New Hampshire Wildlife News
by Certified Wildlife Biologist, Eric P. Orff
Coyote- Photo is from Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, used with permission.

New Hampshire's Coyote

You may wake up to the sound of coyotes howling in the weeks to come, because February is the peak of the coyote-mating season.

Come April, 4 to 8 pups will be born in a den concealed in a brushy slope or under a log pile. The male coyote hunts for the female, bringing her food, which she regurgitates to feed her young. About 70 percent of the pups will die before their first birthday.

The eastern coyote is a relative newcomer to New Hampshire. The first coyote was seen in Holderness in 1944. During the 1970s and 80s, coyotes spread throughout the state. Today, they are entrenched statewide in every available habitat from rural to urban. Studies by Dr. Robert Wayne of the University of California on tissue samples of New England coyotes found a great deal of wolf blood related to the gray wolf of Quebec. This is why our coyotes, weighing 48-60 pounds, are nearly twice the size of the western species.

Coyotes come in an array of colors, from creamy to rust-colored to tawny gray. Their erect, pointed ears and bushy, drooping tails distinguish them from dogs.

Coyotes are opportunists and eat all sorts of things, depending on the time of year. In the summer, they eat fruits and berries, insects and small mammals like rabbits, squirrels and mice. They'll also eat dead animals and prey on deer slowed by deep snow. New Hampshire trappers have harvested an average of 379 coyotes each year over the past decade.

The coyote is the only furbearer species that has a year-round open season for hunting and trapping in the state, but this hasn't reduced New Hampshire's coyote population.

No wonder this crafty canid is called "wily coyote!"

--Eric Orff, Wildife Biologist; and Dr. Judy Silverberg, Wildlife Educatortent

The Coyote photo at the top of the page is from the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in Holderness, NH. Visit their page on Coyotes at

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