Hunting the Eastern Coyote
Yesterday, in South Rawdon Nova Scotia a very large, at one time very healthy male coyote was brought to our property on the back of our neighbor's 4 wheeler. When KP pulled into the yard our family dogs (Chesapeake bay retrievers) went nuts. My husband, sister and I made our way out to greet KP to see what all the fuss was about.
My first thought was that KP had found his female Husky Shepard cross dead on the road and was coming by to see if we'd seen the accident occur. Upon closer examination it was clear this animal was not his dog, but a large eastern coyote. It's fur was dark and long like a Shepard, its tail thick like a fox and it's facial coloring very much like that of a wolf. It was clear the animal weighed over 40 pounds.
The average weight of adult male coyotes was 33.9 lbs (15.4 kg). The average weight of adult females was 27.7 lbs(12.6 kg). The largest male collected weighed 47.8 lbs (21.7 kg). DNR occasionally receives reports of individual coyotes weighing in excess of 50 lbs (22.7 kg) but animals of that size are not common.
Statistics provided by gov.ns.ca.
We all stood staring in amazement while KP told the story of how this animal found it's way onto the back of his ATV. KP and his family run a lamb farm that neighbors our farm to the East. In the last 2 months they have lost 3 of their ewes to coyote attacks. An over population of coyote in the province has been a topic of discussion for over 5 years now. However it would seem we've reached a hiatus of sorts, given that last week Mr.P killed two coyote with one shot. How is this possible? The animals were so immersed in devouring the 3rd ewe they didn't notice Mr.P making gains in his position. He took a crack shot and managed to take them both down. It was nine o'clock in the morning.
On the night of November 1st, Mr.P was working in his wood lot on the backside of our property hoping to see some coyote activity. As the sun began to set, Mr.P decided it was time to make his way back home. At that moment a large male coyote made a run from the tree line heading across the property towards the lamb pastures. Mr.P couldn't believe his luck! He steadied his rifle, took a shot and caught the coyote just behind the elbow on the left side. It was a fatal blow.The coyote was left strapped to the ATV over night as a warning to the rest of the pack. For those of you who thought coyotes were lone hunters think again.
The eastern coyote is a pack animal.They hunt and feast together. Often an alpha female and male will make the kill and call to their pups when it is time to feed. As mentioned this male coyote was clearly an alpha. His extreme size and general health indicated an animal that didn't miss many meals or have to fight with his subordinates.
That night, after the animal had been driven across our property, his pack made clear their presence just across the brook behind our primary residence. Distraught and missing their leader, their cries made our hearts feel heavy. Putting emotions aside, the simple truth is the eastern coyote is thriving here in Nova Scotia, especially in rural areas where domestic animals make easy prey.
For all the hunters out there, coyote hunting is not for the occasional hunter. To shoot an eastern coyote is no easy task. We need skilled people adept at hunting to safely and humanely cull these animals back to manageable numbers. We've all heard both odd and alarming stories of coyote behaviour in this province. Please feel free to share your stories with us.