Find the best places to hunt Coyotes in Canada and discover the Coyotes' Physical Description, Range, Habitat, Food Source, Breeding Habits, and Status. 

Provinces with Coyotes Hunting

Province / Territory

Species

Season

Nunavut

None

No Season Listed

Northwest Territories

Northern Coyote

No Season Listed

Yukon

Northern Coyote

Zone 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, have Seasons Available

British Columbia

Northern Coyote

Mountain Coyote

Northwest Coast Coyote

 Seasons Vary by District

Alberta

Northern Coyote

Plains Coyote

Seasons Available 

Saskatchewan

Northern Coyote

Plains Coyote

North Eastern Coyote

Resident Only 

Manitoba

North Eastern Coyote

Season Available

Ontario

North Eastern Coyote

Season Available 

Quebec

North Eastern Coyote

Eastern Coyote

Season Available 

New Brunswick

Eastern Coyote

Season Available

Nova Scotia

Eastern Coyote

Season Available 

Prince Edward Island

Eastern Coyote

Season Available 

Newfoundland

Eastern Coyote

Season Available 

Coyote - Canis latrans

Range - Distribution and Habitat of the Coyote:

Coyote Range Map of Canada


Coyote range map of Canada
Coyote Range Map - By Hel-hama - Own work, based on http://archive.org/stream/northamericanqua00nowa#page/9/mode/1up, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24419449

 

There are 20 subspecies of Coyote in North America of which Canada is home to 6 of them.

  • The Northern Coyote can be found in the Yukon, South-western portion of the Northwest Territories, and the northern portions of British Columbia and Alberta.
  • The Northwest Coast Coyote is found only in the south west corner of British Columbia.
  • The Mountain Coyote is occupies the southern portions of British Columbia east of the Northwest Coast Coyote’s range and in a small south-western section of Alberta.
  • The Plains Coyote makes its home primarily in the southern half of Alberta and Saskatchewan.
  • The North-eastern Coyote starts its range in where the Plains Coyote finishes off on the south-eastern border of Saskatchewan and occupies the southern sections of Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec.
  • The Eastern Coyote has a small representation in southern Quebec but primarily utilizes Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and P.E.I. A Coyote was reported in 2012 on the west side of the island of Newfoundland.

The Coyote is considered to be a non-migrating native resident that is of making use of a wide range of habitats. It is able to make its home in agricultural areas, forests, the prairies, mountainous areas, swamps, and even residential areas. Its range seems to be expanding and the only issue that it seems to have is that it generally does not make its home in an area where it may come into conflict with the wolf.

Like the wolf, the female uses a den for the purpose of waiting for her young to be born and in which to raise her young. It will make use of an abandoned shed, a brush-covered slope, a grain bin, drainage pipe, a steep bank, rock ledge, hollow log, or thicket for a den site. It may also use an abandoned burrow left by another mammal. The size of the den is normally about 1 ft. (0.3 m.) in diameter and will go into the ground anywhere from 5 to 25 ft. (1.5 to 7.62 m.). The normal practise for the Coyote is to have a few interconnecting tunnels and multiple entrances to the main chamber. The Coyote does not generally share its den with other Coyotes and it may use the same den over the course of a few years.

Females seem to be particular with their den and you will find the female continuously digging and cleaning out her den prior to giving birth. It is not uncommon for her to move her pups to another den. The reasoning not really known but it is thought that disturbances and/or infestations of parasites (like fleas, ticks) may come into play. Regardless of the reason, the relocation is generally a short distance.

Description of Coyote:

Coyote

Coyote
Photo by: Jared Tarbell - Flickr

Evolutional development of the Coyote has given it:

  • Large erect ears
  • A straight and bushy tail
  • A bluish-black coloured scent gland that is located on the top side of its tail near the base
  • A narrower body frame, muzzle, and chest than a wolf
  • A larger braincase than the wolf’s
  • Its eyes have a yellow iris and round black pupil
  • Relatively small feet.
  • The Coyote is much smaller than a grey wolf and much larger than fox.

Another adaptation comes with the development of its large upper and lower cheek teeth, known as carnassials. These teeth have sharp cutting edges that can cut food much the same way as a pair of scissors do. The dental formula of the Coyote is I 3/3, C 1/1, P 4/4, M 2/3 = 42. 

A distinguishing feature of the Coyote is that it walks and runs with its tail in downwards position whereas a wolf’s tail is out in a horizontal position.

The Coyote has four color phases that varies in colour and by geographic location from a buff, brown, grey, to a black. It moults once a year starting with a light loss of fur in May and by the end of July it is shedding most of its hair.

The most common colour is a grey-brown with a white or buff coloured belly and throat. The front legs, face, ears, and paws will have a reddish colour to them and the tip of their tail is black. Overall the fur on its body is long with black or dark coloured tipped guard hairs and that can make this mammal appear to be larger than it really is.

