Trapping the Sly Coyote: Not Much Value in Skin, but Bounty is Worth Seeking, Daily Racing Form, 1919-02-23


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i ; i 1 i i TRAPPING THE SLY COYOTE Not Much Value in Skin, but Bounty Is Worth Seeking. Extinction Sonslit Because of Ravages Aiiioiik Valuahle Small Game. Wherever it has not been crowded back by civilization the coyote is found from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and from the northern timlier line far into Mexico, On account of certain anatomical characteristics naturalists have classified it among the wolves and have given it the name of red wolf, though yellow would le much more appropriate. The early settlers called it the prairie wolf and the trappers gave it the name of Indian dog, while the Indians call it by a name which means big fox. But all these names have finally given way to the Mexican name of coyote. To a layman it seems to be in a class by itself and intermediate lx;tween the wolf, the fox and the dog. It is said that , if will interbreed readily with any of those animals, but there appears to be no direct confirmation of this. Naturalists recognize quite a number of different species, but there iippears to be no distinct line of demarcation between any of them. Trappers ascribe them to hybridization,. Except for a little difference in size, the longer legs of one species and the bushier tail of another, they are so nearly alike in general appearance that the difference does not appear except upon close examination. Their habits are identical, except that those which have not been in contact with civilization are a little less cunning, and so far as the hunter or trapper, or even the public, is concerned there is but one species. It usually inhabits the bluffs and broken land bordering upon streams, making its den in some water-worn gully. Sometimes, however, it appropriates the burrow of a badger on the level prairie, and occasionally excavates a burrow for lt?elf. It has a habit of howling for an hour or so -on pleasant evenings, and. aside from its depredations and an occasional glimpse of the animal, this as about the only way its presence in a particular locality may be known. The howling closely resembles the barking of a dog and always, comes from the vicinity of its den. but its ventriloquial power is such that it is impossible to locate this sound. FLEETER OF FOOT THAN DEER. Its track is precisely like that of a dog except that the trail is more .narrow. Few dogs will follow its tracks by scent, and it has a way of concealing them from sight by stepping upon hard, dry ground whenever possible. It: Is classed as a nocturnal animal, but this classification is wrong, for it never roams at night. Formerly it was abroad during the entire day, but experience has taught it caution, and of late years it ventures forth with the first hreak of day, hunts till ii little after sunrise and then secretes itself until nearly dusk.. Its food consists of -prairie chickens, quail, rabbits, deer and other game birds and animals of tho prairies, and poultry, sheep, pigs, calves and even colts of the farm. Oil account of its depreda- Hons a war -of extermination lias been declared against it. and for more than a century It has been fought with guns, traps, dogs and poison. It is the fleetest of all American animals and will outstrip an antelope. AVere it not for its habit of suddenly darting off at right angles and giving its pursuers an opportunity to shorten the distance by taking the hypotenuse, not even the swiftest greyhound could overtake it. It is one of the keenest and shrewdest of all animals; its intelligence seems almost human. Formerly great numbers were killed by poisoning, but it has learned by experience and now will rarely touch a piece of meat or a dead bird or animal not of its own killing. It will kill a sheep, satisfy Its hunger, and return to the carcass when again hungry. But it is so sly that if it detects the man scent or any changed appearance it will immediately leave the vicinity. The coyote is entirely too shrewd an animal to bo caught in any kind .of device except a well concealed steel trap. And it has a most wohderful ability in detecting and avoiding even this apparently bv the odor arising from it. A bright new trap is of no use whatsoever. Only old and rusty traps should be used and these should be buried in hen manuro for several days before being set. The only bait that can be depended upon is a live animal of some kind; chickens are best adapted for the purpose. A few are placed in a coop, loaded into a wagon, taken far out upon the prairie and set upon the ground. The earth is spaded in front of tho coop, the sods removed and banked against tho back. The coyote will begin the attack by digging under the coop, and traps in ample number must be set round it in such a manner that it will be impossible for an animal to reach the coop without stepping Into one or more of them. Coyote skins have no great value, seldom bringing more than three or four dollars, but in all states in which the animals are found substantial bounties are offered for tlieir scalps. These range in the different states from five to twenty-five dollars. C. O. Ormsbee in Country Gentleman.

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