles away) we can never know. Did young Kinky go fetch her Father? Or did he somehow smell her, and want her company? 

Slim Jim, old and blind…is obviously with the den. Kinky is already leaving him to pup sit while she leaves for voles. Her Mate is standoffish but accepts Slim. Slim has also been seen both hunting voles and begging returning daughter. We suspect she feeds him. 

What a denning season. More coyote seen then ever in the Burns. And Slim Jim…with Daughter Kinky Tail…raising pups in a fortress of rock towers. 

For early season dens…its Coyote adaptations and Puppy Chess. And for an ancient Slim…the joy of pups.

Sincerely, 

Lou

PS-the pic of coyote is Kinkys Mate. He followed and glowered at my pack some miles but we have an understanding. We must make our patrols but….we are leaving and powerful and calm. He reads our messages and escorts us..at a distance. This is how my pack travels the ranges and co exists with coyote in mutual..tentative understanding during pup season. 

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gina
    Apr 22, 2022 @ 03:15:46

    I’ve been wondering how Kinky Tail was doing, and fearing that Slim Jim had left this earth by now. It’s great to get this update and see yet again the amazing ways that coyote adapt. Thank you for updating us! These updates are more exciting and addictive than any movie or TV series!

    Reply

  2. Jo Thompson
    Apr 22, 2022 @ 12:05:29

    I absolutely soak in whatever WalkaboutLou shares. His stories and images are incredible and priceless.

    Reply

  3. Lynette Yetter
    Apr 25, 2022 @ 13:47:19

    It’s beautiful to read that a coyote family is so much like a human family that cares for its infirm elders.

    Reply

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