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Montana Wolf And Coyote Comparison

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by PolymathPioneer, Dec 23, 2011.

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  1. PolymathPioneer

    PolymathPioneer Member.

    Many hunters in Montana have seen this recent picture that shows the difference in size between a wolf and a coyote. I thought THR hunters outside of Montana would find the comparison in size interesting. It used to be said that no wolf had killed a person in the lower 48. This is no longer true. I was speaking with a Montana FWP biologist recently when I called in to check wolf quotas. She tracks wolves in Montana, (FWP: fish and game to non-Montanans). She told me a wolf killed a baby a few years ago when two (condition white) parents let a wolf approach their child in an outdoor baby swing. The wolf snatched the baby away. The biologist said before she worked at FWP she would never have imagined this happening but not anymore. The animals in this image were legally harvested according to Montana law.


    Wolf populations are a problem in Montana. They are not warm and cuddly as sometimes portrayed in the media. In Montana there are so many of them that they are legally hunted in season. They will kill any other Canid (i.e. dog, coyote, etc) that they find in their territory. Wolves in Montana are smart and they can tell the difference between someone with a gun and without. They tear big game animals apart, usually by ripping the nose off first to bring them down. I have had large wolves approach within 100 yards of our house. I tracked a pack of five this season in the mountains. A friend shot the two animals in this picture. Note that the coyote on the right in this picture is the size of a 70 pound German Shepherd dog for comparison. Remember wolves hunt in packs of 5 to 15 animals but six is the common pack size. The pack is a family unit lead by an alpha male and an alpha female. They can weigh up to 150 pounds or more. Why I always carry a 44 when I am out in the Montana wilderness now. I constantly see their scat. The only change I made to this image was that I cropped it and obscured the license plate of the vehicle.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2011
  2. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

    OK I've got to call BS on that one. A huge coyote will go 50LBs and large German Shepard will go 100+lbs easy.

    I understand what you are saying about wolves but these comparisons are far better if we don't exaggerate. I grow weary of size comparisons that are not accurate. Much like the poster who not long ago made the comment that coyotes and wolves were roughly the same size!!
  3. PolymathPioneer

    PolymathPioneer Member.

    H&H, When I said a large German shepherd dog I meant between 70-100 pounds, which is the size of my 9 month male (80 pounds). I have clarified the post. I also have a 150 pound black Newfoundland dog and that wolf was larger than my Newfoundland. The snow tracks of the wolves that approach my house are the size of small saucer pans and are larger than my Newfoundland's tracks in snow.

    The reason for the size is the plentiful prey animal food supply here. We have Mule Deer that regularly walk around downtown in the state capital (during hunting season). Herds (30 animals) of (cow) elk are not more than 200 yards from my house after a snow fall. When I hunt bull elk I walk a mile into the mountains on our property. My buddy took a bull elk with a bow south of the river that scored a 377 this year. There are White tail deer everywhere. Several moose make their home next to my house during the rut. I lived in Colorado and never saw wildlife as plentiful as this, even though elk were constantly on our mountain property and deer were walking the streets downtown, but nothing like here in Montana. This year the front page headline in the paper was that we had a record harvest of elk, they had to open more check stations the last day of the regular season to handle all the harvested elk.

    I have seen and tracked coyotes in New Mexico and Montana up close so I know what they look like. When I first moved to Montana I saw a coyote in a snow covered field 50 yards from my house where I was standing and thought it was a wolf until corrected by my hunter friends, it was much bigger than the coyotes in New Mexico, which were no bigger than 50 pounds and usually smaller. While briefly living in Ringoes New Jersey on our horse farm I saw a Jersey coyote up close while it stalked white tail deer and it was about 80 pounds, i.e. much bigger than the New Mexico coyotes. I saw a mountain lion in Colorado too but never a coyote while I lived there briefly. Based on what you said it sounds like the coyotes in Colorado are the same size as they are in New Mexico. Thanks for the response, which prompted me to clarify the post and write this too. Any other comments that enable me to clarify the post are always appreciated. I strive to be accurate when I post, which is why I initially mentioned the adjustments to the image at the bottom of this one. Inaccurate claims don't help anyone and I have better things to do with my time (like hunt mountain lion right now) than BS.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2011
  4. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Well-Known Member

    My wife sent me a text message on my phone a week or so ago, with this exact image. I instantly thought it was a photoshop. It came with another pic or two though. I'll try and get them on the computer and attached here.
  5. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer member

    True, so that's a pretty positive thing. I suspect coyotes kill as much game as wolves, only they take the young instead of adult animals. A wolf is a terrific big game animal, so it's not all bad news.
  6. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Well-Known Member

    Here's the pictures I was talking about.


