Coyote Hunting, Predatorial Series #1 - "Basic Behavior"
Coyotes will form small family groups, but you will mostly see them running by themselves or as part of a hunting pair. They are a territorial animal and their territory will generally be 6 - 8 square miles, but males will sometimes have a territory that extends up to 40 square miles in size. They protect this territory most fervently during the times of the year when they are rearing their pups. The breeding season for the coyotes will start in late January and last until mid March with most of the breeding taking place during February. The female will excavate a den into a hillside or berm or take up a rocky shelter to have her pups which are born about 63 days after she is bred. The number of pups born is regulated by the amount of available food in the region. The better the food sources the more pups will be born. This can be attributed to a better overall health of the female. During this time of gestation and rearing the male may be the only member of the pair doing the hunting and will bring food back to the female for her and her pups to feed upon. The pups will stay with the female until later in the year and will most times disperse out to seek their own territories and possibly seek out their own mates by December of the year they are born in. This is a large part of the reason for the rapid expansion of the coyote throughout the United States.
The tracks of a coyote on this shale road indicate that the coyote was a recent visitor to this area, as the tracks are fresh.
The coyote can be located after dark by listening for their individual and group howling. The coyote has a very large vocalization upwards of a dozen sounds or so and the coyote hunter should become familiar with as many of those communications as they can. You can also scout along dirt roads, trails and creek beds in the area looking for the telltale tracks and scat of the coyote. The coyote’s track will look very much like that of a dog, but the track will have more of a pointy elongated shape than that of a dog. The front paw tracks are slightly larger than the rear paw tracks and a domestic dog will generally have more symmetrical tracks. The coyote track is about 2 ½” in length and it is common to have the front and rear track overlapping. You will many times find coyote scat on dirt roads as the coyotes will often travel these roads on their patrols through their territories and they will mark their territory by depositing this sign along with urination and ground scratching along their travel routes. The coyote scat will most always contain large amounts of hair and often small bones as they eat their prey hair and all.
You will be able to identify the scat of the coyote by the presence of hair and bones within the scat itself.