Black Coyotes in Northwestern PA

Submitted by Robert Jimerson on 02/23/2003. ( )

I shot a black coyote, female 44lb. in my back yard a couple of days ago. She was running with a traditional reddish colored coyote and another black that was CONSIDERABLY larger. I have heard many things from my hunting buddies with regard to this rare beauty (including "you shot someone's dog) but am really interested in obtaining more facts. Although she has many of the charecteristics that make coyote's unique, she actually looks more like a wolf (not in our area) than she does coyote. Willing to share Pics if you like, but really wondering whether this coyote is the 2nd or 3rd generation of cross breeding with domestics, has the some DNA of a wolf possibly, or maybe neither? Any words of wisdom would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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my favorite reply...

This response submitted by Bill Yox on 02/23/2003. ( )

Look in the archives, this yet another popular subject found there. I love those black coyotes too, Robert. I feel they are the least common color phase and one of my about you? I like the true red color, like a red fox with no black, as the best color...

Could be a coydog

This response submitted by Tanner on 02/23/2003. ( westaner )

My father killed a coyote a few years back. At closer inspection it resembled our Great Perinees sheep guard dog. It was BIG! Over 90 lbs! It had to hurt giving birth to a litter that size. The bad thing there are two or three more still out there. Hopefully they will not be able to beed. Some people dont think they could breed but my pictures tell another story.

Not likely

This response submitted by Frank E. Kotula on 02/23/2003. ( )

I got in two this year one nice black one and the other ia almost pitch black with a beautiful white patch in front. My client thought it was a normal coyote when he brought it in LOL. he never relized that the black ones are the rare ones. He clams to have seen a few of them in the swamp he hunts for deer. Both were over the 40 lb mark.

Have you seen the big Silvers from the Plains

This response submitted by John C on 02/23/2003. ( )

A few year back my son and I really got into coyote hunting. We took several large Silvers all in the 60 lbs range. Before than I have never seen a yote over 45 lbs. Out largest was 65 lbs on a Certified U.S.Army scale.

We saw several that were larger, but never harvested one of the bigger ones.

Pretty awesome when you call and one of the large silvers runs up to your hide before you can get a shotgun raised.

We found steel BB shot to be the most effective with my shotgun.

Do yotes and dogs crossbreed?

This response submitted by Vicki on 02/23/2003. ( )

I seem to remember an in-depth article a few years ago addressing the subject of coyotes and dogs breeding. I thought it said the two are very unlikely to be able to cross. They did a lot of dna sampling, etc. to determine this. It did say wolves are much more closely related to dogs and are capable of crossbreeding. (There's someone in our area that raises the wolf/dog crosses.)

Coyote colors

This response submitted by Rick on 02/23/2003. ( )

Robert, I have a shop in western PA, I have done alot of coyotes
about 1 in 3 are color phase . Black ones are not that rare hear,
I have done silvers, reds, chocolates and blacks. They also seem to run in packs here like wolves, some of the hunters who bring them
in have been saying they are seeing as many as 8or 9 running together.
Some of these critters get big to I did a red one that weighed 53lbs.
cogradulations on your harvest.

determination of the species.

This response submitted by sam. on 02/23/2003. ( )

as a senior undergraduate biology student,let me share some info. i have learned while doing some research on my own canid paper.for one thing,it is very hard to get canids to fit into the biological species concept.this states, "a species is a population of naturally interbreeding organisms that produce viable young."however wild canids hybridize with dogs,and other species of wild canids and nearly always produce viable young.this however is mainly due, in large part to environmental changes brought about by man.hence,the naturally breeding concept.when a species has lost habitat and numbers due to man,it will cross with what is available.The texas "red wolf" is a prime example of this.genetic allelic variations between wild canids are minimal;so the best way to determine what you have, is to compare the skull and its specific relevant measurements to known standardized species representatives.this will tell you if you have a wolf,a coyote,or a dog.intergrades between these indicate hybridization somewhere.i have some excellent literature to refer you to if you are interested.good luck and good hunting!

Melanism, or is it?

This response submitted by Mick on 02/23/2003. ( )

Some believe it's a genetic trait called melanism, the opposite of albinism. Others believe it's just a genetically carried color phase, as a silver fox is to a red. Some believe that 'yotes and domestics will cross and form a coydog, while others don't. Ive read some interesting articles, and sat in on some interesting seminars that addressed this. The most convincing argument for me, was the difference in their heat periods. Domestics we have forced to evolve to fit our needs, by removing them from the natural world, and removing them from any influences by climate and photoperiodism. On the other hand the coyote bitches tend to come into heat, which is right about now here in NY, at a certain bilogically preset season each year, thereby insuring their young will be born in a time when the weather was more kind to their chance for survival. If a dog coyote were to breed a bitch domestic dog that were in heat at anytime, then she might have the pups in the dead of winter when they'd perish quickly, or maybe late in the autumn, and the pups wouldn't be mature enough to survive the winter. Some will argue that it can and does happen the other way, while behavioral biologists will argue otherwise, as the alpha male wouldn't take kindly to other strangers breeding his bitches, particularly if he were a dog. Some believe that our eastern 'yotes do indeed have wolf genes in the family tree, and say it accounts for their larger size and the different color phases. I tend to believe most of the evidence that points to yes wolf, no dog. I think any natural cross breeding that does occur, if it is even genetically possible, as I've read contradictory reports on that, are probably quickly breed out by the elements and the differences in their breeding cycles.
One things for sure, they do get big, and they are smart. Try telling someone that has just seen a big dog coyote, with winter fur all fluffed up and swears it was a timber wolf, that what he/she saw was a 'yote, and you're up for a hard time for sure. I do a few of them each year, and the biggest last year went 63 lbs. I'm not sure how smart he was though. Apparently, not smart enough.

