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Coyotes Courting & Mating

1-24-18 coyote tracks 072While I can’t say definitively that these are the tracks of mating Coyotes as I was not witness to the activity itself, it is a distinct possibility. Female Coyotes come into heat only once a year, for two to five days sometime between January and March. For two to three months prior to mating, there is increased howling and scent-marking (often in tandem, one after the other) on the part of both male and female. A pair of Coyotes may mate with each other for up to 12 consecutive years, but not necessarily for life. (Inset photo is of female in estrus scent-marking.)

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10 responses

  1. Alice Pratt

    So many differences between animals & humans

    January 24, 2018 at 7:54 am

  2. hi Mary, Does female coyote pee smell skunky when they are in heat? I think i heard that is true for fox urine. I have been smelling a lot of skunkiness near me lately and wondered who it was. thanks for all you do!

    January 24, 2018 at 9:05 am

    • Hi Fearn, No coyote urine does not smell skunky – very dog-like. I have started smelling foxes already – and I’m sure that’s what you are smelling. Both male and female foxes’ urine, but especially male, smells like that this time of year when they’re mating season rolls around!

      January 24, 2018 at 4:00 pm

  3. Mary, This fall I was walking my dogs above the village (Strafford) as I have done thousands of times over the last twenty years. They were leashed and we wandered a little ways from the town trail to see the view. Right where we have always sat, was a buried, baited coyote trap; the dogs pulled me towards it and one of them was caught by the paw. In all of the confusion that ensued, with the two dogs tied together and one of then in the trap, I was bit many times on my arms and hands and needed stitches; I still suffer some nerve damage. I eventually laid on top of the dogs and held Annie’s mouth shut while trying to figure out the trap. I couldn’t do it without using two hands so we lay there while I yelled for help and tried to call 911. After an hour an a half, the fast squad arrived. The trapper arrived too. I asked him why he sets these indiscriminate traps, and his response was that he was controlling coyotes.
    My thoughts are that coyotes control rodents which is a good thing. Coyotes will level their own population if left to do so and by killing them, they increase litter size and never get a chance to establish an older, wiser population that knows how to stay away from farms.
    Is it really about hating large predators or do trappers make enough money to supplement their income? The coats that are so popular now with the red cross on the shoulder have hoods lined with coyote fur. Every time I see another Dartmouth student with one one, my arms hurt.
    What are your thought on coyotes? Will they regulate their own population? Are they a danger that needs to be controlled? is there a lot of money to made trapping them? I heard from gossip that this trapper took over 25 this fall from Strafford alone. I am not hearing any yipping in the hills from mating.
    Thanks for anything you can add.

    January 24, 2018 at 11:29 am

    • Alice Pratt

      That is a horrible story, that brought tears to my eyes 😢. I hope you are recovering…how is Annie? I hope the trapper helped with Vet bills. What a panic situation….and such a long wait for help to show up. ……and also for the poor Coyotes who get trapped…so painful. What if a person….a child had stepped in the trap?

      January 24, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    • Hi Micki, What a horrible experience you and your dogs had. I am so sorry. I am not an expert on coyotes, but I do know that you’re correct about their ability to regulate the size of their litters depending on their population status. I just went online to check the going price for a coyote pelt – $30.00. Unbelievable. I know that coyotes do prey on livestock, if it’s easily accessible, but my understanding is that this is a much bigger problem in the West than here. I am of the opinion that they suffer from bad PR just as the wolf did. Hopefully they’re clever enough to outwit trappers and keep their population healthy. Best to not get me started on leghold traps. I’m so sorry you and your dog had to suffer so as a result of one. I hope both you and your dog are o.k.

      January 24, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    • Ranger T

      In Massachusetts foothold traps have been banned since 1998. To legally trap a coyote it must be a cage-trap. If this was in MA, then any coyote caught can be classified as illegal wildlife poaching.

      January 25, 2018 at 12:55 pm

  4. Thanks for everyone’s input.

    January 24, 2018 at 7:02 pm


    Hi Mary. Did you know that the N.H. Animal Rights League has been working hard to get Fish and Game to have a ban on coyote hunting during the period that the female has and raises her young? Of course the response is negative so far in spite of many comments before and during the public hearing in which they considered this request. Most had not even read the majority of the comments. Disgraceful!

    January 24, 2018 at 8:17 pm

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