    If you notice this second one, it is from a different angle than the one the OP posted, given the orientation of the vehicles in the background.
  7. Freedom_fighter_in_IL

    Freedom_fighter_in_IL Well-Known Member

    That is, on average, a good sized Wolf. And also on average, not that big of a yote. As H&H said, yotes are not commonly that large in the southern regions but when you get to the colder northern climates I have seen them go as much as 70 pounds. Wolves are larger on average no doubt. But please try to refrain from posting "scare tactics" and trying to say thats a 70 pound yote. That yote would go no more than 50 and nowhere NEAR the same size as a Shepard. Wolves are tactically smarter than most any other predator including yotes and will commonly avoid human interaction of ANY kind. The story you posted about the child being taken was one of opportunity. In 200 years there has been little to no dangerous interaction where human life was taken by the Wolf.

    If I had to guess, being that it's hard to tell by a picture without a visible reference marker for sizing, that Wolf would probably go around 130 to 140. It looks about the same size as an Alaskan Wolf I took several years ago which went about 146. On average in the 35 Wolves I have tagged, they generally have all been within 100 to 115 some a little smaller and some a little bigger but most still within that range. Your Alpha Males will generally be the biggest in the group and your Omega females will generally be the biggest female in the group.

    They are not any harder to kill (which is what I was referring to H&H not generally the size difference but the body structure) that a coyote is and some overly large hand cannon is not needed. They are much easier to drop than your average white-tail doe with a shoulder shot. Most every Wolf I have tagged was taken with a little bitty .220swift loaded with a hot 55gr V-Max load. A couple were taken with .30/06 as I spotted them while hunting other critters.

    Are they a problem in Montana and surrounding states? Yes sir I do believe they are and the reintroduction of them was completely retarded and short sighted. Man has screwed up the ecological balance of things and these Apex predators have no place anymore in the areas where man has already screwed things up. They will interfere with cattle production as well as what is left of the other wild mammals that are their natural prey. They need to be tightly controlled and kept in a number that will not harm what is left of the herds of Elk and Deer. They are natures ultimate population control and very good at their jobs. But when they run out of their natural prey, or discover that those cattle are MUCH easier a meal than those running free Elk or White-tail, they will be a serious problem. This is already being seen but a lot of your tree huggers are trying to say that it's just hunters crying about Wolves because they are too competitive over the Elk. Well in a way, that's a true statement. Wolves will decimate the Elk herds and move on to another herd. It's their nature. You have to remember, Elk, White-tail, and other cervidae were in MUCH MUCH MUCH greater numbers here before Man and what is in the Wolves DNA was natures way of keeping those numbers in a sustainable check. Now, you have much less in numbers, but a predatory machine that still naturally kills like it needs to keep the numbers low. Wolves need to be controlled, but lets try to refrain from putting them in a demonic light. They are creatures nature created and deserve respect as any other animal (except wild hogs but thats another subject). You are in no more physical danger from Wolves than you are around any other predator. There have been MANY more puma, cougar, mountain lion, whatever you want to call them, attacks than Wolves yet you rarely see everyone banding together to go kill the kitty!
  8. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Well-Known Member

  9. PolymathPioneer

    PolymathPioneer Member.

    Wolves Loosing Fear of People

    I am more concerned that the wolves loose their fear of people in Montana as a result of (condition white) people feeding them (as has taken place with bears in Yellowstone and Glacier for example). This is also the concern of the Montana FWP based upon my recent discussions with them while checking wolf quotas. Currently my experience is that wolves run like heck when they see hunters.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2011
  10. broken6r

    broken6r Active Member

    From one Montanan to another, please tell you friend thank you
  11. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    As you go farther north in the US, all species are larger. This is true for coyotes, deer, wolves, bear, cougar and many species of birds.

    In my area near the Rio Grande, coyotes run about 30 pounds. Bobcats about the same, but maybe only 25 for many. Cougars max out around 140 for a big male. Bears commonly go 200 to 300; above 400 is uncommon. A really, really big mule deer will dress out not much over 200--and that's uncommon.
  12. PolymathPioneer

    PolymathPioneer Member.

