Excerpt:Corvallis Coyote Conflicts
The coyote is often depicted in Native American lore as a trickster. The sly younger brother of the wolf, the coyote deceives, yet teaches man about art and culture. Credited for bringing fire to man, the coyote has a more sinister side to its reputation. Some lore tells of danger, destruction, irresponsibility—of coyotes pervading the lives of those around them. Coyotes have, in a similar sense, sparked a current national debate as to the ethics and economics of how we view wildlife in North America.
On one hand, many researchers and activists are on the ground collecting data and publishing their findings in support of new control methods. Simultaneously, thousands of tax dollars are being funneled into federal trapping and gunning programs which are often successful only in the short term.
How Did They Become Such a Nuisance?
An informative packet by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife titled Living with Wildlife: Coyotes, describes coyotes as comparable in appearance to the German shepherd with similar pointed ears, slender muzzle, and a bushy tail. A typical coyote is about two feet tall at the shoulder, weighs 25 to 45 pounds, and has a “distinctive voice, consisting of various howls, high-pitched yips, and occasional dog-like barks.” Their coats vary by habitat but generally consist of tan, brown, grey, and black.
In the world of biological terminology, the coyote is known as a generalist species. Generalists are able to adapt to a variety of habitats, are capable of eating an array of foods, and are quick to respond to changes in environment. Other generalists include raccoons, skunks, and baboons—notice these are all common creatures found near human development and habitually regarded as nuisances.