Wolf and Coyote General
Wolves and coyotes are closely related dog-like furbearers that are frequently harvested for their fur and occasionally consumed as food by many indigenous cultures.
Cultures that are reported to have hunted gray wolves tended to use it as a supplemental food source when other food sources were scarce. The Micmac (Mi'kmaq) of Richibucto did not consume wolves, but considered it a bothersome animal that was hunted for its fur and teeth, which were used as pendants . The animal was not eaten by Inuit of Starnes Fiord, but the hind limbs were fed to their dogs . Wolves were found throughout the Vunta Kutchin region and were considered extremely aggressive predators. At times, they were shot, the fur sold and the flesh left in the bush for wolverines .
Time of year for hunting wolf varied according to culture. The Southwestern Chippewa usually shot wolves from their winter hunting grounds . Iglulik and Central Inuit of Northern Hudson Bay hunted wolves in summer . Nuiqsut Inupiat hunted primarily in December, with some hunting occurring January to March; April to late May was another important time for hunting because the hotter weather allowed skidoos to travel quickly on the snow .
Deadfalls, pitfalls and other traps were typically used to capture wolves. The Spokane are reported to have used pitfalls positioned along game trails . Cultures that reportedly used deadfall traps include the Spokane, Tahltan, Kotzebue Sound Inupiat and Iglulik Inuit [3, 14, 17, 21, 27]. Inuit made deadfalls of stone or snow: when the wolf entered it to get the bait, a stone fell, injuring or killing the wolf . Iglulik Inuit also used box traps and tower traps  and captured the animal with a unique “wolf-killer” of baleen or lured the animal with a razor-sharp blade covered with frozen blood . Inuit, including Central Inuit of Northern Hudson Bay, killed wolf with bait made of a sharpened piece of baleen wrapped in frozen blubber. When the blubber thawed in the wolf’s stomach, the baleen uncurled like a spring and ripped the wolf’s intestines [13, 30].
Central Inuit only hunted wolves when the animal became a danger. Usually, wolves would attack food caches or dogs in winter, when everyone was asleep. If wolves were preying on the caches for weeks, traps were built or Inuit lay in hiding places near bait to slaughter them. The wolf trap used was a 3m hole in the snow, covered with a portion of snow, at the middle of which bait was placed. A wall would be erected around the hole forcing the wolf to lunge across it to reach the bait. The wolf would fall through and be stuck in the hole, because it was too narrow for him to jump out, and be slaughtered there. Another method of slaughtering wolves was to smear a sharp knife with caribou blood and plunge it in the snow, only leaving the edge sticking out. The wolf would lick the knife, slicing its tongue, and if cut seriously, the animal would bleed to death. Another method was to build a small house made of ice with a snow trap door, which slid up and down. A piece of bait was fastened, and when dragged by the wolf, the trap door would close, capturing the wolf .
Shotguns were often used to kill trapped wolves. The Mistissini Cree captured wolf in steel traps, then killed them with shotguns . The Nuiqsut sometimes used traps but often shot wolves. The Nuiqsut spring hunt involved high speed hunting using snow machines and was usually a one or two day excursion of cross-country search and pursuit. When the hunter approached a wolf, he stopped the skidoo abruptly, jumped out and shot the running wolf from its left side. Hunters claimed that it was necessary to shoot the wolf from its left side, otherwise it would swerve off rather than keep running in its intended direction .
Inupiat of Point Barrow, Alaska, hunted wolves for fur to trim clothes, particularly for making the frills that encircled jacket hoods. The wolf was regarded with reverence, and the skull was used as an amulet or fetish. Whaling umiaks were not considered properly decked out without one or more wolf skulls. A man who had slaughtered a wolf was required to sleep outdoors in a tent or snow igloo for one “moon” from the occasion of the slaughter .
Coast Salish believed it to be important to have some spirit power to help with hunting of animals and the wolf was the land’s supernatural helper .
There were social and political motives for hunting wolves in addition to the need for subsistence. Nuiqsut Inupiat considered the trapping of a wolf a great achievement. Among inland settlements, a chief sign of wealth was a wolf pelt . Wolf was considered a ceremonial delicacy for Potawatomi chiefs .
The Plains Ojibwa (Chippewa) and Nicola people hunted and ate coyotes [16, 38]. Although the Kalispel did not pursue coyotes actively, they killed and ate them when they were encountered . The Red Earth Cree, Lillooet, and Shuswap caught coyotes principally for their fur; however they would also eat them when other food was scarce [39-41]. Similarly, the Southern Okanagan people used coyote as an emergency food . Various hunting strategies were used to catch coyotes; the Spokane and Plains Cree used baited pitfalls and the Thompson (N'laka'pamux) shot or chased them out of their dens [12, 21, 43, 44].
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Wolf and Coyote General
The gray wolf (Canis lupus) and the coyote (C. latrans) are two closely related member of the wild dog family, also including the fox. Like other wild dogs, they are tireless long-distance runners. They have varied hunting strategies, but depend on their vision and will hunt mainly in the day. They have a pointed muzzle with long canine teeth, a dense fur, a big bushy tail, and large erected ears .
The gray wolf (Canis lupus) is the largest wild member of the wild dog family and occurs mainly in Canada and Alaska, but was once found almost everywhere north of 20º N. They are currently extinct, endangered, or threatened on one third of their original range and common on the other most northern two-thirds.
Gray wolves are almost always on the move, trotting in packs of 5-10 individuals across their large hunting territories up to 13,000 square km in size. Adult gray wolves typically weigh 32 kg, but can reach up to 80 kg and are most often mottled gray, but some are black and others white.
Wolf packs are generally composed of one reproducing couple, the alpha pair leading the pack, their offspring from their past litters, and in some areas, a few immigrant individuals. The alpha pair mates once per year, between mid-winter and early spring, and produces one litter of around six pups born about 60 days later, in a den or a sheltered depression in the ground. During lactation, lasting around 9 weeks, other pack members bring back food to the mother and will later provide food to the weaned pups. By fall, young are almost adult-sized and join the traveling pack. They will disperse from their natal pack between 1-3 years after their birth and travel up to 800 km away to find an available hunting territory. Wolves cooperate to hunt mainly large hoofed mammals, beavers, and hares, each individual consuming up to 6 kg of meat per day. They mostly communicate through howling, body posture, and scent marking .
The coyote (Canis latrans) is a medium-sized member of the wild dog family and occurs throughout United States and across most of Canada, except in the High Arctic, northern Quebec, and Maritime Provinces. They occupy a diverse range of habitats, from dry deserts and wet grasslands to alpine areas and large cities.
They are most often seen trotting, either singly, in a pair, or in a pack, across their large hunting territories, covering up to 70 square km. Coyotes are larger than foxes, but smaller than wolves, adults typically weighing 12 kg, and have a tan colour, mottled with black and gray, and with paler underparts. Coyotes form long-lasting monogamous breeding pairs and produce one litter per year of around 6 pups. They feed on almost anything, including plants, live animals, and carrion .
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