Thanks.....helpful indeed

This response submitted by Robert Jimeron on 02/23/2003. ( )

Thanks to all of you that have taken the time to respond to my posting. I definately have coyote fever now and in fact was out after that Big Black again early this AM. To Sam specifically, I am very interested in the resources you mentioned and will appreciate your pointing me in that direction. Now, one final question. I'll assume DNA testing is quite expensive--anyone know how much and where? Do you think the PA Game Commission might be interested in sharing the cost? Thanks again!


This response submitted by Bill Yox on 02/23/2003. ( )

Yes, Im sorta set in my beliefs as you guys well know. Coydog is such a slang and well used slang here locally, youd think this happens often. I say it seldom does. Anyone worth their salt knows that canines have a competitive base to stay alive by competing for the same food source. When coyotes establish themselves, free ranging dogs and cats dissappear, as well as the fox numbers for a period of time. I think when they first move into a new range they MIGHT possibly cross, but common sense tells us this is not common, or we would dilute or lose the species. The Red wolf of Arkansas is a case in point. Its willingness to cross with coyotes not only has threatened it with extinction, but very well illustrates to ME, anyway, where our eastern coyote got its size and color phases. Im one who believes that the Red wolf, not the Timber wolf, is what "built" our huge Eastern coyote. To those who mentioned melanism as a possible reason for the dark phase, Im not sure. When we get the "black" phase it seems to be black tips on gret hairs with some white and/or silver hair in between. They always seem to have the white chevron in the chest too. I call that a color phase rather then melanism, like a completely black or over-pigmented animal. Maybe ,elanism can be the dark phases too, Im honestly not sure. I can tell you of at least 8 color phases I see in our coyotes, and they stay pretty consistent. Then you also come across that odd domestic cross and those colors are completely random, down to tail shape variations and floppy ears. I see two distinct red patterns, two blonde patterns, one black, two brown patterns with markings, and one as a grey/brown. Thats not scientific (hell, reading others papers is just reading, lol) but just my observation over the years as a trapper and taxidermist. Again, opinion only!


This response submitted by Phil on 05/01/2003. ( )

I killed a black coyote , and found this webpage by looking for the same question,you are asking. The one I killed has white on it's neck. I think they are the prettiest ones. I had it's head mounted, I killed it in Hancock county TN.


This response submitted by WHITE WOLF on 05/08/2003. ( )


Freaks that get joy out of killing defenceless animals

This response submitted by SYL on 05/11/2003. ( )

What is wrong with you people. You have your supermarkets to find food these animals have to hunt with skill and inteligence in order to survive. Damn I guess idiots have all this spare time and get joy out of killing life. It is murder in a different form. I think its sick to have something dead hanging on your damn walls. Hopefully one day someone like me hunts you down and puts up your head on his or her wall and sais " see that one isn't it pretty, look at the pretty blue eyes. Ya I shot that one while it was playing soccer with his young son, and then the little one died because it got lost in the field with no mother or no father because I cut his freakning head off so I could look at his pretty blue eyes so I could say look everyone, look I got one with pretty blue eyes." FREAKS

SYL--Mix in a Valium

This response submitted by B- on 07/21/2003. ( )

WOW! Syl, take it easy, sounds like you're one stressor away from a quiet basket weaving class. Also, get yourself a dictionary, there is nothing worse than someone ranting about something they don't understand AND not being able to spell.

Black Coyotes

This response submitted by Stephanie Little Wolf on 11/06/2003. ( )

I have seen numerous Coyotes that were black in the region of my state that I grew up in. Many variations of black, from jet black to dark grey phases and no red ones to speak of. Somewhat larger thn most I think also. very beautifull. I would like to comment on the comments made abaout the passionate reply agains hunting Coyotes. One does not need to understand the psychology of hunting to know that killing a Coyote these days is wrong. I grew up in a big hunting family, my father provided meat for our family and would be horiified if anyone killed a coyote, or big cat when people did from time to time. I also have dear freinds who used to hunt Coyotes, but through the practice, became ashamed, and would not ever do so again. You don't have to understand something to feel its wrong. Some people just do not have the tools to communicate in such a way theat others of differing opinions can hear them. I have studied Coyotes and lived in close proximity to them most of my adult life and have had some amazing experiences with them. I have been writing about these experiences. It is my beleif that each person has to come to their own conclusions themselves, for themselves. Stephanie

Black Coyote in Georgia

This response submitted by Rhett on 12/06/2003. ( )

My 15 year old brother killed a black coyote today. We live in Emanuel County Georgia. We figured it was not an ordinary coyote so that's how my wife found this page. It was a male traveling with 4 cubs and (presumably) a female. The female looked like the average coyote while the cubs were a mixture of brown and black...

He is freezing the coyote to preserve it since it is rare.

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