    That's for certain. Moving from Colorado to Montana, mountain lions seem to grow bigger by two feet in length. I saw one on Conifer Mountain in Colorado crossing a road that was not more than six feet in length. In Montana males reach eight feet in overall length. That being said I couldn't tell if the the Colorado puma I saw was a male or female since it was at a 90 degree angle to me. The only way to tell a male from a female puma for certain is to look at where the black spot is on the rear end once you have them treed.
  13. Freedom_fighter_in_IL

    Freedom_fighter_in_IL Well-Known Member

    Generally that is spot on correct. I was SHOCKED at my first Saskatchewan white-tail encounter :what: Being raised in the mountains of the south I thought I was face to face with a MOOSE! Hell I've had dogs bigger than most of your Florida white-tail! You would think as far north as PA is, you would have pretty big bodied white-tail there but they average about the same size as Tennessee deer but the yotes in Pa are pretty hefty. I guess from having all them little deer to munch on :D
  14. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

    I guided for Mt Lion in NM. We killed many males over 7' in length I've personally killed and guided on several that were tickling 8' pretty hard. Colorado also produces cats in the 8' length category every year.

    However length of the hide is very subjective as it's easy to make 8' out of a 7' cat depending on how you measure the hide. So the only real and honest subjective way to measure a lion trophy is the length and width of the skull. And the truth of the matter is that there are some short cats with big heads and some long cats with little heads.

    Generally speaking the higher scoring lion trophies come from Utah, Colorado, and Montana. That does not mean that NM doesn't have some very large bodied cats.They just tend to have longer more narrow heads than their northern counter parts.

    I'm sure there might be some 70 lb coyotes out there. I'll believe it when I see it and even in the northern ranges that would be an absolute freak. A very large male coyote is something in the 50 lb range.
  15. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    Some biologists say that wildlife in the higher elevations in the southern Rockies equate to the wildlife sizes farther north. Going higher is much like moving north.

    From the FWIW files: About fifty years ago a friend of mine was in the Navy, stationed up in Connecticutt. He went hunting in Maine. He showed me a picture of his whitetail buck. It field dressed over 300 pounds, and sure looked that big. He was standing alongside, not behind it, and was made to look like a midget. :)
  16. Freedom_fighter_in_IL

    Freedom_fighter_in_IL Well-Known Member

    Kind of true to a small degree. Up in the Cumberland mountains, I killed a few pretty heavy bucks. On the hoof undressed they went about 220 to 240 which in Tennessee is a HUGE bodied deer. But sadly those were freaks that had soybean and corn fields and white oak trees out the yang and most every Tennessee boy I knew had the good sense to kill every damn yote we saw so they weren't hassled by song dogs too awful much. Very rare to see deer that big. Not saying that they don't exist but you aren't going to lay eyes on too many that's for sure.

    H&H, when these knees of mine get fixed and I'm mobile enough, I'll hook you up and take you up to the Poconos in Pa and give you the opportunity to view and take some pretty beefy song dogs my friend. Like you, I thought that 50 was a huge mutt until I got to hunting up there while I lived in Pa. South Central Pa around Bucks and Chester counties are home to some very large mutts as well. I've killed quite a few in both that weighed in well over 50 pounds. I think it's a combination of really heavy rabbit and deer populations that give them a more robust body size. The foxes there get pretty big as well.
  17. Hammerhead

    Hammerhead Well-Known Member

    I searched for a story about a wolf killing a baby in Montana, and the original post is about the only thing that shows up.

    Are there any more details available? Perhaps a link to the story? It seems to me that would be a widely reported story?

    For some reason, I keep thinking of tin foil...
  18. Freedom_fighter_in_IL

    Freedom_fighter_in_IL Well-Known Member

    Hammerhead, upon reading your reply, I myself just did an intensive search myself and guess what,,, Not a damn thing. Best thing I could come up with was this http://www.wildsentry.org/WolfAttack.html It details every report of Wolf attacks in North America. Funny it doesn't seem to mention ANY deaths related to Wolves in North America!

    Im not sensing tin foil, I am smelling a serious pile of BS!
  19. ZeroJunk

    ZeroJunk Well-Known Member

    I have read that it is about conservation of heat. A larger animal wiil maintain body temperature better which would be a benefit in cold climates but a hinderance to shedding body heat and keeping cool in a long hot season.
  20. PolymathPioneer

    PolymathPioneer Member.

    Contact Montana FWP and ask for the wolf biologist and they will relate the story to you, which is where I obtained the information. The Internet is the tin foil, with all due respect.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2011
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