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#54045 - 02/09/02 10:24 AM Steve Allen or others
Van Cent Nebr Offline
Predator Master

Registered: 05/05/01
Posts: 90
Loc: Nebraska
I was wondering if any of the collard coyotes lost a mate or familly member. If so how did they react to that? Would they stay close to that area for a day or two looking for that member?

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#54046 - 02/09/02 12:28 PM Re: Steve Allen or others
steve allen Offline
Predator Master

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 88
Loc: Bismarck,ND
Van Cent--This is an excellent question, and 1 with significant implications for fur harvesters!

Yes we did have some mortality of radio-collared alpha family members. All the mortality we had occurred during the fall-winter dispersal period by fur harvesters. In each case of mortality the missing alpha adult was replaced by a 1 year old animal. We had most of the pups on the study area tagged with ear tags, and none of the new adults were 1 of those animals. However, it would seem that a pup could take over for a missing adult in the family, but we never saw it. This may indicate that dispersal behavior in pups is a much stronger instinct than staying in the natal range to replace a missing parent. No data on this, but an interesting hypothesis nonetheless.

Additionally, the territory shape changed dramatically each time we had a change in alpha animals, but the remaining alpha adult from the original pair was still present and remained with the new replacement alpha. The new pair stayed in the original territory and had a litter of pups the following year. For example, the original territory may have been rather football shaped and oriented with the long axis east/west. After the replacement the long axis may be oriented north/south. We didn't see changes in territory size, because size is inversely related to overall population density (i.e. if population density goes up, territory size goes down, and vice versa).

We never saw any cases of adult dispersal, but then these coyotes were all quite old for coyotes. We had 1 4yr. old adult and the others all ranged from 6 to 15 years old. All were seasoned, battle-hardened veterans.

Now for why understanding this is important. What this data says to a hunter/trapper is that you can put a lot of mortality pressure on your local coyotes in the fall/winter, but they will still be present in about the same areas probably all year. Dispersal will likely fill in all the holes you have created. Additionally, it says that the faster you can get to individual territories, and remove animals therein the faster dispersing animals will likely move in to fill the vacancies you have created. Thus, the territories are continually getting re-supplied with new animals (probably 1 year old animals) that likely don't know all the signals about what is going on in that area; a real advantage to a hunter. However, ones needs to make sure he creates as few smart coyotes as possible; hopefully every time you rifle goes bang a coyote hits the ground dead. I realize that "smart" coyotes is a rather relative term, but we need to attempt to not make them into "really smart" coyotes. Really smart coyotes can surely complicate ones life. Ask Wiley E. about really smart coyotes; he deals with these types everytime he leaves his house. Additionally, this same stuff is equally applicable to red fox, and probably gray fox, too.

Now, if one goes into an area and takes out 1 or more coyotes with no mistakes and no survivors that were shot at; how soon can he go back into that area and be successful again? Maybe as soon as the next day, but one should probably go into the area from a different direction and use different calls. However, fall/winter dispersal behavior occurs very fast, and there could easily be 1 or more new coyotes present within 24 hours. I always look at the teeth and external genitialia of the animals I take so I know what I have removed by age and sex. This then gives me a good idea who I have left out there, and thus may give good direction to types of calls the next time I come back to that area.

I think you were around on PM last winter when we discussed territorial behavior, families, etc. so I won't re-invent that wheel now. If you weren't or don't understand this phenomenon don't be bashful; post back and we can discuss that as well.

Again, my complements on a very good question! Sorry about the length of the response, but your question required a rather in depth explanation. Good hunting!

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#54047 - 02/09/02 03:47 PM Re: Steve Allen or others
Van Cent Nebr Offline
Predator Master

Registered: 05/05/01
Posts: 90
Loc: Nebraska
Thank you Steve

How do they coyotes react in the first 24 to 48 hours after losing the familly member? I know this is hard to answer but if I were to kill one of the Alpha dogs how does the familly react within these hours.

When an Alpha is killed, is the replacement a familly member or is it an outsider?

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#54048 - 02/09/02 04:08 PM Re: Steve Allen or others
steve allen Offline
Predator Master

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 88
Loc: Bismarck,ND
Van Cent--I don't know how the remaining radio-collared members reacted; we didn't know a family member was missing right away. This in itself says something, because we didn't immediately detect dramatic changes in radio locations of the remaining animals. Nevertheless, the pair bond between alpha members is very strong, and the loss of 1 or more of them probably caused some reaction. We just couldn't detect it from the radio locations.

Re: replacements, we had most of the pups in the families ear tagged, but only 1 extra adult in a family ear tagged. None of the replacements were any of these animals, but we still don't know that the replacements weren't family members we didn't have tagged. Good question, however.

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#54049 - 02/09/02 05:59 PM Re: Steve Allen or others
Silverfox Offline
Die Hard Member with a vengeance

Registered: 04/20/01
Posts: 4984
Loc: Williston, ND
Van Cent Nebr--in regard to what the other coyotes do when one of the family is shot, I submit the following information I gleaned from a Bill Austin audio tape. He said (and I'm not quoting verbatim here) that if you take the male from a pair or group of coyotes, you should go back there late that afternoon and use the lost mate call. He demonstrated the sound and it was a mournful drawn out howl, if I remember right. Now, I have never tried his suggestion, but have thought about it hundreds of times. I may still do it some day. I guess it would be worth a try.

I can recall several times when I have called in multiple coyotes and taken one or two of them and one or more get away, they give you that howl/bark telling you that they "have your number" and are warning other coyotes to stay away from you. Two times this fall/winter I have heard the living family members doing the warning barks for a long, long time. They were not all that far away either, maybe several hundred yards. In one instance this fall, these family members stayed a short distance away for well over 45 minutes and were still barking/howling as I drove away.

Last winter I called in four coyotes in one spot and only two came close enough to shoot at. I got the one, but missed the other. That one I missed ran back to the hillside it came from and sat there, maybe 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile away and did the warning bark/howl at me while I picked up the coyote I had shot. It was still doing its warning as I pulled its dead mate back to the pickup. So, in my experience, I have had several instances where coyotes have hung around in the immediate vicinity long after I have shot some of their family members.

[This message has been edited by Silverfox (edited 02-09-2002).]

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