A Short Primer on Coyotes —Proceed Only if You Want to be Educated, not to Attack Me

Since we had a really bad problem with coyotes a year or so ago, we talked to a Government Trapper (yes, there really is such a person).  Remember the information below is FROM THE GOVERNMENT TRAPPER, I am NOT an Expert!!!

Please do NOT send me horrible emails telling me I don’t know what I’m talking about…I only have my experience and what the expert has told us.

A couple of times Terry was actually stalked by a coyote—probably defending the den, while he was changing water late in the evening……and once the dogs and I were stalked.

We have had coyotes come into the yard….sending in Missey Coyote to lure the dogs out so they can …well…have killing sport with the dogs.

We have had to train the grandchildren not to run around on back of the farm in the late evening…ever!

I never leave dog food or cat food outside, nor do we throw scraps out for the hens, all scraps are in a pan in the hen house.

The dogs do like to sleep outside in the summer and we let them.  We also are very diligent to check on everything and everyone the minute we hear anything out of the ordinary.

The other thing we have here are very stupid people who dump their dogs off, thinking they will find a home on the farm.  Usually what happens is they gather together and form dog packs.  Dog packs are just as bad or maybe worse than coyotes as they love to kill for fun and sport and are NOT in any way afraid of humans since they once lived with humans.

Sometimes the dogs mate with coyotes…then what happens the result is called a cy-dog.  Not a good mix.

We also learned some of the language of the coyotes:

Howling – communication with other coyotes in the area. Also, an announcement that “I am here and this is my area.”

Yelping – a celebration or criticism within a small group of coyotes. Often heard during play among pups or young animals.

Bark – The scientific name for coyotes means “barking dog,” Canis latrans. The bark is thought to be a threat display when a coyote is protecting a den or a kill.

Huffing – is usually used for calling pups without making a great deal of noise.

One way to tell if an attack was by a dog or a coyote is to look at the size of their tracks and the spacing of canine tooth punctures.  Dogs aren’t known for killing sheep or calves for food and dogs are random in how and where they attack.  Coyote tracks have more of an oval shape and seem more compact that a domestic or wild dog tracks.


Damage Problems–In the western United States, coyotes are the main predator of domestic sheep, causing significant losses in select areas. They can also prey upon goats, calves, hogs, poultry and watermelons. Coyotes will also kill domestic dogs and house cats. They most often kill larger prey by biting the throat, causing death by suffocation. Coyotes frequently adjust their grip on the prey’s neck, leaving multiple bite marks.

Coyotes may attack fleeing animals from the rear, biting the legs or tail to slow them down. Coyotes typically begin feeding behind the ribs, often eating the stomach of nursing animals. The nose and hindquarters are typically eaten on calves. Coyotes have been known to attack cows in labor, feeding on both the emerging calf and mother.

We have other known predators here…if you ever walk in Confluence Park you will see that we have Mountain lions that move through the area, signs are everywhere informing you of what to do and how to protect yourself if you cross paths with one.  We have fox…lots of fox, but they don’t harm cattle.  Randomly a bear will wander in, but that is random.

Some of you live in places that have other predators, animals we have never had here or if we did are now gone–like the wolf.

I’m sure you are tired of this subject so this is my last post on on predators for a while.  I hope you have found it educational, which is what is intended to be.

Once more, thanks ever so much for stopping by.




30 thoughts on “A Short Primer on Coyotes —Proceed Only if You Want to be Educated, not to Attack Me

  1. YES, I am here as a witness. I have seen a coyote stealing a watermelon. Whenever I am building a chicken pen and wish I didn’t have to make it extra strong to keep out our local predators, I remind myself that I’m lucky not to have bears, wolverines, badgers, hyenas, etc. It’s so easy to build a pen to keep the chickens IN, it’s just hard to keep everything else out. Hope you have a coyote-free calving year.


  2. I have read of coyotes moving into the suburbs and cities. I’m sure when some of the city people become terrified by them, they won’t be so quick to defend them or to write hate comments about how they should not be vilified..


  3. They prey on watermelons??? They definitely prey on pets here. At one point the police would “euthanize” coyotes they came across that were not afraid of humans and then send out community alerts. I haven’t heard that in awhile, though.


  4. Thanks for the info on coyotes. We have them here in southern Vermont, though I’ve never seen or heard any in the valley where I live. They and their friends/relatives the coy-dogs occasionally bother the cows in the next valley over, but usually only when a cow is off somewhere calving. I suppose they mainly eat small rodents, which is fine with me. There used to be a bounty on coyotes around here but I’m told that’s no longer true – the “granolas” felt sorry for the poor things. Tell that to the cow with the chewed up calf.


  5. Linda is 100% correct. in support of that the link below is an example of how coyotes do their work. Not the best quality but the point is these animals are not playing with this dog – not even a little bit.

    Eventually they would get Jake if not watched by his owner as he is getting older.


  6. packs of wild dogs ARE worse than coyotes – just for the sport killing and the aggression. coyotes here have stalked my dogs. i try never to have one out alone at night. if they must go out to relieve themselves, i try to get at least 2 out at a time. have gotten into plenty of scuffles that they’re wary of them, now, but still can easily be caught by 2 or more coyotes at the edge of the field…


  7. Linda, I have enjoyed your educational writings on coyotes. I have way too many of them here where I live! They have even come up to my garage door and frequently come across my lawn and nearby fields. One night they broke down a fence around the 15 roosters we were going to butcher and got them all and/or let them loose and later got them. They go in packs here, tho I will rarely see a lone one. I protect my cats by putting them in the garage at night. They are a predator to be reckoned with if one has animals.

