Vote for Bear and Foofye!!!

Foofye Bear

“Foofye! Foofye! Foofye!” The crowd roars and there is thunderous applause as The Little Dog takes the stage, center field at SuperBowl 2007 for the half-time show!!! 

Well, at least that is how we think it should be, but until her Big Break into show biz, Foofye would sure appreciate your votes for “Cutest Dog”

Please check out this dog contest and vote for “Bear” too, he’s our Great Pyrenees entered in the Working group (though we are not sure exactly how much actual work he’s been doing lately…)   We rescued “Bear” in Fall of 2005 from a shelter in Kentucky where he was slated for euthanasia.  What a shame it would have been if this magnificent dog had been killed.  He has very heavy scarring on both of his front paws where he was held in coyote, possibly wolf traps for days.  His left  front paw was nearly severed.  After being in three bad homes in Kentucky, “Bear” has found his forever home at Fox Wood , where he is gentle protector, guide and companion to us and our other dog rescues.  You can vote for Bear by clicking on the link above for the Dog Show USA contest and clicking on Bear for a five star rating. Don’t forget, our Little Dog “Foofye” will be entering the “Cutest Face” category, so if you have a moment,  check out Foofye in the “Cutest Dog” category.  You will also enjoy checking out our photo gallery photos of Foofye too…  :0)  AND… If you go to and do a search for “Foofye” we will bet money that our Little Dog is the Only “Foofye” out there!



FoofyeThank you!!!

Deer and Car Collisions on the Rise

It is the second week in November, and it is getting colder.  The deer and other wildlife are really starting to be more active at dusk and later.  There are countless deer carcasses scattering the roads everywhere.   Yet people are still driving the roads as though it is the middle of the afternoon.  It gets darker earlier and there is reduced visibility of the peripheral areas of the road and unless  deer are looking toward your car, you won’t see the reflection of their eyes.  Deer are more likely to bound out into the road suddenly during the Fall rut – they are in a more excited state.  For drivers that don’t slow down accordingly to accommodate the chance of a collision with a deer the odds are great that you will hit a deer, wound it, kill it and damage your vehicle as well.  Locally, there has already been an early morning fatality this year  of a young man speeding through a known deer crossing area.   Roads that have trees close to the road on either side are especially risky to travel at a normal rate of speed.   Slow down!

Traveling from my home to Rochester, the number of raccoons, opossums, skunks and deer that are slaughtered in the roads is staggering .  People seem to be  oblivious to the presence of wildlife  and  they aren’t watching for reflective eyes on the sides of the road, or other signs, such as movement up ahead.  A lot of people mistakenly  assume that an animal is smart enough to avoid their vehicle.  Another mistake people make is not counting on another member of the species to be following in the one that just ran safely across the road.  Deer and raccoons often travel in groups.  In the summer, youngsters often travel with their litter mates and mothers.  A good rule of thumb is, if you see one, there are probably more, so slow down and look!

Remember, most wildlife is most active between dusk and dawn- slow down, travel with caution.

A Fox Mystery

ScarletI received a year old female Red fox this summer that had been hit by a car.  While looking her over for the first time, there were some things about her that were confusing.  I noticed that she was very small – the size of a pup, yet when I looked at her teeth, they indicated a fox one year old.  “Why is she so small?” I wondered.  How did such a small inferior animal survive all of the coyotes in that area?

The pads of this fox were bleeding and oozing, as though she had never been on rough ground before.

Next, I noticed that she acted as though she could not see me, yet there was no apparent head or eye injury.  Hmmm….  weird.  Is this fox blind too?  Her eyes did not look perfect, but I couldn’t explain exactly what was different.

There was a lump in her back , and her rescuer explained that she was lying in the road.  Hit by a car of course.  But, she was able to sit up and move her back legs, a good sign.

So, in to the vet for examination and x-rays we went.

X-Rays revealed a broken back, but since she was not paralyzed, we decided to give her a chance.  Normally victims with broken backs are euthanized.  But, I would be able to keep her very quiet and give the back a chance to heal.

Examining her sight, or lack of, we determined that she might be able to see a little, but we weren’t sure.  I suspected that poor nutrition may be the cause of her blindness.

She only weighed 6 pounds – nearly half the weight that she should be, yet she wasn’t overly thin.

The bleeding raw pads  were not a symptom of disease here, but rather being on turf that they had never felt before. Rough ground.

I have pieced together her story after much thought and investigation.  The previous year a woman in that area had been turned in to the Conservation department for having a young wild Red fox pup.  She of course lied when the officers asked her about it.  She kept the fox hidden (no sunlight) and fed it all the wrong diet.  Improper diet  will definitely cause blindness, as well as inferior size, growth and development.  By the next spring, this fox had become a nuisance rather than the novelty it once was and the woman decided to release it back into the wild.

Never been outdoors, her poor feet were cut up by the ground that was relatively rough compared to soft floors or carpeting.  Blind or nearly so, she was unable to navigate oncoming vehicles.  How did  she avoid coyotes?  I can only speculate that she avoided coyotes because she stayed close to houses, traveling mostly roads.

