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Coyote coloration in eastern states
I thought I would share some photos of coyotes that were recently trapped in Virginia. As we know the eastern coyote is very different that the western coyote. When redistributing and repopulating the east the coyote picked up some wolf and dog DNA. The eastern coyote is larger and their colors vary greatly.
From blonde to black here in Pa. We have coyotes that look like dogs and dogs that look like coyotes. I almost shot a German Shepard in the middle of the woods one year.
That is amazing. Our western coyotes have a little color variation, but I attribute it to mature adults vs pups.
I’ve killed one as jet black as the one in the pic Curt. I’ve killed them light too. Not as light as the one in your pics. And I’ve killed them more standard colored.
I’m pretty certain they live amoung people more than they realize due to their various colors and people’s naive nature.
Justin, I've trapped one that was blonde and two that were jet black. One even had a white chest patch. Where I live in VA it seems like 10-20% of the coyotes have unusual colors.
I have gotten, Blond, Redish and Normal Grey in Central PA. First one I ever saw, I thought was someone's escaped collie/mix dog until a normal grey color one came in behind it. Smoked the grey one with my bow. Sure would have liked to get that reddish blond one.
Here's one from WV this year. Very brown with a white tipped tail.
Long been.documented that the eastern coyote is.a decedent of the eastern wolf. Reason behind the larger size and coloration. Breeding with dogs is not the reason as some think.
I've seen a few red ones here in iowa. Light and dark. Never a black one.
I live in Pa. I've seen them black, and tri-colored like a cross fox, but most are just 'coyote colored' :^)
What is the reason Eastern wolves, or all wolves for that matter, express this greater range of fur colour variation?
Your Pa might not have been, but your Pa's Pa was....
I read a book titled Coyote America last winter authored by Dan Flores. I first heard him on a Meateater podcast. Anyhow, the Eastern coyote is a cross between western coyotes and red wolves. As pressure in the late 1800's and early 1900's increased on wolves by bounties and poisoning, coyotes were also affected. They were able to survive better than wolves due to their adaptability; whereas wolves are pack animals. Wolves were easier to extirpate; the coyotes, not so much so!
Pressure forces coyotes across the Mississippi river, a long time eastern boundary. On their migration east, the coyotes bred with red wolves who are genetically "close", whatever that means. Today, there is no such thing as "pure" red wolf DNA or eastern coyote DNA. They are permanently mixed together.
There is a federal facility in Utah that still exists today. They did research in the past on poisons and more stuff. They have 100 pairs of coyotes in captivity. At one point, they inseminated a female coyote with gray wolf semen. When the pups were born, the coyote killed them. Gray wolves and coyotes are not genetically close and are mortal enemies.
Coyotes "control" their numbers! If howling indicated=s that there is a high number of them, the females have small litters. If howling indicates fewer coyotes, then the females have large litters. They talked of places where money was no object and the landowner wanted to be rid of them. So, at all costs, they were trapped professionally and hunted by many means. After years of doing this, within a year of stopping the program, the estimated population was 90% of the original population before efforts were begun at very significant expense! Hunt them all you want, but you'll never get rid of them.
I recommend the book as a good read.
Eastern wolf proper was considered a red wolf, also thought to be a decedent of the grey wolf. Thus one could argue, would create colors within the gene pool....the more you filter it out, the more colors will show. The eastern coyote seems to have many of the wolf traits....size and color just being 2 of them. As posted by others, colors are the norm. Eastern coyotes run 30-40lbs avg...with 50lb+ being somewhat common. I know in NJ the largest ever recorded was 75lbs....that's a dam big dog!
The few remaining eastern wolf have shown to have coyote genes...so breeding between a yote and a wolf has taken place....
Ive killed two in the last week that were complete opposite colorations of each other, This morning I killed a very blonde one with a little red with the Muzzleloader and last week Wednesday I killed one with my bow that I initially thought was a muddy mess but was actually very dark, almost black on her legs and back, no mud at all. Last year I killed one that was as red as a red fox, never seen one that red before, had it tanned.
We have probably killed 100 or more on our North Florida 1500 acre lease in the last 25 years or so...they are either the standard coyote color or, on rare occasions, all black.
Those are unique color phases, thanks for sharing...
Nimrod, I too have seen one that was as red as a red fox. It was beautiful, and was with a normal-colored one. I was bowhunting and they were out of range, but I would have loved to have taken that one. Do you have a pic of yours?
My sons this year N.W. Illinois
Curvebow, Trophy8: There is plenty of DNA evidence confirming that the eastern coyote and red wolf have crossed. As stated there aren't any "pure" red wolves anymore, because they all contain eastern coyote DNA.
What I don't understand is why there seems to be reluctance to believe that coyotes have crossed with dogs as well. I've read that the breeding cycle for the coyote is very specific and that it is difficult for a domestic dog to have the proper timing in order to cross. But I have to believe that they have crossed. After all, the coyote is adaptable.
Several years ago I trapped a black coyote with a white chestpatch. It was in a trap next to another normal colored coyote. They were clearly hunting together. Other black coyotes that I've caught weren't exactly black but were just extremely dark (I have one hide tanned). This animal, however, had all of the dominant coyote features but was jet black and had a white chestpatch probably 8-10" long. The face, body, and tail were undoubtedly coyote. His snout and each of his legs, however, were 3/4 of the length that they should have been. An expert trapper came over to look him over and he felt that he clearly had domestic dog in his lineage and that it wasn't too far back. This expert trapper teaches trapping classes and has been involved in collecting DNA for researchers that study the red wolves that live 100 miles to the south.