    As for wild dogs…you are right, they are almost worse than the coyotes. Close to a city nearby me, several miniature horses have been killed or very seriously injured by them. They kill for the sport!

    Thank you for this interesting post.


  8. Hi Linda, Thanks… I find this so educational. I know nothing about coyotes –other than they are definitely predators… I know that it is just ‘nature’ –but I hate to hear of one animal attacking another –even if it is for food… Cannot imagine you getting ‘hate’ emails because of this post…



  9. Really interesting… I’d always wondered what coyotes were and what they did that made them so hated…
    You educate us all the time LInda. I’m still fascinated by how the cows know when a storm is coming, and how You know when a storm is coming because they prepare by having a good feed!


  10. My problem with coyotes is that we have moved into their territory so what are they to do? coyotes are extremely intelligent and as you say they have many ways of outwitting other critters. We have coyotes in the city. They do well around malls as they can come up at night and find all kinds of good things to eat. You do the right thing and don’t leave anything that would encourage a coyote.
    What bothers me in the city is that people walk through parks and are oblivious to their surroundings so the coyote can have a good look at them.


  11. we have them here in Salem, Massachusetts… just fifteen miles outside of Boston. This is the time of year when their mating so they are very active. My husband was walking our very sweet cockapoo a few weeks ago and watched one run into our yard (there’s a post about if from that day on my blog). I”m keeping a very watchful eye at all times!


  12. This was very educational, thanks for posting! The wild animals scare me, we carry our guns on us when the mountain lion is known to be out.


  13. Amen and Amen, Linda. We’ve got coyotes here and if they show their ugly mugs, they get shot. And yes, they DO steal watermelons. They steal ours. I had about 10-12 in my little garden two years ago and they got every single one. The coyotes killed two of our cats. They’ll get whatever they can get their mangey paws on. The ranchers here shoot ’em and hang up on the barb wire fences as a warning to other coyotes. Hope all your little calves make it!


  14. I’m surprised that anyone who reads your blog would get all in a huff about the nature of coyotes and their relationship with those who raise livestock. Oh well, there are just some folks who are clueless about reality. Never mind them. I hope you and the rancher who runs his cattle on your place have a coyote free calving season.


  15. Thanks for the info. Coyotes took our dog right out of our backyard a few years ago. This year they’re stalking walkers and cyclists on the bike paths here in Boulder. I see one every few days and I’ve never seen them looking so starved.


  16. Thanks for the information – when I hear a pack yipping it really sets me on edge, especially when they are close to home. My grandmother had a cy-dog. She picked him up as a puppy on the Indian Reservation, not realizing his lineage until he began howling and inviting coyotes to her ranch. Uh…. they attack watermelons?!!


  17. I don’t care how many times you post about coyotes. We are hearing them around here so you can post however much you like.
    This is all stuff I didn’t know.
    Like watermelon? who would have guessed.


  18. Watermelons! I wish I could move the pictures in my head to paper.
    We have a sort of a truce here. Doesn’t matter what it is, if it stands to do harm to my stuff, it out of here. If it behaves, it’s ok. We seem to have a lot of coyotes the past several months. I see one every now and then. As long as they stay away from the livestock and the house it’s ok. But the rifle is loaded and ready to go at a moments notice. Funny thing is, I see more evidence during the day than at night. I hear them at night some but I hear them at 10:00 in the morning and see them then too. I have had them right outside the yard at night. (one of them has gone on to another world.)
    The information you provide is so good! I wish the folks around here that claim to know all about coyotes (and all the other stuff like lions and bears) knew as much.
    I learned last night that here a 50/50 cross, coyote/dog or wolf/dog is supposed to be registered and tattooed. So, I asked how that was supposed to be enforced. Hmm. No answer. sigh. Dog packs are absolutely my biggest concern. To make life easier and less stressful, I’m looking for a LGD.

    Thanks for all the good info, Linda.


  19. Over here on the eastern plains of Colorado the coyotes look so bad… the have mange. Its been so dry, they barely have anything to eat. Yes, we are calving too. We check cows morning and night.


  20. Great post, I grew up and still live in the country. We always were on alert for the coyotes and the dog packs after our animals. Dogs are worst, I still dislike coyotes they give me the heebee jeebies when I hear them arounbd the house. Thanks for the information very educational.


  21. Born and raised near Chicago, at the age of 21 I headed west and didn’t return to the city for 25 years. I lived in rural northwest Colorado for 10 years or so, working on a cattle ranch for a bit, among other odd jobs. After that, another 15 years in rural Montana and loved it. But I guess I miss Colorado most of all. Your blog is a delight for me and makes me homesick now that I’m back in the city out of medical necessity.

    Regarding coyotes, I shook my head in astonishment when my sister in Las Cruces, NM, told me recently of a friend of hers who’s supposedly a rancher or farmer (somehow I doubt that) FEEDS the coyotes. Why, you ask? Apparently because the poor things are starving due to the drought. Good Lord. Even if she isn’t really a rancher/farmer, even if she doesn’t have chickens or goats, what in the world is she thinking? The sorriest part of the story for me was that my sister thought it was so sweet and indicative of what a big-hearted and kind person this friend of hers is. Eek. I hope she doesn’t have any cats or dogs on her “ranch”.

    Thanks for a really fun blog!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.