The most disrupting factor in nature is us....man, but sometimes nature will adjust and create a species that will mutate or evolve to stay ahead of us. The coyote is one of these creatures. It has changed in many different ways these past 50 years. Bigger, smarter and fearless, he hunts in many different ways. As a loner, a breeding pair and now as a pack when productive for food. He eats everything. The new coyote understands his prey and understands it's enemies...man. The farmers in this area had him eradicated in the late fifties. Now he's back, stronger and smarter than ever.
In 1955 a draft beer was 5 cents, cigarettes 19 cents a pack and gas was about 18 cents a gallon. The Michigan bounty on the coyote was
$15.00 to $25.00 based on sex and you could get market price for the fur. Do the math, around $600.00 in today's economy. The farmers considered them a threat to the live stock on the farm and with the bounty it wasn't long before their howls at night fell silent. That bounty was removed in the 1960's. The open season remained on the coyote with the stipulation, "When doing or about to do damage", that meant anytime; night or day. Today some hunting camps and farmers hire hunters or put bounties on the coyote when their numbers become a problem.
Facts are, no matter what your politics on the subject, the coyote is dangerous and he is beginning to get more aggressive with his new genetics...coyote/wolf. With the wolf gone, the coyote was hunted out of Michigan. The western coyote (20 pounds) restocked the northern Great Lakes area via the northern Canadian route breeding with the wolf. This coywolf (40 pounds) returned to the Michigan area. Smart, big, bold with no human interest in his fur and no bounty his numbers exploded. It has for the first time attacked and killed humans in just the last few years. Researchers are struggling to gain knowledge and behavior on this new animal. No one knows his aggressive and boldness levels. The coywolf is not to be trusted.
Now what? I wish every visitor from the city on the M-119 fall color tour could witness a predator in the wild but at what price. Nothing is holding him in check. Controlled hunting is the answer for now. I have witnessed Coyotes hunting full grown whitetails and it is not pretty. The coyotes will stay on the deer all night biting its haunches until it collapses. Fawns are an easy mark. Rabbits, grouse, squirrels, mice, pets and now reports of small children being attacked. This Coywolf is not your fathers coyote. This new strain of coyote-wolf is larger on the edges of wolf territory and seems to get smaller as it moves out of the wolf range south. Northern Michigan is a candidate for the larger more wolf like hybrid.
Emmet county has more than a balanced population. Northern Emmet county residents have been hunting it for sport and are taking large numbers. A picture hanging on the wall at the Moose Jaw restaurant shows a hunter with 38 coyotes on his hay wagon, taken in the month of March a few years ago. It is hard to condone that he took so many, yet harder to believe there were that many on his farm! Nature is not forgiving and has some pretty harsh ways to balance out the fauna. Disease, starvation, man, to name a few. The return of predators ...wolves, cougars , bears and now coywolves need to be understood and respected as we share the great north woods with them. They are not the Pink Panther, Smokey the Bear or Wiley Coyote you see in cartoons. They will kill you in a heart beat if hungery and the opportunity was right. Fear and mutual respect is the best you can hope for with them, how we attain that is the question.
Sweet Is The Lore That Nature Brings