I slipped out of the tent to greet the new day that was dressed in fog. The first task was to get a campfire going in the stone ring, so breakfast and coffee could be prepared. The crackling sound from the just lit kindling was the only sound in the campground at that early morning minute. Several yards away from the campsite, and near a woods edge, I thought I saw movement. I held statue still and focused on the woods.
|Because of urban sprawl and the ability for coyotes to adapt to human intrusion, sightings of these predators happen more often than a decade ago. Photo credit: Illinois Department of Natural Resources|
I resumed my fire tending duties when again, a blur of grey caught my eye. Darting from the woodline was a coyote, chasing a field mouse, pouncing a few times before locking his wide eyes on me. The coyote twirled and bolted back into the woods. The coyote visit was brief, but interesting. Just the night before, talking with another camper, the subject of coyotes was discussed. The camper said he had never seen a coyote in the wild, but I assured him that a healthy population of coyotes roamed the Ohio landscape, and other Midwestern states. I teased the camper by telling him that although he had not seen a coyote, a coyote at some point had looked at him. The camper laughed and didn’t believe my claim, adding that he would keep an eye out for one. It seems the coyote is still a mysterious creature to many.
The coyote’s range has been gaining areas during the past decade. Though urban sprawl has affected wildlife habitat across America, the coyote has adapted to the human intrusion. Like all wildlife, the coyote needs food, water, and shelter. Most states have these three needs all in close proximity to each other. Brushy ravines provide excellent living quarters, especially in the eastern states. The coyote feeds on a variety of small animals such as: rabbits, mice, squirrels, and chipmunks. Other small critters are table fare also for the coyote like, birds, frogs, toads, and snakes.
Once a male and female coyote locate and decide to mate, the relationship is one lasting for life. Mating season occurs during the late winter through March. A litter of can have a number of pups from one to a dozen will be born in May. The home range of a coyote is from three to 20 miles. If necessary, they will travel outside the territory boundary if hunting pressure or extreme habitat change pushes them.
Coyotes are one of nature’s devious, but yet fascinating creatures. Although the coyote’s presence is becoming more common within sight of human activities, they still provide interesting displays of the true wild to be enjoyed wherever they may be.