Coydogs are more of an urban legend than fact

Ohio’s coyotes are everywhere, as in of the state’s 88 counties, according to Jamey Emmert, of the Division of Wildlife, who suggested that although the state has seen the number of coyotes increase rapidly in recent years, their numbers have seemed to have leveled off.
But Ohio isn’t the only state with more than enough coyotes. Just ask anyone from any state. Indeed, these sneaky predators are everywhere.

And no, Ohio wildlife officials did not import coyotes to help control the numbers of wild turkeys, nor are coyotes the root cause in the disappearance of wild pheasants.

And no, Ohio wildlife officials will not come to your house to trap a pesky coyote and move it to another territory.

And no, a frisky coyote will not breed your prize Yorkie. He may eat the dog but won’t go out of his way to breed her. And no, that’s not a complete truth because it can happen, but rarely.

Rural legend

Resulting canines from crosses between coyotes and domestic dogs are called coydogs for the want of a better title. Once rumored to be common, coydogs are actually more rural legend than fact.

Emmert says interbreeding is possible but not probable. Coyotes breed once a year and always in the winter, with most in January and February. That’s when male coyotes feel the urge and when female coyotes are receptive.

A male coyote that happens on a willing female dog in the summer is more likely have his mind on lunch than a date.

And yes, a coyote will occasionally kill and eat a domestic pet. Some farmers have a hard time keeping barn cats around for that reason.

Coydog

But back to the coydog issue. Biologically speaking, the breeding cycles of dogs and coyotes don’t jive. So leave it at that.

Most people report the presence of coyotes after hearing them howl. It’s an unsettling sound and brings on images of marauding wolves to those who hear the songs.

Apparently coyotes howl for a variety of reasons, none of which is to frighten humans. Some folks think that a howling coyote is calling his pack in but since coyotes don’t regularly hunt in packs, that’s a stretch. They do however locate their buddies vocally.

Coyotes leave a track with four toes and they average about 35 pounds. Wearing a dense winter coat can make a coyote look twice that big and some males may go another ten pounds but the average is much smaller.

Territory search

Consider that young male coyotes are the most likely to be on the move in the winter as they search for their own territory. He’s not welcome as part of the family unit so when it comes time for his mother to raise another litter he is encouraged to set out on his own. Because the young males are roaming they are the most likely to be a seen and heard.

Coyotes do kill and eat deer and in the absence of other easier food sources the number of fawns killed each spring can be significant. There is no closed season on coyotes and nation-wide they have become a prime target for varmint hunters.

Spring walleye

The spring walleye bite is just weeks away making now the perfect time to belly up to platter full of good advice on using boat electronics to their full capacity. After all, most of us barely break the surface when it comes to understanding the many features of today’s sonar and GPS equipment. So welcome Michigan based Lance Valentine to Ravenna Marine next weekend for what has to be the most understandable, in-depth seminar on interpreting what a modern sonar unit is trying to tell us and how best to use GPS in the search for active walleyes and other game fish.

This will be Valentine’s annual trek to Ravenna, where he always draws a crowd of inquisitive students in what might be called a window into the mind of a pro fisherman.

Interestingly, the class always includes several “be-backs” because the day-long school is sometimes more than one mind can wrap itself around in one day. While Valentine favors Lowrance electronics, his lessons can be bent to fit any full-featured brand.

Reservations

Admission and reservations are required as class size is limited. The program is actually a three day affair with an evening class Feb.7 on catching more and bigger fish, Feb. 8 is an all-day sonar and GPS class, and on Feb. 9, it’s a crankbait seminar first and a second seminar explaining the importance of searching out bait fish, the sure way to finding active game fish.

Contact Ravenna Marine at 330-296-5590 for details.

Ice fishing

The ice fishing season is on and for a change ice conditions are favorable but never guaranteed to be safe. Currents, snow cover, and warm water inlets can negatively affect ice conditions. I questioned a few anglers this week who reported nearly eight inches of ice on their lake. Smart anglers drill several holes to check ice as they move about and they make no assumptions.

About the Author

Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer, and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian. More Stories by Mike Tontimonia

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