JS-Kit/Echo comments for article at http://smallestminority.blogspot.com/2009/10/nature-red-in-tooth-and-claw.html (29 comments)

  Tentative mapping of comments to original article, corrections solicited.

jsid-1256867202-614481  perlhaqr at Fri, 30 Oct 2009 01:46:42 +0000

Coyotes? But, they're so tiny!

jsid-1256868675-614483  Kevin S at Fri, 30 Oct 2009 02:11:15 +0000

We live on a continent that has quite a few species of large predators. I don't think I'd ever hike alone out in the boonies, gun or no.

jsid-1256869684-614487  Hypnagogue at Fri, 30 Oct 2009 02:28:04 +0000

I live in coyote country and have seen the damage that these little furballs can do when they hunt in packs.


jsid-1256870697-614491  Ken at Fri, 30 Oct 2009 02:44:57 +0000

Ohio has very nearly a year-round open season on coyote. It's been a while since I looked at the regs, but there aren't many when it comes to coyote.

jsid-1256873142-614494  Kevin Baker at Fri, 30 Oct 2009 03:25:42 +0000

Same here. I'm laying on my bed in my fairly densely populated neighborhood, listening to a pack yip and howl down in a wash not even a mile away. I've lost a cat to coyotes, and I'm fairly sure they take smaller dogs as well. I am not at all surprised that two or more could take a human.

jsid-1256874913-614495  mthead at Fri, 30 Oct 2009 03:55:13 +0000

I think it was wolves. And nobody wants to admit it. Never heard of a couple of coyotes attacking a full grown human. Coyotes are appox. 18" at the withers. (Not the most formidable creatures.) They stay alive by stealth.
And i don't put lying passed the media.
They lied about a 4yr. old getting taken by a cougar here in Oregon.

jsid-1256878870-614498  juris_imprudent at Fri, 30 Oct 2009 05:01:10 +0000

mthead, that thought crossed my mind as well. Here in CA, there have been a couple of coyotes that attacked small dogs while walking with a person - but not on the person. That is still pretty bold even for a coyote. The only predator attacking humans out here in the last few years has been the cougar.

jsid-1256884757-614500  DC at Fri, 30 Oct 2009 06:39:17 +0000

I'm reminded of a line for Ed Viesteur's autobiography, "No matter how much you love the mountains, they don't love YOU". Sage advice for any human who ventures into the wild improperly prepared to survive. A tragedy for the young lady and her family...another "if only she'd had a gun" moment.

I wonder if she had some food on her and was trying to feed the cute widdle puppies when they decided to try having her for a snack instead...I can't imagine a coyote approaching a human otherwise (they usually boogie the hell away).

jsid-1256889368-614502  Will at Fri, 30 Oct 2009 07:56:08 +0000

Never, ever heard of a coyote attacking a person before. Maybe Canadian coyotes are different.

jsid-1256890663-614503  nom de guerre at Fri, 30 Oct 2009 08:17:43 +0000

think i have to weigh in with the 'wolf' crowd also. been around (lived near) coyotes all my life, and never seen or heard of such a thing. they just don't operate that way. cats and small-to-medium-size dogs, sure. but *people*? it'd be like 3 hyenas bringing down a cape buffalo: it just doesn't happen.

jsid-1256906300-614507  scott at Fri, 30 Oct 2009 12:38:20 +0000

I agree, does not seem normal for a coyote, who knows - if it were a couple of wolves the whole myth of they won't harm the humans would be blown out of the water -- they surely could not explain it...........

jsid-1256906345-614508  longrifleman at Fri, 30 Oct 2009 12:39:05 +0000

Another possibility is a hybrid. Over the years we've had some problems with coy-dogs. All the cunning of yotes and much less fear of humans. The ones I've seen were bigger than standard issue yotes, which makes sense to me. Smaller dogs tend to end up lunch instead of lovers. The location of the attack is at the edge of the official range for coyotes so there could be a shortage of the regular breeding population. Or, it could be wolves.:)

jsid-1256906833-614509  Eric Wilner at Fri, 30 Oct 2009 12:47:13 +0000

I have seen a coyote bothering a medium-sized deer, but the deer had no difficulty in chasing it away.
Two coyotes killing a full-grown human? That just doesn't sound right, unless the victim was already somehow incapacitated, or declined to offer any resistance, armed or otherwise.
Coyotes in parks do get used to humans, and won't always keep their distance... but they're still fairly small critters, and a hiking boot or daypack (or a guitar) should be an adequate weapon for repelling one or two... shouldn't it?

