The Coyote Project promotes education | News, Sports, Jobs
WILTON – The coyotes are here. They will stay, so we might as well adapt to coexist with them.
Chris Schadler of NH/Vermont Project Coyote presented an animal program at the Collaborative Space on Wednesday, September 21, sponsored by the Wilton Public/Gregg Free Library. Fifteen people took part.
The Coyote Project promotes education and coexistence with coyotes and advocates the elimination of year-round coyote hunting.
Schandler is co-founder of NH Wildlife Coalition which advocates for predators and raises a public voice for wildlife. They are trying to convince the NH Fish and Game Department to change some of their policies.
She began with a general history of predators in the area, including bobcats and fishermen. The fisherman, she says, is in danger.
When the Europeans arrived, they cleared the forest, driving away all the big animals. Some of them, like the caribou, will never come back.
The coyote is the only dog native to North America. Our version, the eastern coyote, is a product of the smaller western coyote, interbred with the northern red world. DNA analysis, she said, confirmed the wolf’s heritage. Their color can vary from white to black, with some larger individuals resembling wolves.
Coyotes live in family units with a breeding pair. They mate for life, self-regulate pack size, and are very territorial. A coyote lives three to four years and 2/3 of the females never reproduce. The mortality rate among the young is 50 to 75%.
The coyotes came with the reforestation of the east, she said. The eastern form lives east of the Great Lakes and in Canada.
Schadler began his studies with wolves in the Midwest. Moving to NH, she acquired a sheep farm that had been continuously ravaged by coyotes. She decided to coexist. By improving the fences and keeping the lambs indoors at night, she says, she has never lost a sheep.
“Neat, tight fencing, and maybe a dog, will protect the livestock. Electric mesh fencing will protect free-range chickens.
The hunt will not rid the area of coyotes, she said. They tried the west for a hundred years using every method imaginable. “You can’t get rid of it. Adapt and protect your pets and livestock and be aware.
The Coyote Project recommends closing the hunting season during the period when the puppies are in their den, in April and May. They are also asking farmers not to cut hay until the end of June.
Coyotes are scavengers as well as predators, she said. If a hunter empties his deer in the woods, there are probably coyotes waiting for him to leave. Their main diet is rodents – mice, chipmunks, squirrels – but they also eat nuts and berries, and whatever else they can find. Cats are common prey. So keep them overnight.
“People are not on their menu” she pointed out, although there is occasionally an animal that attacks a person, usually to protect the pups or the territory.
“Killing coyotes increases litter size to compensate”, Schadler said. “It’s better to keep the small packages.”
She pointed out that the coyotes have no impact on the deer herd, although they do take a fawn, many are sick or injured deer. “We have a lot of deer.” Predators regulate deer herds.
Although a coyote can breed with a domestic dog, these crosses usually do not live together due to a genetic difference. There are very few shy dogs.
“So take care of yourself” she said, and learn to live with them. “They are beautiful animals.”