More on moose and coyotes

Study shows that Coyotes prey on adult moose as well as calves. Photo: Tim Redpath, creative commons, some rights reserved

A new study shows that coyotes prey on adult moose as well as calves. Photo: Tim Redpath, creative commons, some rights reserved

Last week different NCPR blog posts discussed new problems for moose and weighed in on living with coyotes – including a number of informative comments on both posts.

Here’s a small follow-up that concerns both creatures. As reported by Tom Spears in the Ottawa Citizen and Emily Chung for the CBC, recently-published research by J.F. Benson and B.R. Patterson indicates coyote or coyote-wolf hybrids in Ontario are able to hunt not just sick or young moose, but adult moose too.

Published by NRC Research Press, the study is titled: Moose (Alces alces) predation by eastern coyotes (Canis latrans) and eastern coyote × eastern wolf (Canis latrans × Canis lycaon) hybrids

Lead author John Benson did most of the research west of Ontario’s Algonquin Park while a graduate student at Trent University. Benson is now a wildlife research biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game with a strong background in the area of wolf-coyote hybridization.

What we call the eastern coyote is a coyote gray wolf hybrid. Photo: Dana Moos, creative commons, some rights reserved

What we call the eastern coyote is really a coyote-wolf hybrid. Photo: Dana Moos, creative commons, some rights reserved

Some of the comments on the CBC article were dismissive of the findings, saying that isn’t news (was already known to happen) or represents a waste of research funds. “My uncle who hunts says” or “one time I saw” can be valid, useful information. But – like it or not – claims of fact often require formal studies and peer-review by recognized experts to be accepted in the scientific community.

This topic extends to questions about what’s a wolf, what’s a coyote and what happens when the two inter-breed. Here’s more on  grey wolves, eastern wolves, western coyotes and coywolves (a hybrid) from CBC’s “The Nature of Things”.

While wolves and coyotes do not usually threaten humans, on rare occasions it has happened, as appears to have occurred in this fatal 2009 coyote attack in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

A 2012 incident in British Columbia , while alarming, was less serious, when a man who admitted he smelled like fried chicken was chased by a coyote as he cycled home.

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8 Comments on “More on moose and coyotes”

  1. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    You will need to do another follow up on mountain lion/catamount/panther sightings. There have been a spate recently across the east central ADKs and into VT.

  2. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Okay, my coyote/coy wolf/ wolf story. One very early morning several years ago I was driving north on 87 between Warrensburg and Chestertown and a coyote ran across the road ahead of me, leaped over the guardrail on the right and stopped just on the other side of the rail. Being the only car on the road I slowed down to look. The canine stood facing me, shoulder as high as the railing, and watched at attention as I drove by. In my side view mirror I saw it turn and continue on its way after I passed. It had a beautiful full coat but fur or no fur it was one big dog.

  3. Hank says:

    khl says:

    “You will need to do another follow up on mountain lion/catamount/panther sightings. There have been a spate recently across the east central ADKs and into VT.”

    Living up here in Ottawa, I’m was not aware that this was happening. Have state wildlife officials said anything about this?

  4. Pete Klein says:

    Since human animals hunt moose and everything else on this planet, I see no reason why wolves and coyotes shouldn’t be allowed to hunt everything, including humans, too.

  5. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Hank, the official line has been (unless there is some change recently) that mountain lions do not reside in NY or VT though there have been well documented cases of them passing through. Also, some suggest that exotic pet owners sometimes release animals that have become too difficult to keep for one reason or another.
    I’ve been hearing a spate or reports recently and apparently there are some photos making the rounds, haven’t seen them. Whether it is miss sightings, multiple sightings of the same animal or many animals is the question.

  6. mervel says:

    I have always found it interesting how large our coyotes are compared to the coyotes I grew up with in South Dakota, which in general were pretty scrawny.

  7. stillin says:

    Prettiest north country sight I ever saw, driving to work on rt. 37, in the early morning autumn fog, a pack of what looked exactly like huge wolves (coyotes) flying across one tree line to another,hunting? Had to do a u turn, and give my own howl, one turned for about 1/60th of a second. They looked like giant grey ghosts and their tails were out straight… that’s how fast they were running. A beautiful sight…painted it more than a few times since then. I have driven this for years, but only saw them once. A gift.

  8. Dan Murphy says:

    Knucklehead, i think the offical DEC line on mountain lions went from “they are not here” to “we need to study how to support/control the population”. And i think this change happened almost overnight.

    I remember seeing an article in the paper that the stance was they do not exist here on a monday. A game camera pic of one the following day, and then another article that we need to study the population that Friday…

    I dont know what the current state stance is.. .maybe that they do not exist at all.. like bigfoot

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