A reader of a popular New York outdoor magazine recently blamed coyotes for the drop in hunting license sales in an editorial. He said that no one buys hunting licenses because the hunting is so poor in New York, and the cause of that is eastern coyotes. The writer said that he was an avid hunter since 1945, and in 1945 there was plenty of open land and lots of small game, but now in 2008 the coyotes have eaten all of the small and much of the large game. A lot has changed since 1945, and in 63 years a lot of the open land that small game once flourished in is gone. Asian Ring Necked Pheasants, which are an introduced species, were doomed long before coyotes entered the scene. Pheasants and other small game species need vast tracts of open and undisturbed land to successfully propagate. There are not enough large tracts of land any more that are undisturbed. Most large fields are cut up to three times a year for hay and those cuttings destroy the nests and young. Most other open land is farmed, and fertilizer and pesticides are no friend to ground nesting animals . Houses, developments, businesses, big box stores and roads now cut through areas where species such as pheasants and varying hare once flourished.
Thanks to logging and a high browse line, the deer have traveled into the suburbs where food and cover are plentiful. Studies have shown time and time again that coyotes have little overall effect on deer populations, and while they may take some fawns, there are many other mortality factors for fawns such as bear predation, disease, cars and domestic dogs.
A lot has changed since 1945 and habitat loss, not coyotes is to blame for many things, including the loss of game species. One can also explore human lifestyle changes since 1945 to answer some questions regarding hunting license sales, but that is another blog.
What would you name the wildest feral cat you had ever encountered as an experienced cat rescuer? The Sheriff called me late one night because a caller had reported seeing a mother cat and three kittens living in a drainage pipe that went under route 219 between the Microtel and WalMart. It was an extremely cold Thanksgiving 2006 weekend night, I grabbed my box traps and some canned cat food and went to get them. Several hours later I had all four cats- hissing, spitting balls of fire in box traps. Now what? I called good friend and cat lover Colleen for help (most people know how allergic I am to cats!) The pastel grey mother cat needed to be spayed, given her shots and wormed. But she proved too much for even the vet clinic who could not get her to go under anesthesia despite a number of attempts. They would have to try again the following day when the drugs in her system wore off and there wouldn’t be a threat of overdose. After considerable effort, “Nasty” as she was soon named, was anaesthetized and spayed. Her kittens, Timmy, Jimmy and Kimmy, were quite wild but were eventually placed in a barn home. Nasty went to Colleen’s home to recover and await placement in a barn that didn’t mind if cats weren’t tame. Homes like this are very hard to find and please, if you have room for one or more healthy spayed or neutered un-social cats that have all their shots, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Because of the lack of suitable places to release these cats, Nasty had to stay at Colleen’s home. Feeding and cleaning her litter box was always risky because Nasty didn’t want any human hands near her. Over time though, Colleen and her husband gained Nasty’s trust and now, a year later, Nasty is a loving, gentle housecat that loves human touch and has proven to us that even the wildest of feral cats have potential as human companions! Please consider opening your heart to a homeless cat!