The size of a Coyote varies both by its sex and geographically by its type. Male members of the species are typically taller and longer than females and geographically northern members which average 40 lbs. (18 kg.) tend to be larger than southern members. Also eastern Coyotes with an average weight of 30 to 40 lbs. (13.6 to 18.14 kg.) are larger than western Coyotes. Typically the body of a Coyote has a length of 29.7 to 39.7 inches. (75 to 100 cm.), its tail is about 16 ins. (40) to give it an overall length of 52 ins. (132 cm.).

The male Coyote’s weight will average 18 to 44 lbs. (8–20 kg.) in comparison to the female weight of 15-40 lbs. (7–18 kg.)

The Coyote communicates via its senses of sight, sound, smell and touch.

  • Sight is used as a close range tool to observe the facial expressions and body language of other pack members.
  • The Coyote has a good sense of hearing and it uses sound to communicate through the act of howling. The act of howling lets other Coyotes know where they have set out their territory. It may also be used by two or more Coyotes when they reunite. The Coyote has 3 calls that it normally uses the squeak, a distress call and howl call which is followed by high-pitched howl.
  • The sense of smell is used by the Coyote to signal others of their territory and that is done when they urinate or place feces on stumps, rock, bushes and fence posts.

Besides being dubbed as one of North America’s “most adaptable mammals” the Coyote displays a lot of variation in its social structure. It can live and survive on its own, with a mate, or in a pack. A mated pair will not only consist of themselves but will also include their young (that years offspring) and possibly the offspring from a previous year’s litter. Pack members have the luxury of being able to prey on larger mammals (like ungulates) and be able to defend those harvests and the pack’s territory.

A wild Coyote has a life expectancy that ranges from 10 to 14.5 years of age.

Diet and Foraging Strategy of the Coyote:

About 90% of the Coyote’s diet consists of animal matter with the balance being plant matter. The Coyote is considered to be an omnivore and forages mainly by a system of opportunity.

The Coyotes may be active either day or night but notable peaks in its activity occur at sunrise or sunset.

It can hunt either singularly or in pairs. For example when hunting a small animal like a bird mouse, gopher, or ground squirrel, it will likely do so alone. However, when faced with a larger prey item like a young black bear or white tailed deer it will likely work in pairs or in a pack. This hunting strategy involves the Coyotes taking turns in chasing the deer and continue to do so until the victim is tired out. The Coyote is also different from the wolf in its killing tactics. The Coyote engages its victim from the front and attempts to cut its head and/or throat. The wolf on the other hand makes an attack from the rear.

The successful hunt of a large ungulate depends on many variables like snow depth and snow crust density. Yearling Coyotes rarely partake in the hunt of ungulates because it is the alpha pair of the pack that does most of the work.

The Coyote also demonstrates various hunting styles as it will use a pouncing method when hunting mice but will likely resort to a chasing mode when after a ground squirrel.

The Coyote shows a lot of intelligence in that it recognizes that a meal may be present for it when it spots a badger going after a ground squirrel. The Coyote may not be very good at digging out the squirrel and leaves that to the badger. But if the ground squirrel makes a run for it in order to get away from the badger. The Coyote simply needs to chase the ground squirrel and dinner is ready. In either case, the outlook is not too good for the ground squirrel.

The Coyote needs to have about 600 g of nutritional food intake on a daily basis and in order to do so will maintain a foraging territory that ranges from 0.15 to 23.94 sq. mi (0.38 to 62 km²). The size is naturally dependant upon the areas’ food supplies, denning sites, and other predators that may also be using the same or portions of the same area.

The Coyotes will consume many types of prey and foods of preference are in the form of fresh meat and most meals are generally foods of opportunity. But they are not picky enough that they won’t pass up a free meal if it is carrion or human garbage. The Coyote has been known to cannibalize the remains of other Coyotes.

The main prey of the Coyote consists of small animals that are about the size of a rabbit, ground squirrel, or mouse. But it has been known to consume rodents, animals (large and small), birds, amphibians (except toads), large insects, lizards, snakes, fish, and crustaceans. It will also resort to eating fruit and vegetable matter when meat is not on the dinner plate.

The season in which the Coyote hunts has a large bearing on what it eats. For example small mammals like voles and mice are an important food source in the spring, summer, and fall. But rabbits, hares, and carrion will make up a large portion of its diet in the winter.


