Food For Thought, by Walkaboutlou

Hello Janet.

Recently I stopped by a spot to take a break with dogs. It’s country but by no means quiet. An isolated factory on one side, a major highway on other. Sandwiched between them is a strip of forest and a small swampy area.

I was literally eating lunch standing there dogs around when a blactailed doe came pronking towards us. Tongue hanging and sides heaving…she had obviously been running hard. 

She blasted away and I put my pack in a stay. These kind of things happen often out here. I thought little more. Finished lunch and walked a little. We were in a rise overseeing swampy spot when I saw her again moving strangely.

I realized..2 coyote were working her. She sought water but it wasn’t deep enough. We didn’t interfere. My pics are terrible..very far. But within a few short minutes they took her down.

Many people get mad at scenes like this. But coyote are predators. And they will rise to the occasion and hunt deer.

Terrible pics very far with phone…but..you get this gist.

Not all coyote. Many coyote are chased off and turn tail from healthy adult deer. However….

There are certain coyote that develop skills or are gifted in detecting weaknesses. Being hit by cars, being wounded by hunters and lost, being ill from various diseases or old age…many deer fall into this category regularly. 

And bring attention from these unique coyte.

A 40lb coyote isn’t a powerhouse. But they are very enduring. And some develop great hunting and fighting abilities.

I think it ironic that many people revile them..because truly…they are the most adaptable wild canid on earth.

On the other end, a farmer I used to know back east is irate with a local pack…because they enjoy his handouts.

He has been feeding deer years damaged apples from his orchard. They have food plots and apple piles off and on ensuring deer are growing to very large size. 

But they also have noticed a local pack of coyote has grown very large and healthy.

They do not bother livestock or pets.

But they sure love apple piles, clover plots, berry batches and deer offal or lost deer in Fall.

If someone wants to feed deer, (even where it’s legal) just know you are feeding and growing more coyote too.

I may have tested our acquaintance. I told him….you are growing very big coyote. Good job! 

And finally…my dogs and I remove nutria from ranches. This invasive giant rodent ruins ecological wetlands..and property. They can grow enormous and reproduce explosively. 

One spot we used to dispatch them..has seen them go down in number. Beyond our work. I was surprised to learn local coyotes have sorted them out..and harvest them now.

These are not easy prey. They send dogs to vets all the time. Yet the local coyote have added them to the prey list. We’re very grateful.

Local coyote learning to handle nutria. This is a young nutria.

Whether it’s preying on invasive giant rodents, flourishing on discarded apples or taking down compromised deer, the coyote continues to adapt and thrive in the lands we humans influence. They respond to the situations we created. And flourish.

I tell people..remember…they saw and dealt with megafauna. No problems. And We’re alot easier then a sabre cat or dire wolf. 

Lou

9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dr. James B. Mense
    Nov 29, 2022 @ 00:44:18

    I do not believe that killing nutria works to control their population any more than killing coyotes controls their population. We simply have to learn to live with invasive species just as the coyotes have done in this case!

    Reply

  2. Cindie W
    Nov 29, 2022 @ 05:27:36

    Wonderful stories. Very cool that you were witness to the coyotes taking down a deer. It’s sad for the deer, but a happy day for the coyotes. I always wondered if coyotes ever take down a deer. Thank you for explaining it so well. I love all the food you offered us for thought…. 🙏

    Reply

  3. yipps:janetkessler
    Nov 29, 2022 @ 10:28:30

    I wondered why nutria might have been introduced to the area: “Nutria were thought to be the next get-rich on fur scheme, but no one ever thought women wouldn’t want to wear giant rats. So bankrupt farmers and storms released them. Ecological disaster.”

    Reply

  4. Lou
    Nov 29, 2022 @ 18:39:08

    To James,
    Watching ecological wetlands destroyed or property drain systems ruined while simply allowing invasive nutria to explode in numbers isn’t an option for us who live in reality and rely on our lands. I notice you like to counter and create conversations that divert and then try to guide the so called conversation. Coyote are nothing like nutria.
    For us that rely on ranches and tribal lands and sustenance living, you seem like some posh armchair guy with a lot of words but little meaning.

    Reply

  5. Dr. James B. Mense
    Dec 01, 2022 @ 00:23:12

    Can you name one invasive species that has been eliminated by killing? It simply doesn’t work. Millions of house sparrows, starlings, and Eurasian doves are being killed annually by the U.S. Government to absolutely no avail!

    Reply

    • yipps:janetkessler
      Dec 01, 2022 @ 14:24:30

      “One of those success stories is the eradication of the European grapevine moth (Lobesia botrana) in northern California after it was found there in 2009.” [Google]

    • Dr. James B. Mense
      Dec 01, 2022 @ 18:59:23

      That is the first I have heard. There is hope!
      Perhaps killing nutria will work after all. They are awfully widespread though.

    • Lou
      Dec 01, 2022 @ 15:04:14

      Agree with Janet. Another successful eradication was England’s efforts in wiping out nutria though it took decades.

  6. Dr. James B. Mense
    Dec 01, 2022 @ 19:11:02

    Thanks for the information on nutria eradication in England! Very enlightening. Here is an interesting article concerning nutria eradication in the eastern U.S. It involves trapping and shooting.
    https://blog.nature.org/science/2018/08/21/recovery-by-eradication-saving-marshes-from-nutria/

    Reply

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