September 22, 2017

Coyote Attacks Happening Frequently All Over Massachusetts

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