Eastern coyote can be found in every Pennsylvania county
The eastern coyote (Canis latrans) is found throughout northeastern United States and southeastern Canada.
In Pennsylvania, it can be found in every county in the state -- in heavy forests, in dairy and cropland areas and even around the larger cities of Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Erie, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Coyotes prefer heavy brushy cover, such as clearcuts, and often live along edges between forest and agricultural areas where prey is abundant.
How long have they been here?
Pictures from the 1930s that appeared in PGC's Game News magazine look like the same coyotes being killed today, the agency reported. The first coyote identified as an animal similar to what we find today was killed in Tioga County in 1940.
In the late 1960s, an influx of coyotes appears to have entered northern Pennsylvania from the Catskill Mountains in New York. In the 1970s, the highest population was in the Pocono Mountains. By the 1990s, they were found throughout the entire state, with the highest populations across the northern half of the state. The total population in 1995 was probably between 15,000 to 20,000, according to the agency.
Where did they come from?
DNA analysis suggests the eastern coyote may have come from interbreeding between coyotes and gray wolves. It is intermediate in size and shape between gray wolves and western coyotes.
What do they look like?
The eastern coyote is the largest canine found in Pennsylvania. Adult males in Pennsylvania weigh 45 to 55 pounds; the heaviest known male weighed 62 pounds. Females are smaller -- 35 to 40 pounds. Colors range from light blond, reddish blond and gray to dark brown tinged in black and totally black.
New York coyote found in Pennsylvania
MONROE COUNTY -- The radio collar of a wild eastern coyote trapped this month in Monroe County tells a story the animal cannot -- it had traveled 150 miles from the site it was captured, tagged and released before being caught in a cable restraint set near East Stroudsburg.
The coyote, tagged in April near Oneonta, N.Y., was identified as part of a research project by the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
"These types of long-distance movements demonstrate how eastern coyotes were able to rapidly colonize throughout Pennsylvania during past decades," said Dr. Matthew Lovallo, Pennsylvania Game Commission game mammal section supervisor. "In the early 1990s, our own movement studies documented similar movement among yearling coyotes that were captured, radio-collared and tagged in northern tier counties of Pennsylvania. In fact, PGC biologists tracked coyotes in rural, forested parts of the state moving 35 to 100 miles from their initial capture site." PGC TAKES ANOTHER STEP TO CONTROL COYOTE POPULATIONS
State game officials have taken another step to control coyote populations by making the wily predators legal game under the Mentored Youth Hunting Program (MYHP), effective immediately.
There's basically an open season on coyotes, including night-hunting with artificial lighting, but the species continues to expand its populations throughout the state.
The Game Commission hopes that adding coyotes to the MYHP will increase the kill.
Coyotes have been in Pennsylvania for decades. Eastern coyotes populations have been steadily growing for the past 30 years, despite hunters and trappers killing more than 25,000 a year.
This secretive canine prefers to operate under the cover of darkness. Their fondness for remote areas and scant numbers pretty much kept them out of the public's eye for decades. That changed in the 1980s, when their population began to expand in leaps and bounds.
Eastern coyotes don't pack like wolves, but do run in family units and pairs.
Coyotes usually steer clear of people. They'll leave an area at the first sign of human intrusion. But under the cover of darkness, as human activities slow almost to a halt, coyotes sneak into areas they normally avoid during daylight hours.
Coyotes will kill deer. A fawn study conducted in the Quehanna Wild Area and in Penns Valley, near State College, concluded that predators accounted for almost half of all fawn mortalities. Bears and coyotes were nearly equal in the number of fawns they killed, accounting for two-thirds of all predator mortalities.
"We have not seen evidence that coyotes are killing a significant number of healthy adult deer in Pennsylvania," the Game Commission reported. "Being opportunists, they tend to spend more time patrolling the shoulders of state highways to consume deer killed in collisions with vehicles than stalking mature whitetails."
Coyotes are opportunists. They spend considerable time mousing, but will settle in a second for a rotting road-killed deer, or a cat, or small dog that strays too far from the house. Sheep, chickens and ducks are especially vulnerable.
Coyotes are very elusive, so allowing mentored hunters to shoot them is not expected to have an appreciable impact on their populations...
post edited by bingsbaits - 2009/02/09 09:20:10