Monday, October 18, 2010

Coyote Facts

Today we're gonna talk about what coyotes eat.
Everything. The motherfuckers eat everything. Not only that but they eat as much of it as they can. They eat meat, grasses, fruits, nuts, insects and reptiles. They also indulge in the occasional cat or small dog, especially urban and suburban coyotes. I'm covering town coyotes in a later post.
The main source of meat (at least out west) is ground squirrels, sage grouse, cottontail rabbits and jackrabbits. Carrion account for less than 10% of the stomach contents that were checked. Livestock, contrary to ranchers' claims, was almost undetectable. But then again, I don't know when the study took place. If it was any other season besides lambing, kid and calving season, I could believe that. However, there is a large amount of newborn and young stock lost due to coyote (and probably feral dog) predation during the spring. Ask any sheepman. Tracks don't lie, although it can be hard to tell a dog track from a coyote track at times, especially during a dry or very wet season.
Deer fawns are also in danger of becoming coyote kibble during the spring. A California DFG Ranger that I talked with a month or so ago said that he figures that 1 in 10 fawns are killed by coyotes and approximately 40% are killed by mountain lions - keep that last one in mind when you're using a fawn bleat to call in coyotes up in the mountains this spring. Watch your fucking back.
Examinations of coyote shit by me turn up feces composed of thickly wadded hair and what I originally thought were undigested reddish berries but now think are pine nuts which means they also eat small pine cones. Like I said, they eat anything.
And as a side note, most of the coyote crap I've found have been at a crossing of game trails or roads that they've traveled on. Maybe it's coyote grafitti? A territory marker? Letting his bros know he was passing through?

Okay. My sources are "The World of the Coyote" by Wayne Grady,
"God's Dog" by Hope Ryden,
California Department of Fish and Game,
And observations by myself.