It will eat most any size rodent. Chipmunks, Deer mice, Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels, Gopher, Groundhogs, Kangaroo rats, Lemmings, Marmots, Muskrats, Northern flying squirrels, Pack rats, Porcupines, Richardson's ground squirrels, Thirteen-lined ground squirrels, Voles, Pikas, Western harvest mice, White-footed mice,

It will consume animals like American shrew moles, Domestic Dogs, Eastern cottontails, Fishers, Long-tailed weasels, Mountain cottontails, North American river otters, Northern short-tailed shrews, Raccoons, Red foxes, Southern short-tailed shrews, Virginia opossums,

But it would have to work with another Coyote in order to take down Bison, black bears (young), Gray wolves, Harp seals, mule deer, Pronghorns, Sheep, or White-tailed deer.

Some of the birds that it will take are American robins, Baltimore Orioles, Black-throated sparrows, Bluebirds, Common nighthawks, Common ravens, Cowbirds, Gackles, Northern mockingbird, Northern cardinals, Red-winged Black birds, Spruce grouse, Swifts, and White-winged doves. Ground nesting birds like American coots, Cinnamon teals, Gadwall Ducks, and Northern pintails can also fall prey. Especially the eggs and young.

Even birds of prey like the Harris's hawk can fall victim.

It will eat reptiles like Milk snakes and rattlesnakes.

Plant matter seems to be eaten more in the fall and winter months.

Some of the plant matter consumed consists of apples, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, carrots, leaves of balsam fir, leaves of white cedar, peaches, pears, strawberries and watermelon, Large amounts of grass may be eaten in the early spring.

Breeding and Reproduction of the Coyote:

Pair of Coyote

Pair of Coyotes
Photo by: Miville Tremblay - Flickr

First of all I will note that Coyotes can mate with domestic dogs and occasionally with wolves. Such occurrences are not common because the mating cycle of each species doesn’t match and the survival rates of offspring are lower.

Wild male Coyotes court females for 2 to 3 months and they mate once a year in late winter. The mating system is considered to be monogamous in that mated pairs will normally stay together for a few years.

The female Coyote only has a single estrous cycle in a year and she will be in heat for 2 to 5 days somewhere between late January and late March. Sperm generation in male Coyotes is about 54 days and the peak of that cycle is timed to occur in that same January to February time frame. The act of mating will occur within that time period.

The female undergoes a gestation period of 60 to 65 days with 63 being cited as the norm. The size of the litter of new born pups can vary anywhere from 1 to 19. But 4 to 7 with an average of 5.7 pups seems to be the norm. These numbers are also affected by the population density of Coyotes and the availability of feed.

The months of March to May sees the female produce her litter in a den that is located in a burrow, hollow trees, or under a rock ledges with an opening that usually faces south. The altricial young will weigh about 8.8 oz. (250 g.) at birth. The pup’s ears are limp and they are blind. So for the first 10 days they will be fully dependent upon their mother’s milk for nourishment.

Pups open their eyes, their ears are erect, and they will weigh about 21.2 oz. (600 g.) at about day 10. Their teeth also begin to show in that the incisors erupt at day 12, the canines at day 16, and the second premolars at day 21. That is probably why the parents start feeding their young regurgitated solid food at days 12–15.

The pups will begin to walk at around 20 days and days 21 to 28 will see the youngsters emerge for their first time from the natal den. Their mother’s milk production has started to decrease at about 2 month’s but they will still be nursed and given regurgitated food. But by the time they reach 35 days they will be fully weaned from their mother’s milk. It is about this time period that their baby teeth are fully operational and the parents start to feed them whole food like mice, voles, small rabbits or bits of an ungulate.

The parents continue to watch and protect their young. But they will soon start to bring the youngsters small live food like mice and it is up to the pup to figure out how to hunt it. Under the watchful eye of its parents the youngster is being progressed into a hunter on its own.

By the time male pups reach 6 to 9 months of age, it is time for them to disperse from the natal family. Females on the other hand are generally kept with the parents in order to form a pack.

Juvenile Coyotes reach adulthood size somewhere between 9 and 12 months of age and both males and females reach sexual maturity at 9 to 10 months. Even though both male and female Coyotes are capable of breeding at this young age most do not breed until they are in their second year.

Status of Coyote

The Coyote was listed on the Red List as a species of least concern (2008). Justification for this listing status is because it has a wide distribution in a variety of habitats, it does show signs of its population increasing its range and there are no major threats.

The Coyote is plentiful throughout their range and despite humans disturbing the landscape it seems to be able to cope with the situation. Also declines in wolf populations may have also have helped the Coyote to expand.

Known predators of the Coyote come from humans, black bears, grizzly bears, cougars, grey wolves, and golden eagles.

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coyote

http://www.hww.ca/en/wildlife/mammals/Coyote.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mammals_of_Canada

http://eol.org/pages/328608/details

https://www.fws.gov/redwolf/wolvesandCoyotes.html

Background Images

  • Coyote  – Jared Tarbell – Flickr

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