We recently did a column on the influx of red foxes residing in populated areas, particularly in the city of Allentown. Well, they’re not alone. It seems coyotes too are finding their way into suburban areas including the city of Allentown.
A lady in the west end of Allentown, who lives in the area of 28th & Highland Streets, posted a security camera shot on West Watch of a coyote in her yard at night. Others have been seen in the Allentown Lehigh Parkway wooded tracts and I know of an outdoorsman who used to trap them behind Cedarbrook Nursing Home.
They’ve also been reported in the Stiles area where they’re probably living in the wooded tracts around LaFarge’s quarry operation located off South Church Street. In fact, several months ago, one was struck by a vehicle on Church in Whitehall.
Of course, you’d expect to find coyotes in the wooded tracts of northern Lehigh and Northampton counties, particularly around Leaser and Minsi lakes and the Blue Mountain.
A friend who lives on the outskirts of Northampton said he often hears them howl at night, but has never seen them. Same goes for friends who lived across from Woodstone Golf Course in Danielsville.
According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, coyotes entered northern Pennsylvania in the 60s from the Catskill Mountains in New York. From there they spread south and west across the state. Now, coyotes are found in all 67 Pennsylvania counties with the highest concentrations in the Pocono Mountains.
Adult male coyotes weigh 45-55 pounds whereas females are smaller averaging from 35-40 pounds. The heaviest known male caught was 62 pounds while the heaviest female weighed 42 pounds.
According to Coyote Hunting in PA’s Facebook page, hunters have been taking them in the 30-pound class and mostly at night when “yotes,” as they call them, are most active. Some will be seen during daylight hours but that’s mainly in spring when the females seek food for their young pups.
February is the prime mating month when females come into heat for a period of 4-5 days.
As for hunting them, their pelts have been fetching an average of $10.65 according to a February posting by Pennsylvania Trappers Association. And yes, some folks eat them. I tasted a piece of cooked coyote and it had a metallic taste. Not exactly haute cuisine.
A good many hunters detest coyotes because of their propensity to kill fawns, stocked pheasants and rabbits. But their main food habits are in the form of small mice, voles, road-killed deer, woodchucks, birds and plant material mainly in winter. In farm areas, coyotes will go after sheep, chickens, ducks, goats and geese. And in the populated suburbs, pet dogs and cats especially feral cats.
Coyotes den-up under overturned trees, tree stump piles, rock dens and dug out fox dens that face a southerly exposure. Pups are born in the dens from mid-April to early May with litter sizes ranging from 5-7 pups. The young will stay with their mother until October when they’ll disperse from 30-50 miles away with some traveling 100 miles away from their dens.
As said, many folks may never see a coyote but may hear their barks, yips and howls as they communicate with others or to periodically join larger packs. Other times, they’ll prefer to hunt alone or with another coyote or two.
A coyotes’ sense of smell, hearing and alertness are particularly keen and that’s what makes them tough to hunt. With snow on the ground, hunters may have to wear snow camo to blend in. Calling, be it electronically or mouth calls, is the prominent way to lure “yotes” into shooting range. And then it’s a quick shot. With the PGC now allowing night vision optics for predator hunting, hunters can trim the odds a bit.
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.