Are Coyotes a threat?

PINEY WARDEN

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Jan 13, 2012
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Coyotes.jpg
 

Old Crazy

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Oct 13, 2007
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Stinking Creek, NJ
I hike 500-1,000 miles in the pines every year, and I walk in daylight and at night. It's a rare treat to see a coyote. I've only seen them twice. In both instances it was a pair of coyotes and as soon as they spotted me they ran away as fast as they could.

Honestly, I think the coyotes in the pines are not conditioned to humans and they are far more afraid of you than you are of them, and you really have nothing to worry about. Sometimes when I'm walking at night I hear packs of them yelping and howling, particularly in the Carranza area, but I don't believe they pose any danger at all. I'm higher up on the food chain, and they know it, and they're not going to mess with me. :clint:

I have seen large feline tracks in the snow on two occasions in the pines. Now that might be an animal higher up on the food chain than me.
 

Pinesbucks

Explorer
Apr 15, 2013
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I spend alot of time in the woods. I have seen coyotes and heard them howl at very close distances. It can be a bit unnerving. Like others said they are more afraid of you then you are of them. Their numbers have boomed since the late 90s. Saw my first pair in 97 at Coyle airfield. Now they are everywhere.
 

manumuskin

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Jul 20, 2003
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I used to carry a big sheath knife.Not because I was scared but because a big knife doubles as an axe in a pinch and is much more useful in woodcraft then a small easily broke knife. I carried the knife all the time.Alas the plant manager finally noticed it after only about five years of wearing it and told me I couldn't wear it at work anymore so i got out of the habit of wearing it at all and now rarely even carry a knife into the woods.I may regret that some day but I doubt a coyote will have anything to do with that.I have run into quite a few and some run and some have checked me out showing no sign of fear till I approached them and then they fled. Unless they are rabid you have nothing to fear from them as long as your not an unintended baby or small child.Even in a pack they will not mess with a man .Wolves don't attack people either and their packs are larger and so are they.I really carry nothing in the pines to defend myself with except Peremethrin and the only thing I really fear is Aints. I have had a close call with a bear because I inadvertently ended up between Momma and cubs but luckily the cubs ran around me and toward Momma and then they all ran away.I would have hated to had to whooped her.That was in WV, not here. You really have nothing at all to fear in the Barrens except freak accidents other then bugs,primarily chiggers ,ticks,skeeters and flies.Ticks are the most dangerous and possibly skeeters because they carry diseases.The others are just major annoyances but can drive you mad if you let them.Other hazards that are real are lightning and falls involving broken bones and lacerations and punctures and of course in season the evr present hypothermia if not prepared.Other then these any other threats are almost non existent.No your not going to get bit by a rattler unless you run into one and decide you want to pet it.Any rabid animal is dangerous so if one walks up to you you might want to get defensive.Skunks ,possums and racoons wandering around in day time are potentially rabid animals but not always so.Skunks do not fear you so don't take an approach as a definite threat but a day time skunk is strange.Possums and coons do fear us and should run.Now your most dangerous threat potentially is man.We can also be your best friend in the woods. I avoid folks when possible if I hear them first, other wise I just try not to let my guard down but am open to conversation with anyone not obviously bent on mischief. Believe me a stroll through any stretch of woods is safer then a stroll through downtown Millville. Of course I would suggest women don't travel alone in the woods which it's ashame to even have to say that but it's true. For women Pepper spray would be a good bet and a .45 an even better one or a stun gun the last two options of course being illegal in NJ. Wouldn't want to hurt a criminal now would we?
 

Jon Holcombe

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Dec 1, 2015
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Medford
Manamuskin, I think you have about covered it. I use Permethrin, since I HAVE been attacked by chiggers here in Medford, once bit over 70 times while sitting on the ground cutting down a sapling to use as a walking stick. Since I was seated they bit me in places I cannot discuss, and ended up in Cooper ER on Memorial Day looking for relief from the itching which was driving me insane. I am not the woodsman you are, so I will probably continue carrying my sheath knife and yes, when the pepper spray arrives I will put that on my belt (and try not to spray myself with it). Perhaps for no other reason than freeing myself from worry that I will be the first adult male victim of a coyote attack. I am learning a lot from this discussion.
 
