Eastern Coyotes Versus Western coyotes Evolution
Posted 17 May 2009 - 12:42 PM
In my quest of hunting coyotes over the last 20 plus years here in the east I have noticed a difference in the coyotes east and west. I want to gather as much info on the eastern coyote as I can. I purposely on my site easterncoyotes.com excluded content from west of the Mississippi. Why?? There are several reasons one being I believe there is a difference in the two in a lot of eastern areas. Coyotes only came to be east of the Mississippi since the 1900’s and a hunt able population only since around the late seventies and early 80’s.
From the reading I have done most biologists suggest they made their way here through Canada. Some in the South say they were brought here by fox hunters in the late 40’s. I believe if the full blooded western coyote could survive and thrive here they would have made it here thousands of years ago by way of Canada or natural land bridges.
So what changes were there for the coyote to thrive and populate the east so quickly? I believe it to be genetics on the coyote’s part.
From PA game and fish Link Here
Analysis of DNA suggests coyote/wolf hybridization has occurred. Other studies indicate that the eastern coyote is intermediate in size and shape between gray wolves and western coyotes. As a result, the eastern coyote exhibits different behavior, habitat use, pelt coloration, prey preferences and home range sizes from its western cousin.
From Virginia DNR http://www.wvdnr.gov...teResearch.shtm
On their path to the east the coyote hybridized with timber wolves in the north and red wolves in the south.
From Jonathan G. Way, Boston College, Environmental Studies and Lynch School of Education Link Here
The eastern coyote is believed to be a hybrid between the western coyote (Canis latrans) and either the red/eastern timber wolf [Canis rufus (red), or C. lycaon (eastern timber) as currently is proposed] or the gray wolf (Canis lupus). This canid is thought to have reached northern New England by the 1930’s and 1940’s; it has moved steadily southward, now occupying virtually all suitable habitat in the Northeast.
From Project coyote Link Here
The most plausible scenario is that the eastern coyote is actually a hybrid between coyotes and a small type of wolf. Dr. Brad White’s research team at Trent University reported that the wolves found in southeastern Canada may actually be the same species as the red wolf (Canis rufus, or Canis lycaon as proposed) found in the southeastern United States. This “eastern wolf” is smaller, weighing about 60 pounds, and is thought to be more closely related to the coyote than to the gray wolf because both are theorized to have evolved in the New World whereas the gray wolf originated in the Old World. Thus, White’s research group theorized that the genetic similarity of the coyote and Canis lycaon might facilitate hybridization, especially when populations are low in an area.
They found that our study subjects were mainly eastern coyote, but all also had western coyote and eastern/red wolf genetic influence as well. White believes the eastern coyote should be classified as its own species because all of the samples from the Northeast (including from Massachusetts, New York, Maine, and New Brunswick) grouped more closely to each other than to western coyotes or wolves. Interestingly, biologists call these same Canids “Tweed wolves” in Ontario, and White notes that they are a product of hybridization between eastern coyotes and eastern wolves.
From West Moreland Conservancy [url="http://"%20<a%20href="http://www.westmorelandconservancy.org/CCWolfCoyote.html""%20target="_blank">http://www.westmorel...CCW...yote.html"</a>"]Link Here[/url]
The coyote is here and well established, but he is considerably different morphologically and behaviorally than his western cousin. It is believed he came from the west, but how did he get here? And, is he still a full blooded true blue coyote? The answer to the first question is we aren’t completely sure and the answer to the second question is a definite no. The eastern coyote differs from the western coyote by the lack of foot-sweat, a larger skull (although smaller than that of a wolf), more weight and less aggressiveness toward its mate or siblings. These are all wolf traits. That makes the eastern coyote sort of an intergraded between the wolf and western coyote and suggests the two have interbred.
by The Republican Newsroom
Friday November 16, 2007, 11:06 PM
By STAN FREEMAN
A genetic study of tissue samples from 75 coyotes captured in the commonwealth showed that all contained varying degrees of the genes of a wolf species found in southeastern Canada, commonly called the Eastern wolf, and the genes of the western coyote, a noticeably smaller animal than the Eastern coyote.
"Eastern coyotes appear to be genetically distinct," he said. "They are not Western coyotes nor Eastern wolves. They are a hybrid (of the two) and probably should be classified as a new species."
French said that some wildlife biologists are pushing to have the Eastern coyote declared a separate and distinct species from the Western coyote.
