Coyotes In Nova Scotia


In the midst of all the other news these days around here, there is one topic that keeps recurring…..coyotes….these amazing animals are becoming a topic of conversation in Nova Scotia, as their numbers appear to have grown in recent years, so have incidents with humans and sightings are becoming all too common place.

Of course our awareness of the coyotes has increased as well, particularly since the unfortunate, horrible death of a young female singer,  Taylor Mitchell in a Cape Breton National Park, the victim of a coyote attack. 

Recently another hiker managed to deter a coyote attack by firing a flare gun at the animal, which I guess is not a bad thing to carry in the woods.

Coyotes Close To Town

I don’t know what is scaring people more, the coyotes or the news shows about coyotes… seems that almost every night lately there has been a clip about a coyote sighting, usually close to subdivisions, and in one case, close to an elementary school.

The people interviewed are either shocked and dismayed or worse maybe, almost ambivalent to the animals. What gets me are the folks who have bought homes in subdivisions close to the city limits, in some cases you might as well say, on the edge of the forest, who are surprised to see a coyote. Hello…you live where they live…..One of the reasons I would want to live in an rural area is to see wildlife, not fear it.

Coyotes Here Since the 1970’s

Coyote’s have been in Nova Scotia since at least the 1970’s Scientists figure  they apparently arrived here as part of a migration across North America, perhaps involving some mating with wolves along the way, which has resulted in what is been termed, the ‘eastern coyote’ a bigger breed than those from out west.

They’ve done fairly well around here too, as they are very adaptable and with lots of deer, rabbits, squirrels and other game animals to eat, and not too much bothering them this is probably a pretty good place to be a coyote.  

Sheep Suppers

Some also have become pretty good at killing sheep and other farm animals much to the chagrin of farmers. Some years ago some farmers started using mules to protect their sheep and specially trained dogs too I believe. Apparently a mule makes a pretty good watchdog…. Donkeys and Mules protect against predators

I remember in the 1980’s when I was an ardent hunter, it seemed that there was a coyote behind every tree for awhile, then as the whitetail deer numbers dropped, so did the coyote sightings, once they had cleaned up all the stray cats and dogs as they moved from eating wild game to more domestic.

No Cats Left

I recall the locals around the cottage saying that there wasn’t a cat alive, and no point in getting one, because of the coyotes. So this recent spat of coyote sightings is not new, not really. They’ve been on the news before, and probably will be again, especially right now as they seem to be particularly thick, and on the move close to subdivisions and urban areas.

Of course they have little or nothing to fear in those areas, not much more in the woods either, as the numbers of hunters has dropped dramatically in the past few years, perhaps because of Canada’s gun laws which have made gun ownership a bit more of a bother than in earlier times.

Coyotes Packing Up and Moving To The City

Perhaps because folks would rather play hunter games on the internet than actually go in the woods with a gun….I dunno….but I do know that animals like coyotes, are opportunistic, and they will grab a meal where they can, and if they learn that cities hold lots of meals, unfettered or unprotected by humans with guns, then the city is where they will live.

I’m not advocating we all start shooting coyotes in our urban backyards, I’m just saying, don’t be surprised if you see one, after all, if you were wiley coyote, wouldn’t you go somewhere that folks don’t shoot at you?

I’ve heard some pretty stupid stuff lately, such as a suggestion to introduce wolves back into Nova Scotia to cut down on the coyotes…that reminds me of inviting the Hell’s Angels to town to control the small time criminals….Not that I have anything against wolves, but I really don’t want to be watching over my shoulder for wolves or coyotes thank you….

What if the wolves are attracted to the coyotes in a sexy way, and instead of coyote control, we end up breeding an even more agressive coyote?

Wild Animals Left Unchecked

Coyotes are wild animals, and as such are wonderful to see, and I think to have around. All wild animals interest me, but not without some care, and unchecked, they will become a problem, whether it’s a coyote killing your poodle, a squirrel in your attic,  a deer eating your hostice or a moose colliding with and crushing your car in the middle of the night on a dark highway.

We need to know that as we move into their balliwicks, wildlife is not always going to be as happy to see us as we are to see them. Country dwellers have known this for eons, that’s why for those living in the country,  hunting and shooting wildlife is far more accepted, and some would argue even necessary. (that will get some folks dander up I’m sure)

Now I am on a rant…sorry….but these days, we seem to have confused gun violence and crime with hunting, and we seem to have also confused hunting with animal cruelty. Particularly people who have never hunted or held a gun, or even known the thrill of hitting a bullseye dead centre.

The old adage of not judging a man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins has gone out the window,  particularly when it comes to hunters. The damage to property, damage to wildlife habitat and even injuries and deaths from ATV’s and 4 Wheelers seems far more acceptable than a hunter shooting say a goose or duck….a duck who allowed to multiply unfettered, can do tremendous damage to drinking water supplies and crops.

In the past few years, I believe the popularity surge in four wheelers has done more to open up remote areas and damage wildlife habitat than hunting ever did. There are no real ‘wild places’ left, so can ya blame a few coyotes for coming to town for a look around and a meal or two?

In the meantime, if you go into the woods, it is suggested you “walk loudly” and “carry a big stick” If that stick shoots bullets….all the better I think…..

Related Links
  Facts On Coyotes in Nova Scotia. It’s a little outdated, because it doesn’t mention the death of the hiker, but still pertinent.
Coyote Problems In Nova Scotia
My previous post about coyotes in Nova Scotia
Hinterland Who’s Who – Coyotes
…. Donkeys and Mules protect against predators

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