Its possible, but highly unlikely for several reasons. DNA is proof, though very few cases have been documented....still highly unlikely.
I see a black one in East TN every couple of years and they almost alway have a white chest patch.
In the early 90s I was stationed at Ft Bragg NC, and was listening to NPR radio one evening while making an osage selfbow. A show came on with a story about NC State working in conjunction with federal fish and game officials to reintroduce the eastern brush wolf into the eastern US to control the deer population. They crossed coyotes and some wolves from eastern canada. I have told this story numerous times. I have recently had federal fish and game officials privately confirm this story as true at a military base I often hunt. The deer population on this base is less than 20% of pre-introduction numbers (population is closely studied by full time biologists). In the "dah" dept. How many western coyotes do you see that weigh 60-80lbs and are brindle in color???? (common color and size in WV)
buzz mc....that's a sharp looking yote!
"Eastern wolf proper was considered a red wolf, also thought to be a decedent of the grey wolf. Thus one could argue, would create colors within the gene pool....the more you filter it out, the more colors will show. "
And the colour variants of Grey wolves is due to breeding with domesticated dogs.
Dogs evolved from the grey wolf....DNA testing can't distinguish a different gene. Elkstaber....like those colors. Saw my 1st black one last year traveling with a blonde. Almost got to drop an arrow on the blonde....
Here is a big NY dog I took in my yard last year.
buzz mc: that is a great photo. Thanks for sharing!
Some nice photo's on here,have any of you guy's shot a coyote with a 17 HMR, and if so how well did you think it worked. I was wondering if the 17 HMR was a little to light. I like my Remington 700 22-250 and 25-06 but would like to try something a little smaller and quieter. And I might need a reason to but another gun.LOL
My friend in WY thumps them with a 17 HMR. Says sometimes it takes a little time to work but gets the job done. I suspect it is a little light on coyotes for most but if I was shooting a 17 and a coyote showed up I wouldn't hesitate to shoot.
It would probably work, but a little light, IMO. May help with sharping your tracking skills! That’s as good of a reason as I could come up with for you to get another gun ;-)
I also thought they might be a little on the light side,I do know that they are a accurate little gun and I guess if you hit em in the right spot it would do the job.I was just wondering if anybody had shot them with any luck on coyotes.
I have trapped them all the way from black to blonde. Missed a solid silver one with my bow. Absolutely beautiful animal. My biggest is 60 pounds. A guy just over the border in Quebec shot one that weighed 73 pounds. Verified by the biologists as an Eastern coyote.
Wow beautiful animals ...I’ve seen a really blond one recently here in NE oklahoma but that’s about it. I’ve probably had over 500 coyote sightings while hunting and have killed over 30 the last ten years during Archery season while bowhunting.
Right on the edge of my back yard. SW MICHIGAN
I ain't prejudice, I shoot them all regardless of color.
Shot this one in 2017 while deer hunting. I had to check it close to be sure it was not someone's dog!
Bigstriper I took this big male with a .17hmr last year. Shot in the neck and went down but had to finish him off. Its a bit light but I don't have much of a choice since my state doesnt allow centerfire rifle on state land and they can only be taken with slugs during deer season. They also restrict shotgun to #2 shot as well. They used to restrict to .22lr only but they removed that and now allow any rimfire. Probably a 22 mag or a .17wsm would be better. I shoot the game point which doesnt have the polymer tip. Good part is there is no fur damage from the shot.
I've used the 17 HMR and it is very accurate, good knock down power, but often requires a second shot. I prefer my 270.
"Coyotes "control" their numbers! If howling indicated=s that there is a high number of them, the females have small litters. If howling indicates fewer coyotes, then the females have large litters. They talked of places where money was no object and the landowner wanted to be rid of them. So, at all costs, they were trapped professionally and hunted by many means. After years of doing this, within a year of stopping the program, the estimated population was 90% of the original population before efforts were begun at very significant expense! Hunt them all you want, but you'll never get rid of them.
I recommend the book as a good read"
While I have read this many times, I wander why the coyote is given special prowess concerning this. They are like all other animals, in that their ecosystem health will control their liter sizes. They can't rationalize liter sizes no more than any other natural mating process between animals. The more food, the better the health of the mother, the more pups she will have. No different then other mammals that births by the liter. It's not a special power the coyote posses.
Also, coyotes survived better then wolves because they didn't require bison to survive. Unlike wolves at the time. A coyote is one wiley, adaptive animal. But, it's that attribute, not special powers that see's it through.
They will be here keeping roaches and liberals company when the human race is gone
The only animal I have ever trapped that can dig up a trap without setting it off and take a crap on it to let you know he found it.
I have a 22-250 and a 25-06 which works well with the coyotes,but was wondering how the 17 HMR would do. I thought they might be a little on the light side,some times a guy might need something a little quieter closer around the house. Thanks for the replies.
A 17 HMR is a lot of things. Quiet is not one of them. Get a 22 LR with solid 40 grain bullets. Much quieter and deadly for close work.
FWIW, I have a buddy that traps a lot and, he has dispatched many a yote with the 17 HMR at close range. They wind drift bad though. So keep the shots close if you do go that route. And, understand they are going to run after impact and the blood trail ain't going to be much. But, in the rib cage is dead. Good luck and God Bless
"The only animal I have ever trapped that can dig up a trap without setting it off and take a crap on it to let you know he found it."
It only peed on mine this year. Still don't know how they manage that.