January 20, 2018

Coyote Attacks Happening Frequently All Over Massachusetts

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Even though predator lovers and protectors hate to admit that coyote attacks on humans do happen, their worn out claim that it is rare, is now quite worthless dogma. According to WCVB in Boston, coyote attacks on people, pets and livestock are becoming quite common. In addition, these wily varmints are showing up in large urban locations like the one that was seen running through the Ted Williams Tunnel in Boston.

What isn’t being honestly addressed are the real reasons why this is happening. An official reported in this article that Massachusetts has an estimated population of coyotes at around 10,000. My years of experience in this sort of “estimating” tells me that more than likely there are at least double that number and the annual growth rate sometimes approaches 30%.

So long as states’ fish and game departments, many of which have been hijacked by environmentalist organizations, and the organizations themselves, insist on predator protection, this problem will only become exacerbated.

While the linked-to article provides some useful information, I would like to take a moment to expound on something the wildlife official said about coyotes becoming “confused” about their prey.

Coyotes are very territorial, especially in late winter months. Dogs, and in rare cases small children, can be confused as competition or prey.

There is a certain degree of truth to this statement but falls short in telling the whole story. Dr. Valerius Geist, professor emeritus at the University of Alberta and world recognized wildlife expert, has studied and written extensively about wolves and coyotes. He presents his seven stages in which these wild canines can become a danger to humans. Please take the time to read that information found here.

The Massachusetts’ professional at the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, was correct when she said that coyotes, like wolves, are “opportunistic and omnivorous so they will eat whatever is easiest and most abundant”. When prey and/or food supplies are adequate and/or abundant, then there is more truth in the statement that coyotes, being territorial, might become confused and attack a pet dog or a small child. But that is not the only time this happens. Consider the story at hand. The coyote attacked the man walking the dog, not the dog. If the coyote was territorial, thinking the dog was another coyote nosing into to the wrong territory, why did the animal attack the man. The truth is we may not know for sure. But let’s not hide behind what we know as fact.

As Dr. Geist points out, circumstances effect the behavior of wild canines. If Mother Nature really did “balance itself”, and it doesn’t, there would remain only those actual rare events, but in Massachusetts anyway, they are no longer all that rare. So, we must ask why.

With predator protection, the coyotes will continue to grow and expand. All things relative, they would grow until they eat up all their food sources or die of disease or both. Coyotes running out of food isn’t going to just make them go away. If you were that hungry, what would you do.

Through overpopulation, due to protection, coyotes are forced into places they shouldn’t be; like your backyard and in the Ted Williams Tunnel. Too many coyotes and not enough “natural” food and/or garbage, will alter the circumstances on the ground that forces the animals to change what we like to refer to as normal coyote behavior.

This brings us back to Dr. Geist’s seven steps. At this point, hungry coyotes go where they can find food. There are more and more coyote sightings and more encounters with humans. That is what Massachusetts is seeing now. Coyotes come into your yard and study it. They see you and your pets. They discover how to attack. They kill your pets and livestock. If conditions are right, they attack people, usually children first.

The utmost important bit of information that Dr. Geist provides, that pertains to these news events, is the following:

6) Wolves turn their attention to people and approach them closely, initially merely examining them closely for several minutes on end. This is a switch from establishing territory to targeting people as prey. The wolves may make hesitant, almost playful attacks biting and tearing clothing, nipping at limbs and torso. They withdraw when confronted. They defend kills by moving toward people and growling and barking at them from 10 – 20 paces away.

7) Wolves attack people. These initial attacks are clumsy, as the wolves have not yet learned how to take down the new prey efficiently. Persons attacked can often escape because of the clumsiness of the attacks.

Isn’t this what is taking place in Massachusetts? The little 9-year-old girl said she thought the coyote was a dog and put her hand out. The coyote bit her. If the coyote was in full attack mode, I doubt the animal would have approached the young girl in such a manner that the girl thought “it was a dog”. I would be willing to wager the coyote had been studying this situation for some time, perhaps for days.

The coyote was testing his potential prey by “examining them closely for several minutes on end”, finally approaching the girl and biting in order to catch a response. This is all part of learning to attack an unfamiliar potential food source.

From the information provided and the expertise of people like Dr. Geist, it is reasonable to conclude that Massachusetts probably has too many coyotes, at least in some specific regions. Too many coyotes has probably already led to a reduction of prey and food sources, forcing the coyotes to begin looking at alternative prey, i.e. pets and people.

Coyotes belong in the wilderness not in our backyards. Protecting these creatures, believing that man and coyote can coexist in close proximity, is unrealistic and ignorant.

Tom Remington

  • Bonedog

    Nice compilation of recent events with a super analysis directing readers to Geist for some solid insight into the historical interface between man and predators.

