(Picture submitted by Donald Childs Warbird Field Staff)
Outdoorsman in Virginia have either killed one, spotted one or knows someone who has. The Eastern Coyote, significantly larger in size than his western cousin and also a very skilled and sly hunter. The debate rages on among native Virginians on how these dogs came to be among us so fast. The general assumption is the dogs migrated in back in the 80's coming from mostly the great lakes region down through the Pennsylvania and West Virginia mountains. In the 80's as some hunters remember deer populations were booming. A lot of clear cutting in western Va helped the herd growth and naturally predators follow. The agriculture of the eastern region also made for a healthy deer herd so it was basically the perfect storm. Some folks are set on the idea that the game department released them here. Deer herd control is usually the topic involved with that but mother nature will do her own thing without mans help. Regardless of how they came to be they are here to stay. Many hunters are using the opportunity to get outdoors and hone their hunting skills. Calling dogs in or the occasional opportunity shot when on a deer stand.
This picture was taken recently in Western Va via Bushnell trail cam. This is a common sign these days for folks using cams to scout for game animals or just for wildlife photography. When driving at night and that medium sized lightning quick critter with a long tail dashes across the road remember what you see here. Its an Eastern Coyote (Coy Wolf) however you like to say it, not a Va mountain lion but thats a whole other story.