I have several more thoughts on the subject but did not want to post them all in one post. I would like to hear from others on their thoughts of Western versus Eastern coyotes and what changes have made their population explode here in the East.
Posted 17 May 2009 - 09:05 PM
It's my experience in calling the coyote in just about every corner of this country and a couple others is the same as any game, big coyote don't just live in the east, they grow big where they need to, if they are planing to servive or make it thou a harsh winter,to do this you need a certain body type and that body type is one that will hold the most calories to burn as energy when the temps drop.. This is why most northern animals are of a greater size then there southern family. You wont to harvest a 300 lb plus deer you head North .
i will say this,Our coyote are much more tite lipped then out in the open prairies or desert and lower pressured areas of the south west . my opinion is evolution do to habitat and pressure has given us a coyote in the east that's much more careful with the moves it makes that can and most likely end up putting him in contact with danger, and the danger will most offend be man, they have played the game and now how to win!
So pressure is one of the main factor in the difference in Eastern coyotes,or better yet hard to kill coyotes i should say not just easterns, I will come right out and say this, there is no eastern and western coyotes ! there are non pressured and semi pressured and heavily pressured coyotes the more they are pressured or we will say they are educated in what is dangerous and not dangerous and I have hunted this "what" some call eastern coyotes all over the country .
I don't really have the writing skill to continue my thoughts here but I end it with this
when I say pressured I don't always mean by MAN, there are many thing that can pressure a coyote into being hard to call,, like competition for food, the harshness of the weather,the time of year and the mined set of the particular individual coyote you playing the game with at anytime particular time.
The way a Eastern hunter approaches coyote calling is also a big factor,,,
its a shame i don't have the skills to conversate my thought over this key board thing because i have many thought on why some coyote are hard to call to there deaths and could talk all night about it but A coyote is a coyote anywhere you hunt them.
sorry about my spelling and if you have to read this 2 ,3 time to under stand it, but most no my skills are very lacking
and it nice to see your still around ccp
Posted 18 May 2009 - 07:28 AM
When I said about the Eastern hunter approaches to coyote calling , What I mean in that in my area I think guy tend to go off in the wood just a little to far, I have read some guys reports and then thought why are they wasting all that time walking miles in the wood to set up in a area , I think being we are a big deer hunting community here in PA and many of the guys hitting the woods now to try calling coyotes are taking on the game of calling coyotes much the same as they do hunting deer, they will park and hike in to a area they know from deer hunting and make there sets . I think so much calling time is devoted to the getting to a calling location then the calling , I feel they would have the same outcome if they were to just park move off the road and give them a yell. I feel lots of guys just end the game before it starts, moving though our woods and fields that lay in valleys with the wind blowing in every direction it chooses to, Then you have the sound created by a caller and his gear tromping all over the land that will and up alerting just about every critter of his or her presents .I have seen this in person wile hunting coyotes up in Maine with eastern callers that gathered from theses sights for a hunt, I would drive down a logging road see a team of callers truck off on the side of the road ,I go make my 2 or 3 stands and on the way out the truck would still be there . the sound of a call travels far enough that you or they would have to spent some time moving from stand to stand by foot to get to fresh area to make another set. I think more coyotes would be harvested by callers if they would adapt the western style of calling witch I call run and gun, move in ,make your stand , move out, with the least amount of intrusion as possible in the coyotes home.
I have never seen the coloration difference in Western and what we call Eastern coyotes, I have always thought that the western coyotes I have harvest look to have a larger ear then the Eastern dogs.
I also feel that size of a coyote is relative , I have harvest some big south western dogs and some small eastern coyotes. but in general our northern coyote are larger in size on average.
I have this hole thought on northeastern coyotes migration to the southeast , My thoughts are because of natural and man made obstruction that it has and does take them time to move south. but I also feel that our young coyote here in the northeast that are making the move to find there own territories run in to many obstacles and don't move as nearly as far as some say , I think they move to where they feel comfortable and make it a home, I also think that many of are coyote use the roads and highway of Pennsylvania there Territories boundary lines. with Pennsylvania's systems of road and the abundant food source that our woods have to offer I think they don't move no farther then they have to .. I also feel that if the food is there, our coyote can strive in a much smaller area then there western and southern cousins. Yes Some may make the long journeys like some say but I don't feel that that's set in stone , they move as far as they need to,, One of my argument has always been if they are making the big moves where they at???? the first coyote that I can remember my father harvesting was in 1964 here in PA and it was 200 miles from where my home is now in Philadelphia and to this day I haven herd tell of a coyote in the Philadelphia county or city.. So there must be some obstacles that pushes them west and south west around my county . Then you can go just south of my area into Maryland eastern shore and I myself haven't seen or herd one down there in all my day in the field after Sika deer , Yes I think there is a population of them but if our transient eastern coyotes make such be moves then again I ask "where they at"? or what's deterring them from area and that area ?
