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Hunters know that coyotes can put a dent in deer herds and small game populations. But can they take down a moose?
A new study conducted in Ontario's Algonquin Park has proven they can. Researcher John Benson trapped coyotes from 10 different packs and fitted them with GPS collars. From 2009 to 2010 he confirmed four cases in which different packs of coyotes and coyote/wolf hybrids killed moose.
This from CBC.CA:
In one case, the moose -- a 20-month old female that was likely more than 200 kilograms -- was brought down by a pack of just two coyotes.
"That was impressive," acknowledged John Benson, lead author of the report, who conducted the research while he was a graduate student at Trent University in Peterborough, Ont.
On the other hand, he said, it's not really surprising, since it's known that when packs of wolves attack a moose, most of the work is done by only one or two individuals.
Prior to the study, most scientists had assumed that coyotes don't kill moose, said Benson, who was unable to find any documented cases of coyotes killing adult moose._
Benson also documented five cases where he suspected coyotes had killed moose, but he couldn't confirm the kill. An important side note: coyotes in Ontario and the northeast are much larger than coyotes found in the Midwest and Western U.S.
While it's unlikely that coyotes are decimating moose populations (the moose killed during the study period were either very young or very old) the results of the study help illustrate coyotes' hunting ability.
It will be interesting to see if more studies are conducted investigating coyote predation on big-game species.