This series of photographs was taken on location in an abandoned ranch in far southeast Denton County. A trail camera baited with apples was used to record these pictures.
The apples proved to be a very good attractant for the Coyotes, and this site had a great deal of activity over the two day period that pictures were recorded. The photographs in this series may represent up to seven different Coyotes (but more likely only 3 to 4), and one surprise guest!
I recorded this set of photographs in an attempt to get a better idea of just how many coyotes we have in the DFW Area, and where they are likely to be found.
Because the abandoned ranch these Coyotes live on is very large, and still relatively isolated, these Coyotes probably only rarely have direct contact with people, making them the least urban of the Coyotes I photographed as part of this exercise. Still, the ranch is surrounded on four sides with main roads, all of which carry heavy traffic every day. And retail, residential, and industrial development is encroaching fast.
These Coyotes won’t be isolated much longer.
Apples proved to be a very good attractant for the Coyotes, and this site had a great deal of activity over the two day period that pictures were recorded.
his Coyote approaches the apples warily, but I found that the Coyotes on this ranch were generally much less skittish than their more urban cousins. This photograph was taken early the first morning after the camera was setup the prior evening.
After only roughly 5 minutes the Coyote is satisfied the apples are safe, and begins to eat.
It is not uncommon for the sound of the camera taking the picture to startle the subject.
Within five minute of being frightened away by the camera, the hungry Coyote is back and eating apples again.
This apple is quite a mouthful for the Coyote. I was surprised to discover just how effective apples are as an attractant for Coyotes.
Five to ten minutes later, and there are only a few apples left.
It is almost midday now, and the camera records another visitor to the site. Is this the same Coyote that was photographed 4 hours earlier? Most likely, yes. But if is not, then this is the second Coyote filmed on this day.
Coyotes can be difficult to differentiate visually, however there are some notable variations that can help. For instance, Coyotes can vary in color to a significant degree. Coats can be light gray to dark gray in color. They can be tan, or even a reddish, cinnamon color. The fur can be thick and healthy looking, or it can be short and uneven. Coyotes with mange are easy to spot, with large areas of missing fur exposing the dark gray skin underneath. This Coyote I would describe as being medium gray, with tan legs, and a short, uneven coat.
I have been in this general vicinity at dusk, when the shadows are getting long, and on occasion have heard several Coyotes calling to each other. On one such occasion the Coyotes calling from a wooded area less than 100 yd/91m from where I was walking. Very thrilling!
This coyote is finishing off the last of the apples. The apples were placed in front of the camera the evening before, and the Coyotes had eaten them all before noon on this day. The apples being gone, however, did not diminish their attractant powers. Even after the apples had all been eaten Coyotes continued to be drawn to the site for another full day.
This photo was taken almost 4 hours after the previous photo, and is probably the same Coyote that was at the site earlier in the day. If it is a different Coyote, however, then it represents the third individual to be photographed on this day.
This Coyote is behaving as if it has detected someone or something coming its way.
Suddenly there two Coyotes at the site. These two are possibly a mated pair, and may represent the 4th and 5th Coyotes photographed on this day.
This Coyote seems keenly aware that the camera is doing something, and has probably picked up the sound of a hum or click the camera made just prior to taking the picture. This site sits on a well worn cattle trail that runs through a wooded area bounded on one side by a barbed wire fence, and by a creek on the other. The Coyotes are obviously making use of this trail on their way to and from the site. The Coyote in the background is looking down the trail, possibly after detecting another Coyote making its way into the area.
Another Coyote shows up at the location, and is possibly the 6th individual filmed on this day. While it is not readily apparent from this photograph, this Coyote is not in the best of condition. In each of the following two photographs the poor state of this Coyote’s coat becomes more and more notable.
Notice how thin and unevenly furred this animal is. It is possible that the Coyote is suffering from the beginning stages of mange.
Although it may only be a trick of the light, this Coyote’s condition seems very poor in this photograph.
Ten minutes later another Coyote shows up looking for apples. This is the first Coyote that is clearly different from the others in appearance, and may represent the 7th Coyote photographed. Notice the lighter, almost cinnamon coloration of this animal. This Coyote has a thicker coat, and is clearly larger than any of the other Coyotes photographed as part of this series
This big, healthy looking Coyote clearly knows where the apples were.
Still searching for the apples.
I can’t help but wonder if it is the scent of the apples, or the scent of all the Coyotes that have previously visited the site, that continue to draw new Coyotes to this spot in front of the camera.
This Coyote, too, seems to realize that something is going on with the camera.
Finally, after nearly fifteen minutes at the site the Coyote decides to move on.
Almost 45 minutes after the last photograph, an unexpected guest shows up at the site. A Bobcat! It is unlikely that this Bobcat was attracted by the apples. So what is it that brought him in front of the camera? It is possible that the cat noticed the Coyote activity and became curious, or he simply may have been patrolling the cattle trail that cuts through this part of the woods.
The Bobcat seems to be marking the fallen tree he is standing in front of.
And now another surprise! Our old friend the cinnamon Coyote reappears, and now we have the Bobcat and Coyote together with no apparent antagonism between the two.
A closer look at the Bobcat and Coyote together.
Just a few minutes later the Coyote decides to move on, still with no signs of confrontation.
The Coyote and Bobcat leave the area together.
At 11:00 am on the second day of filming this pair of Coyotes shows up at the scene. These two, if different from the previously photographed Coyotes, would bring the grand total of observed Coyotes up to around 8 or 9 individuals.
While Coyotes do not hunt in packs, they reportedly do defend specific territories as packs. These packs typically contain around 5 or 6 individuals, with a single reproductive alpha pair. The two Coyotes in this photograph are in the process of mating, suggesting that these two may be the alpha male and female of the pack defending the territory in which I have set up my trail camera.