Posted 18 May 2009 - 08:56 AM
I appreciate your well researched data.
The study results of research scientists really do not require validation from western coyote callers that have no experience with eastern coyotes.
George states that "a coyote is a coyote" and I agree. I also agree that the animals that inhabit large areas of the northeast and the south and southeast are obviously hybrids and not strictly "coyote". To what extent the redwolf DNA has altered their behavior you would know better than western callers can possibly know. Judging from the photos that you post, the coyotes in Alabama, most certainly the black color phases, have significant redwolf characteristics. In the 1930s government trappers in Missouri and Arkansas reported that one third of all redwolves trapped were black in color with white patches or stars on their chest. I see those colors in photos of present day coyotes that you post in Alabama and others post from Texas.
Dr Gipson reported that "hybrid swarms" began on the Edwards Plateau in Texas and spread eastward and, significant to you, "hybrid swarms" moved southeastward from Arkansas in the 60s and 70s.
Posted 18 May 2009 - 11:45 AM
or am i a educated man. BUT a coyote is a coyote is a coyote , I no nothing about DNA but I feel this.
I would think that today's coyote east and west have come from a wolf like critter that crossed the land bridge and inhabited what is now north American ,just the same as most animals have .
the critters that stayed north stayed big , the critters that migrated south evolved to fit there new land, thus we have the today's coyote, the excuse some use that our coyotes are smarter or different don't float.
are they red wolf ? I don't know, but if there are hard to kill coyote, then there is a resin for it. maybe this resin is do to low population or maybe they highly pressured, maybe they just don't need to work so hard for a meal or maybe just maybe that calling coyote to the gun is something relatively new back home and we just haven't found the best way to kill our critters as of yet . i really don't now but the coyotes that run the fields and MT and hills of Pennsylvania are the same critters running the prairies and deserts of the south west.
my mined set in that hard to kill coyotes are hard to kill what ever there zip code is...
thank you and good night, George has left the building
Posted 19 May 2009 - 02:41 PM
George I understand your thoughts on larger animals in the north but most data does not apply to coyotes.
From Project coyote Jonathan G. Way
“Bergmann’s rule (i.e., larger size with increasing latitude) has been posited to explain the larger sizes of mammals in colder climates; findings from my study indicate that longitude (degrees west to east) accounted for greater than four times the amount of variation in coyote mass than did latitude.”
I also find this to be true because I have taken coyotes 50lbs +as far south as Gainesville Fla. There are pockets of coyotes around the southeast that differ from so called normal sized coyotes. I have not hunted in the North but have read many studies from the North and find some of the same holds true for there.
Here is an example
The map below shows some areas I have hunted throughout the southeastern US,
The light red areas are places I encountered normal sized coyotes and large numbers of coyotes. These coyotes were more plentiful and were easily called across open areas. Average weight around 25 to 35 pounds.
The light blue areas are places I encountered less coyotes but were much larger 45 to 50 +pounds. Some of these larger coyotes were only a few miles from there smaller counter parts.
In hunting these two different sized coyotes I could kill either by simply setting up and calling but to increase my kill numbers I had to change my tactics to successfully kill the larger consistently. The larger sized coyote areas are what I am trying to understand. They seemed to have a range of 7 to 10 miles while the smaller coyotes have an average range around 3 to 5 miles.
Now does wolf DNA have a factor in these coyotes? Does it create a coyote that hunts larger game? Causing it to travel with the deer? I have also noticed these larger coyotes rely on each other more when coming to the call. In the few cases I have been able to watch these type coyotes come from afar they have split and come to the sound from different angles. Increasing the chance of someone getting busted by one of them.