Why must people kidnap wildlife?????  Every year I get countless calls about wildlife people “rescued”, yet only decided to find appropriate help for them when the animal was either dying or they found it suddenly inconvenient.  Every year I get calls for fox pups, coyote pups, baby raccoons, fawns,  baby skunks… all that people kidnapped from their mothers.  Wildlife Rehabilitators  can read through the lines pretty well and know when people are not telling us the whole story, or the truth.  We can also compare the age of the babies with the story that is being told to us and make a fairly accurate assessment of whether the truth is being told or not.  Fawns are a good one… I once had a father and son coaxed into  turning in a fawn the boy had supposedly rescued from its dead mother as a newborn.  He said he had it 2 days and had brought it home from the boy scout camp.  If he had pulled the afterbirth off of it like he said, then why was the fawn clearly two WEEKS old?

What had happened was he concocted the story , remembering a popular video shown on animal shows of “freeway” a fawn that was delivered on the side of the road.  He used this story to create his own fantastic story of heroics.  What really happened was that he stumbled on the fawn in the woods, doing what it was supposed to be doing – lying very still where its’  mother had hidden it.  Many adult have kidnapped fawns like this.  A very selfish act.  The bring them home, let their kids play with them , let their dogs sleep with them, and then when the fawn is dying – they decide to make some phone calls to get help.

Oh well… enough of that for a while.

About the Red fox  female, we will call her Scarlet  – guess what???? Her back has healed AND good and proper nutrition here at fox Wood has restored her vision!  She is gaining size and weight and shares a pen with Roamy, a young fox I will write about at a later time.  We will evaluate Scarlet in the Spring and see if she is fit for release at that time.

Open Season on Coyotes?

To implement an open season on coyotes to control their populations would be like trying to put out a fire with kerosene.

According to Coyote Biologist Robert Crabtree, widespread control increases immigration, reproduction and survival of remaining coyotes.  Reduction causes coyote population structure to be remain in a colonizing state. This creates larger litters, higher pup survival rates and a general population skewed toward the younger, more inexperienced coyotes, which are usually the ones that prey on pets and livestock. Females with larger litters will need larger prey to feed them.

Sustained reduction of coyote numbers can only be accomplished if over 70% of the individuals are removed on a continual basis.  This would be  impossible, especially since not everyone sees coyotes as a problem.   Many people see coyotes as essential to the balance of nature, free rodent control, and as scavengers that clean up weak or injured deer.

Thanks to coyotes, the turkey populations in New York are thriving.  It is normal for a coyote to examine a turkey decoy or to be called in by a persistent turkey call – they are investigating an “abnormal bird”.  The slow and weak are removed from the populations this way, thus saving the rest of the flock.

The only way coyote numbers will decrease is if we let them manage their own populations in response to available food. Studies show that when left alone, coyote numbers drop faster than when control efforts are implemented.  Cars, owls, and angry neighbors cause far more domestic  pet deaths than do coyotes. Let’s leave the coyotes alone and use common sense when it comes to letting our livestock and pets roam freely.

Coyote pup

Killing Coyotes Not a Solution

I read a lot of complaining about coyotes from deer hunters that think coyotes are killing all their deer. Not so.  One big reason that our deer are not in the woods is because they are in farmers fields eating crops and in suburban back yards eating  ornamental shrubbery  because the browse line is too high in the woods. The browse line is too high  because of unnaturally high deer populations for many past years.  Hunters wanted lots of deer and they got lots of deer for many years, and now must pay the price.  Do you want more deer?  Don’t shoot coyotes, plant food plots.

Coyotes are primarily rodent eaters.  They will also scavenge the rich supply of deer carcasses produced by year round auto collisions and  gun and arrow injuries sustained during hunting season. Small thin deer that can’t reach the browseline may also be taken by coyotes  before or after they die – but these weak and injured  deer are going to die anyway, something called compensatory mortality.   Deer Biologist Ken Koerth is quoted in North American Whitetail Magazine April 2005 as saying “Coyotes normally can’t control deer numbers on their own”

If you want to control coyote numbers the last thing you want to do is hunt or trap coyotes.  Billions of dollars, many years of history and  biological studies show that coyotes respond to killing by increasing their populations. Killing them causes  more females to breed in a territory, breeding females to produce larger litters and more viable pups.  Studies also showed that when left alone, coyote numbers declined naturally on their own.  It is the people hunting and trapping them that are creating higher coyote numbers.  Trying to control coyotes by killing them is like trying to put out a fire with gasoline.   Breaking down the social structure of a group of coyotes  through the loss of a dominant male or female causes subordinate pairs to breed, where normally they would remain behaviorally sterile.  More breeding pairs and breeding by younger members of the group create more and larger litters. Larger litters need larger prey (such as deer)  to feed them.

As far as killing fawns, coyotes hunt primarily by movement. Fawns (and nesting turkeys!) stay absolutely still and quiet – this is their natural defense to predation.  Any predator must literally stumble on them to get them.  However, triplet fawns, ill fawns or those  orphaned when the doe is hit by a car or shot with a nuisance permit will be taken because they walk about bleating.  These fawns are doomed and is it necessarily bad if they are used by coyotes as food rather than rot on the ground?

Deer hunters , do you want more deer? Leave the coyotes alone. Plant a food plot.