    I had seen some of the reports on the Internet over the past year or so but your compilation is much better – and timely.

    It is interesting that at the same we are educating more people in the outdoors and every government worldwide has grown immensely with emphasis on envirnomental issues they are incapable of knowing and coming to grips with what traditional outdoorsmen and scientists like Geist have seemingly known forever.

    These are not good times.

  • Marie Shanahan

    You are right, Sir. I began reading about an increased population in coyotes about a year ago and have been greatly concerned since. I, too, agree that the animal protection agencies have glibly understated the risk. I think it’s “cool” to defend animals, too. I think it is, “cooler”, however, to defend our people; especially the very young and old/disabled. So unless they are made to “fear” us, it will only be a matter of time before people start to suffer real attacks. It’s inevitable.

    Particularly troubling was a recent report by my own mother, a fine elderly lady who lives in an assisting living facility in Billerica. One afternoon, her and a few friends were set to go out to lunch, but were frightened back to leave the lobby of their building, because through the glass, they spotted FOUR very large coyotes in the parking lot. This is troublesome for many reasons, but the first of which is that it was early in the afternoon i.e. broad daylight. So they never did go out to lunch, but instead, notified animal control of the situation.

    I cringe to think of what might have happened if these animals were not spotted and three elderly ladies were confronted with a pack of wild coyotes..

    It’s a sobering thought, and one that has been on the mind of many.

    So thank you for your level head and I hope that your voice, God willing, will be the one to restore “reason” to the state of Massachusetts in navigating this “coyote moral dilemma” of ours.

  • Facebook User

    Gee, a hunter who wants to spread misinformation and negative propaganda about coyotes. That’s a new one..

  • I wish these predators would reduce the deer populations, particularly in NH so as to get the associated lyme issues reduced and my garden would rejoice!

    Another question: are these coyotes or coy dogs (hybrids) ?

    • alrem

      Predators r US have deemed every state in the union applicable for the dogs, wild dogs, mongrels with a touch of wolf in their genes.
      While you’re waiting for the dogs to show up, and they will/are, buy a hunting license.

  • somsai

    Some guy got attacked by three out here last winter. It was in the burbs but a place with a lot of “open space”. Bit his face up pretty good. Bit a kid in my town on the bike path, ten year old boy. I participate in a coyote monitoring program that has been a joint effort of a few of the municipalities.

    Ours are about half the size of those in the east.

    I’ll shoot them if I see one and it’s in a place legal to shoot. Season is year round no limit.

    • alrem

      “Season is year round no limit”….
      Does open season, as you just described, mean 24/7, day or night and every day of the year? A fair and honest approach to managing mongrel wild dogs.

      • somsai

        Every day of the year for sure. Night time… I”m not so sure. From memory you can shine a light on private land at night, all else is half an hour past sunset. That’s from memory. I’d check the reg before going night stalking on private land.

  • Jemave

    I just been attacked by at least 3 Coyotes last night coming out of the woods into the Condo street in Milford, MA. Thank god, I didn’t panic, I beamed the flash light in their eyes and started to scream and made wide fast movements. 3 retreated, the last one, probably the leader of the pack, circled away into bushes on the other side of the road. I quickly move away from that area, keeping an eye toward the attack area. I am amazed at the speed they were charging at us (me and two dogs), it didn’t look like they were studying anything, they were ready to attack.

  • Relentlessly hunting coyotes does not reduce their populations. Being responsive breeders, the more they are killed the more pups they will have. Their populations have stabilized in Yellowstone because they are not hunted. Coyotes are here to stay and we need to learn to peacefully co-exist. Until we do we will have problems. Visit Project Coyote or listen to Chris Schadler of NH. They are the coyote experts we need to be listening to and not hunters who enjoy killing predators.

    • RattlerRider

      So hunting coyotes creates more coyotes.. Well then, coyotes being the leading cause of fawn mortality just means there will be more deer fawns.. All we have to do is wait… Because if relentless coyote hunting by man, not wolves or any other carnivore that hunts coyotes, just man causes population crashes of coyotes causes more coyotes it stands to reason that population crashes of deer fawns by coyotes relentlessly hunting deer fawns causes more deer fawns.. Gosh I must be an expert… Or did mother nature fk up and only cause wolves coyotes and bears to hump more during population crashes…Shoot, I just had me a brain fart.. If I allow those coyotes to eat all of my calves and colts by golly that just means I’m gonna get more calves and colts.. GRIN…

      • alrem

        Anywhere we have too few wild dogs, means we have to start shooting more wild dogs to get more wild dogs? WOW! This HAS to be the “New Knowledge” John, Mr. Hines, Kerry spoke of. Don’t ya just love the Post Fact Era? …..and we’ll fall off the edge of the Flat Earth also.