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Spung-Man

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Jan 5, 2009
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Richland, NJ
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I feel coyotes are not a danger, unless you go out of your way to provoke them. Having spent much of my youth wandering the woods, this is my half-century plus woods faunal experience:

  • At five I was lost in deep snowy woods behind the farm for a couple hours, but a trusty dog “Trooper” led me home; very traumatic.
  • Once while standing still I had a skunk climb my pants leg, but gently shook him off and away he waddled without spraying.
  • My hiking companion had a pickerel bite his finger while hand-in-water swishing sphagnum off a fishing lure near the beaver dam on Ingersol Branch of the Manumuskin.
It is the family Hominidae that matters. Like Manumuskin, I give friendly wave and a cheery howdy. Ninety-nine percent of the time this action breaks the ice, and the unexpected contacts turn out to be local Pinelands enthusiasts. On a recent jaunt near the vestiges of the Townsend Swamp savannah I spotted a car, which then followed me only to learn fifteen-minutes later back in Richland the passengers were members of the new Russian Baptist Church in Richland. I was grateful they tracked me down to explain they were looking for “popinki.”


However, on rare occasion there are people doing covert things in the woods and therein is the greatest threat to woods wanderers. Happily, I haven’t confronted warning shots since about 1977, as a high school student, back in DeCarlo lots in Milmay. The offending car was quite far away but the driver’s side passenger let me soundly know he didn’t want me there.

S-M
 
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46er

Piney
Mar 24, 2004
8,838
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Coastal NJ
IMHO, the most dangerous thing you can find in NJ, something that can cause serious injury or death, is the homeward bound commuter on a Friday evening. And some of the best habitats to find them are the GSP or ACE. No amount of pepper spray will help.
 
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NJChileHead

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Dec 22, 2011
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The others are just major annoyances but can drive you mad if you let them.Other hazards that are real are lightning and falls involving broken bones and lacerations and punctures and of course in season the evr present hypothermia if not prepared.Other then these any other threats are almost non existent.

Your comment about the other hazards reminds me of a conversation with a very knowledgeable and respected naturalist up here who I had a conversation with about how to best prepare for what could go wrong in the woods. His response was, first and foremost, to learn how to build a debris hut.

Also, funny story, I was once approached by a raccoon during the day. I turned around and took off, thinking rabies, but upon reflection the animal looked healthy and it was probably food habituated from a local neighborhood or something. In retrospect I felt like I overreacted but better safe than sorry, as they say...
 

manumuskin

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Jul 20, 2003
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Yes a human fed racoon will lose it's fear.Had a red fox approach my car once back by Calico in the pines.It looked starved and worked over. Momma fed it tater chips from the window.I got out of the car to hike across the big puddle on the way in to Calico and it ran back about fifty feet when i got out.I told her it probably was not rabid since it ran but that a fox in the middle of the woods approaching folks in broad day light was not normal and to stay in the car.When i came back she said it came back and finished off the chips and then left.
Also I have built many debris huts.me and Whip slept in one one night when it dropped into the 20's.I should say I slept.He froze all night and stayed up and stoked the fire.I learned later I had the ridge pole too high and should have dropped it lower for a snugger fit.I slept with my clothes on.wool socks (no boots) and a wool beanie.I don't think Whip had the proper clothing . Luckily we had a fire with reflector wall built before turning in with enough wood for the night.Without any fire at all a debris hut would be the way to go but they take several hours to build a good one.With a fire I"d go with a simple lean to,reflecting wall and if it's going to rain hopefully a tarp of some kind.Grass thatching also takes awhile to make.
 
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NJChileHead

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Dec 22, 2011
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Not to take this thread off-topic, but just a comment on the debris hut; I always imagined that it was challenging to build a debris hut in the pine barrens. We're used to building them in the deciduous forests up here (my 7 year old and I built one in 30 minutes a few weeks ago) but up here in the beech/oak/tulip/hickory forests we're loaded with leaves for insulating material. We have to hunt around for good lodgepoles and there's always the challenge of finding the notch for the lodgepole but once we've got those two things down we're good to go. I know that there are lots of scrub oaks and the occasional chestnut or black/red oak down there, but overall do you find it more of a pain to build them in the pines?
 
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Old Crazy

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Oct 13, 2007
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Stinking Creek, NJ
Also, funny story, I was once approached by a raccoon during the day. I turned around and took off, thinking rabies, but upon reflection the animal looked healthy and it was probably food habituated from a local neighborhood or something. In retrospect I felt like I overreacted but better safe than sorry, as they say...