jsid-1256906839-614510  Tam at Fri, 30 Oct 2009 12:47:19 +0000

Yup. I'm guessing wild dogs.

jsid-1256907353-614511  Bram at Fri, 30 Oct 2009 12:55:53 +0000

So the people called the authorities but didn't help her?

jsid-1256907639-614512  Kevin Baker at Fri, 30 Oct 2009 13:00:39 +0000

Silly, they're not QUALIFIED!

jsid-1256912164-614515  Unix-Jedi at Fri, 30 Oct 2009 14:16:04 +0000

I don't know it *wasn't* Coyotes.

I mean, when you see a wolf, you know it's a wolf. There's always a possibility of it being a hybrid wild dog/coyote - but coyotes aren't that small, and working as a pack, attacking a small human (Looking at her pictures she seems slight) doesn't strike me as wildly unrealistic.

Especially if they were already conditioned to not be scared of hikers.

jsid-1256915229-614518  DJ at Fri, 30 Oct 2009 15:07:09 +0000

Coyotes abound in large numbers where I hunt on my father-in-law's property northeast of Oklahoma City. Muzzleloading season is on, and I'll be there this afternoon. At sunrise or sunset, I can hear has many as five different packs howl at once, some of them only a few hundred yards away.

A couple of years ago, this happened about fifteen minutes after sunset as I was about to get up and leave the woods. It gets dark in there quickly after the sun goes down. A pack of coyotes lit up less than a hundred yards away, close enough that I could hear them walking through the leaves. There were at least seven or eight animals in the pack.

Trust me, that will wake a person right up.

I often hear them from inside my house at night. We've seen them in the neighborhood and I've found their poop piles loaded with persimmon seeds (a dead giveaway) in my front yard.

I've been around them my whole life, but I've never known them to threaten a human. If they get too close for their comfort, they leave.

jsid-1256917676-614523  MrBill at Fri, 30 Oct 2009 15:47:56 +0000

Having been an Arizona boy for most my life, Coyotes are not an uncommon encounter. I still remember an incident from my youth in which I accidentally road my bike smack dab into the middle of a pack of 12+ coyotes. I had only seen three crossing the road and wanted to get a closer look before they disappeared into the dessert, but quickly found myself surrounded. Rather than running as they typically would from humans, they seemed to all turn to me as if trying ot decide if they could take me or not. I quickly peddled my way out of the pack and escaped without injury.

That being said, it is hard to believe that only two would consider an adult human a reasonable choice for an attack... unless they were completely staved and desperate, or the person offered food that attracted them and things got oout of hand.

I doubt it was wolves, as only coyotes and not wolves are listed as the primary inhabitants of the park...
"Park wildlife includes moose, black bears, coyotes, and bald eagles. Whales and Northern Gannets can often be seen from the park's coastal hiking trails, e.g. the Skyline Trail." - Wikipedia

jsid-1256917726-614524  Wolfman at Fri, 30 Oct 2009 15:48:46 +0000

Another important point is that northern coyotes are a LOT bigger. I'm originally from Montana,and I'd guess most of our coyotes up there are easily half again the size of Arizona coyotes. I still doubt that only two of them would attack a human, but it becomes more possible. Not long ago, a man in Strawberry, AZ (I think) was attacked by a rabid bobcat INSIDE A BAR. I take a well loved .357 on all my hikes. I wouldn't bet on it for a bear, but it would do well on dog to cougar sized animals. There's nothing like hearing them yipping and howling in the middle of the night. I find it comforting, yet at the same time it pushes that little "Primal Danger" button inside the human brain...

jsid-1256927613-614543  BobG at Fri, 30 Oct 2009 18:33:33 +0000

I'm thinking they were coy-dogs; they are usually bigger, and will form packs. Coyotes tend to hunt in mated pairs, not packs. Coy-dogs will form packs. Coyotes are shy of people, but are opportunists and will get around people under the right conditions. When my dad was working out at Dugway, Utah, they used to feed coyotes bones and scraps at lunch, the coyotes would come up within a few feet of them.

jsid-1256928192-614545  bud at Fri, 30 Oct 2009 18:43:12 +0000

I vote for hybrids. Coyotes are native western animals that have migrated east. With the low population densities that leading-edge migrant animals would see, they're going to be like the typical drunk college kid - they'll take their sex where they can get it, which is probably the local semi-feral domestic dog. Smaller dogs don't last out there, so they would be breeding up in size, and it's possible that their native fear of humans would be dulled as well.

