The ever elusive coyote

The coyote is most beautiful during the winter with its long thick coat and bushy tail. Its tail has a black tip with its overall body colour being different shades of grey and tan colours that range from brown to slightly red.

The coyote can be found almost anywhere and has learned to thrive amongst us humans. They mate for life and produce pups in early April or May. During this time, food is plentiful and consists of small mammals like mice and squirrels. Interestingly enough, coyotes will also eat fruit and vegetables. By the fall, young coyotes are hunting on their own and within a year begin to think about starting their own family units.

Coyotes can run up to 65 km/h and can live up to 12 years as a free roaming wild animal. Most coyotes however are lucky to live half that age due to hunters and property owners that find them a nuisance. Others are killed by vehicles.

The next time you visit the local newsstand, have a look at how many magazines use the coyote’s image. They are a very popular subject for outdoor photographers and photographs can be found in many conservation, hunting, nature and general outdoor publications throughout North America.
Photographing the coyote can sometimes be difficult and involve a great deal of time, effort and patience. Other times it can be relatively easy. It all depends on where you live and how habituated the coyote is in your community.

Calling in coyotes with predator calls is one way to bring a coyote into your camera range. Predator calls can be purchased at any good sporting goods store and are available as electronic recorded calls complete with a weatherproof loud speaker or a simple mouth call available in an assortment of designs. More often than not, successfully calling in a coyote with a predator call involves being dressed in camouflage clothing from head to toe for the best results. Not everyone however is that motivated to photograph coyotes in this manner or even has the time or resources to do so.

An easier and equally productive way to photograph coyotes is to cruise the back roads around farmers’ fields in your vehicle. Your car is a very effective blind and coyotes that are used to vehicles will often tolerate a human if they remain inside. In late winter, the coyotes will be on the move more often as mating season begins and sightings are usually up during February. Popular areas in Kamloops include Barnhartvale, Gamble Pond and Rose Hill.

Like all wildlife, the best viewing times for coyote are morning and evening and these times will also provide the best light for photography.

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