I was laughing as I read this because I had the exact same thing happen to me while I was hiking on the Batona Trail. It was about 11am and I saw what looked like a Siamese cat approaching me from about an eighth of a mile up the trail. I thought, "Somebody must have dumped a cat out here." But as it got closer, I could see it was a raccoon, and it was heading straight for me at a brisk pace. I immediately started to panic because I thought for sure this had to be a rabid raccoon. A raccoon shouldn't be out roaming around at 11am, and it surely shouldn't come running up to a human being. I quickly grabbed a stick to act as a buffer between me and the raccoon. I shook the stick in front of me and shouted, "Get out of here!" The raccoon came to within ten feet of me, stared at me for a few seconds, then climbed up a tree and sat on a branch. It was then that I realized that this wasn't a rabid raccoon, it was likely a raccoon that had been repeatedly fed by people at a campground or some other place, had become a nuisance and a danger, so it was trapped and released in a remote area.
 
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smoke_jumper

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Mar 5, 2012
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Atco, NJ
I was laughing as I read this because I had the exact same thing happen to me while I was hiking on the Batona Trail. It was about 11am and I saw what looked like a Siamese cat approaching me from about an eighth of a mile up the trail. I thought, "Somebody must have dumped a cat out here." But as it got closer, I could see it was a raccoon, and it was heading straight for me at a brisk pace. I immediately started to panic because I thought for sure this had to be a rabid raccoon. A raccoon shouldn't be out roaming around at 11am, and it surely shouldn't come running up to a human being. I quickly grabbed a stick to act as a buffer between me and the raccoon. I shook the stick in front of me and shouted, "Get out of here!" The raccoon came to within ten feet of me, stared at me for a few seconds, then climbed up a tree and sat on a branch. It was then that I realized that this wasn't a rabid raccoon, it was likely a raccoon that had been repeatedly fed by people at a campground or some other place, had become a nuisance and a danger, so it was trapped and released in a remote area.
Something similar but not in the pines. My oldest son set out for the bus stop and made it out as far as the front porch and was confronted by a raccoon. He fled back in his moms house but left his book bag outside. He watched the raccoon open it up and walk off with his lunch.
 

manumuskin

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Jul 20, 2003
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Not to take this thread off-topic, but just a comment on the debris hut; I always imagined that it was challenging to build a debris hut in the pine barrens. We're used to building them in the deciduous forests up here (my 7 year old and I built one in 30 minutes a few weeks ago) but up here in the beech/oak/tulip/hickory forests we're loaded with leaves for insulating material. We have to hunt around for good lodgepoles and there's always the challenge of finding the notch for the lodgepole but once we've got those two things down we're good to go. I know that there are lots of scrub oaks and the occasional chestnut or black/red oak down there, but overall do you find it more of a pain to build them in the pines?
I have seen them made of pine needles and they did not look good.I personally made mine out of oak leaves.Pine needles would be a pain for sure and not a good insulation.
 
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NJChileHead

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Dec 22, 2011
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I have seen them made of pine needles and they did not look good.I personally made mine out of oak leaves.Pine needles would be a pain for sure and not a good insulation.

I've read in the past about people using whole pine boughs and large pieces of bark sandwiched between them, but I'm with you, I can't imagine that it would be as good as leaves just because of how little air seems to be trapped by them. I'm planning on trying it in the barrens sometime with a mix of materials.
 
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manumuskin

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Jul 20, 2003
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I've read in the past about people using whole pine boughs and large pieces of bark sandwiched between them, but I'm with you, I can't imagine that it would be as good as leaves just because of how little air seems to be trapped by them. I'm planning on trying it in the barrens sometime with a mix of materials.
take a rake.makes it a lot easier:)
 

Jason Howell

Explorer
Nov 23, 2009
126
50
Like most wildlife, I take them seriously and do not approach into their comfort zone. I have only had the fortune to record coyote pups once, but I have seen adult eastern coyotes on two different occasions and have heard their calls, sometimes very close, many times. The best is being between two different groupings calling back and forth to each other. Theres no sense in ever being without a knife and bear spray has saved many lives(if not in SJ, certainly elsewhere) against a variety of creatures, but as far as I know it has not been studied for use on species other than bears. I believe there is only one record of coyotes causing a fatality in North America and these were reportedly eastern coyotes in Canada.

Short clip 45 seconds in, but I filmed them for about a half hour while they played. 800mm lens. from approximately 100 feet away.
 

manumuskin

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Jul 20, 2003
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Just saw a coyote on the way home from work this morning at 830 AM.He had been seen by numerous people in laurel lake eating dead critters along side Battle Lane and routes 555 and thats what He was doing when I saw him.I thought He was a grey fox at first and then I realized he was much too big.He was on Battle Lane about 50 yards east of 555. I"m assuming it was a He.
 
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