I have encountered lots of coyotes out west here, and I have NEVER seen one that was even the slightest bit agressive toward humans.

jsid-1256928348-614546  Primevalpapa at Fri, 30 Oct 2009 18:45:48 +0000

I saw this article and first thought that a gun would have been nice but not in Canada. I have backpacked some areas in Canada and my friend was a 2" oak dowel that was 6 feet long. It is really to bad that she wasn't carrying a stout stick as they make great weapons when you whittle one end to a point. It provided multiple uses as a walking stick, staff, spear, and as a crutch in a pinch.

Too many people go into wildlife areas unprepared for anything.

jsid-1256933291-614552  Mark in AZ at Fri, 30 Oct 2009 20:08:11 +0000

Hybrid dog-yotes?. Wolfs? Rabid?

Coyotes just ain't that big. They look bigger than they are because they are half fur. My 60 lb germane Sheppard liked to beat them up. She only had problems if there were 4 or more.

jsid-1256960362-614585  mthead at Sat, 31 Oct 2009 03:39:22 +0000

If there has never been a recorded wolf/human attack. (Mind you the first Montana wolf hunt netted a 210 pounder.) And wolves mostly run in packs.
How much less a couple 20lb. coyotes?
I never underestimate the medias ability to flat out lie. I've seen them do it if the story doesn't fit their agenda.

jsid-1257056786-614634  FishOrMan at Sun, 01 Nov 2009 06:26:26 +0000

Well, it was two cougars that tried to take me. Although, I WAS armed. The statue of limitations wasn't up then, so Kim posted the story for me. http://www.theothersideofkim.com/index.php/tos/single/7550/

The pictures are down now, but darn do I love that story.

jsid-1257087474-614645  Firehand at Sun, 01 Nov 2009 14:57:54 +0000

As the guy mentioned, northern tricksters tend to be bigger than those down here. But even those down here... I read a study a couple of years back from an area of Texas, they found that the two biggest predators of deer, full-grown as well as young, were bobcats and coyote; one camera actually caught a still of a big coyote in mid-leap to grabbing a buck. Critters capable of taking whitetail deer wouldn't have much trouble with a human if they developed the mindset.

jsid-1257287770-614804  Billy Beck at Tue, 03 Nov 2009 22:36:10 +0000

The horrible wisecrack: it was alleged that someone or other had opined that "she died doing what she loved the most."

...whereupon some wag Twitted: "What?...being eaten by coyotes?"

jsid-1257297296-614818  LabRat at Wed, 04 Nov 2009 01:14:56 +0000

A tremendous amount of coyote behavior, as well as morphology, seems to be epigenetic; change the local ecological scene, and you change the coyote. Out here where they're small predators taking small prey (with plenty of big predators filling those niches), and hunted by man and animal alike, they're meek and mostly run in pairs or alone rather than in packs.

In the northeast with colder climes, bigger prey, and no one beating them up from rungs above them on the food chain? They behave like a much different animal than what most American Westerners are familiar with. Hell, even out here, we've been followed by packs of coyotes before. No one made an aggressive move, but we were clearly being, ah, profiled.

Also bear in mind that, genetically speaking, the most reliable way to tell the difference between a dog, a wolf, and a coyote is to have the person who collected the sample tell you what it was before you run it, because the results you get are going to be far less conclusive. The distinct species of North American canids are defined almost exclusively by behavioral ecology, because they really can't be defined by sequencing. It's also entirely possible that when any of them finds its niche failing or changing- wolves with not enough big prey, coyotes in northeastern woods- they interbreed with the margins of the population that's adapted to the better niche.

So it might be that there's not even any such thing as a "coydog" or "wolf-coyote" to speak of so much as there is one very large, very flexible worldwide canine gene pool.

And as a side note, people are quite, quite willing to whitewash a wolf attack. Look up Valerius Geist's writings on the subject- illuminating, informative, and in some ways damning.

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