This explained why sometimes hunting these areas I would hear 1 single very light yelp from an unexpected area and then not see a coyote on that stand. Thus causing me to change my tactics when hunting these coyotes. The smaller coyotes seem to be very predictable in their approach. Most will come in downwind are charge in. They will either be a single are if in a group will all come from the same direction. The larger coyote areas they seem to split and come from all sides. The only other time I have seen this was on discovery channel, wild dogs in Africa would split before they arrived at their prey and come in from different directions. Maybe they have some canine DNA that affects them???
George the light red areas I have hunted does work well running and gunning. Most of those areas are open and have large farms. The light blue areas it doesn’t seem to work as well but scouting and setting up better pays off and produces consistent kills.
Also another factor I have noticed through the years. The coyotes are way more vocal in the light red areas. The blue areas I may hear the coyotes maybe once or twice a month even though my scouting may find a good healthy population. If a landowner tells me he hears coyotes all the time I know I can setup a little more loosely. If a land owner tells me I hear them every once in awhile and my scouting shows good sign then I make my setup tight. I know coyotes are almost everywhere here. If a land owner tells me he doesn’t hear or see any, many times my scouting will find coyotes there and I automatically know they will be harder to hunt.
I want to believe a coyote is a coyote like a dog is a dog but there are different breeds of dogs that are good at different things. So what keeps a coyote from breeding and evolving into a better hunter for the eastern terrain??
I spend most of my calling time observing coyotes and how they react instead of just shooting them. I have noticed a large difference in a lot of coyote groups. I understand what they are doing and setup accordingly now I want to know why they have changed so much in the past 20 years. Canine? Wolf? Natural evolution?
Posted 21 May 2009 - 08:12 PM
Most times the Western hunter will laugh at the notion that eastern coyotes are different.
I purposely on my site easterncoyotes.com excluded content from west of the Mississippi. Why?? There are several reasons one being I believe there is a difference in the two in a lot of eastern areas.
The key phrase is " in a lot of eastern areas." There is a significant difference in some areas. Significant enough that taxonomists have classified the 20th subspecies as c. latrans var. , the eastern coyote. A map of the range of c.latrans var. includes the New England states and most of New York. The established range does not extend into Pennsylvania which is populated primarily by c latrans thamnos which is why Big George doesn't see a difference between his Pa. coyotes and the coyotes he hunts in other western states.
Anyone that has seen photos of coyotes taken by callers in New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine can believe the genetic tests that prove wolf DNA in what was called the New England phenotype or the New England canid before it was officially classified.
Richard, as you have observed, there are other areas in the south eastern states that have populations of extraordinarily large coyotes, occasionally black in color with the telltale white chest patch. that also have tested positive wolf DNA. I've read that taxonomists are considering classifying two other subspecies, perhaps your coyotes are among them.
I believe if the full blooded western coyote could survive and thrive here they would have made it here thousands of years ago by way of Canada or natural land bridges.
Actually they did.
the archaelogical record shows the periodic existence of coyotes as far east as Maryland over the past 15,000 years.
So what changes were there for the coyote to thrive and populate the east so quickly? I believe it to be genetics on the coyote’s part.
Dr. Gipson states that there are four reasons for population increases in the southeast.
1. Removal of forests for lumbering and clearing for crops and pastures.
2. Increased food supply due to shift from small scale farming to large scale farming with controlled livestock and confined poultry.
3. The removal of competition from the redwolf.
4. Availability of mates. As the population of redwolves was reduced individuals were at times isolated and unable to find mates of their own species. Hybridization occasionally occurred between coyotes, wolves and sometimes dogs.
Posted 21 May 2009 - 10:07 PM
but for how they look and act I cant see a difference from place to place .
I have hunted and killed coyotes many states but some are New England and as far south as Jacksonville FLA..
and in the west from Dog creek British Colombia , Peramint lake area in Nevada to Globe AZ from deep south Texas and Mexico. and I don't see the difference. As for terrain I have seen and hunted places at 6000 feet in AZ that you would think your upstate PA, and hard woods of Sumas Washington That would make you feel you were in western Maine, the sandy pine barons of south New Jersey were you couldn't tell you weren't hunting off Cecil field in Jacksonville fla.
the only thing i ever thought was the larger ears of the western coyote.
I have mounted coyotes from just about all 4 corners of this country
PS I can take better photos if you like to see a difrernt angls
here is a 46lb Maine coyote
and here is a 40 lb south texas coyote
the ears always look much larger out west??
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