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I need some help with identifying a hole

Chris111

.270 WIN
This is kind of complicated so I'll break this into sections to make it easier to follow.

Well I recently decided that I wanted to throw some feed around my property for deer, rabbits, and wildlife in general to see what's around. The house is on 7 1/2 acres to the fence line but the woods go for about 40-50 acres. There is also a small lake/pond in the center. 

Lately I've been seeing some type of animal but I'm not positive what it is because I haven't had a chance to get a good look at it. I thought I saw what looked to be a coyote but I thought no way. I never hear any calls or see any signs to think so. Every time that I see the animal it's around sunset and I got really close tonight. I've narrowed it down to a coyote or a gray fox after doing some reading but I'm confused because they have similar behaviors and looks. 

Tonight I was throwing some feed and I noticed a large area of light dirt. I walked over to it and realized that it's a hole. It looks like something is occupying it as everything looks fresh but I didn't see any tracks. I'm not sure if this is related and I didn't really find information on this subject either. 

So I went on throwing some feed and started walking into the tree line and heard something. It was about 40 feet from me and took off through the gap in the barb fence like it wasn't even there. It must have spooked when I walked up. It had a run/trot type run but was moving fast. It was grayish in color with a fluffy tale that was what looked to be black and gray. It kind of looked similar to a German shepherds tale as far as fluff. At this point I thought it was a fox because it took off. I went to where I saw it and looked around and didn't see anything unusual so I kept going. About another 20 feet I saw another hole. This one was just on the other side of the fence and was larger. The hole opening was about 1 1/2 feet wide. That's a fairly good size if you think about it. I thought it was kind of strange that the holes were so close. Probably around 40-45 yards away from each other. 

After looking for a minute, I turned and kept walking. I got about ten feet and heard something again. I look up and see it looking at me. It was even closer this time and looked like it was larger. It may have been the same animal though. If it was it would have to have gone all the way around the and circle back. I moved and it stepped back out of view but didn't take off. This spooked me a bit and I only had a pocket knife on me so I left and went back to the house hitting the bowl as I walked.

My major concern is the safety of my kids which are 3 and 6. Apparently the house next door lost a calf from an attack as well.


Photos of the first hole. The hole is about a foot wide.

22352480.jpg


b8ca12b3.jpg
 

Kodiak

.270 WIN
Gopher? Or maybe a Badger?

Pocket gophers range from about 5 to nearly 14 inches long. Adult males are larger than adult females. Their fur is very fine, soft, and highly
variable in color, which ranges from nearly black to pale brown to almost white.


fighting-gopher-01.jpg


Badgers are thought to be related to otters and weasels and can often grow to nearly a meter in length. The badger lives in underground burrows which often contains a maze of tunnels.

Badger-coming-out-of-sett1.jpg
 

LAZY EYED SNIPER

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Depending on its size and if it's a canid burrower, you may have yourself a coyote...



Height: 23–26 inches at the shoulder
Length: 30–34 inches, not counting tail (add 12–16 inches)
Weight: 15–46 lb
* medium sized dog

They dig dens in soft dirt and although the entrance may seem too small for a coyote, they can fit in surprisingly tiny spaces. Coyote burrows almost always have a steep entrance followed by an abrupt turn to one side. There will be a LOT of dirt and rocks displaced/piled around the entrance.


Depending on your region, it could also be a Kit Fox. They're really only found in the southwestern states though...



Height: 12 inches at the shoulder.
Length: 20 Inches.
Weight: 5 lbs
* about the size of a house cat

The best way to tell other than an identifying photo of the animal itself would be a photo of a track or paw print. Most critters have distinct tracks that can be identified relatively easily...

Coyote- tracks are large and oval



Kit Fox- tracks are small and round



Foxes mostly eat bugs, mice, rats, squirrels, and the occasional stolen hen. If your critter is taking calves it makes me think its much bigger and more likely a coyote. If you can, snap some pics of any tracks you find and post them up. If the critter is as brazen as you described you may be able to get a photo of it as well. Just be careful. Coyotes are pack animals so where there's one, there are almost always more. Bring a buddy to watch your back and a firearm never hurts just in case...
 

Chris111

.270 WIN
I thought I included it but I live in Florida, the west central area. We have a lot of natural habitat around the county as well.

I'm not sure what differences I'd be looking for either on the style of hole. There's sand in about a 10 foot area around the hole if that says anything. Tracks will be a problem because everything is covered in layers of leaves and everything else is pretty much sand. That will help me out for sure though.

Are foxes that aggressive to come that close to me or watch me almost like prey? I know coyotes are very aggressive with territory. I had a weird feeling when I saw the second and it just stepped out of view but didn't run off.
 

Chris111

.270 WIN
Wow, the info you added almost describes what I seeing with the burrow. The grey fox is native here but I'm not sure of the sizes. If they are like the fox you mentioned than its not a fox as its way too small. I would say that it's between my knee and mid thigh.
 

LAZY EYED SNIPER

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Florida is home to coyotes as well as both red and gray foxes. Foxes are typically VERY skittish, but any animal living in close proximity to humans can become habituated and begin to lose their natural fear.

Here's a shot of a gray fox...



Height: 12-14 inches at the shoulder.
Length: 30 to 44.3 inches
Weight: 8 to 15 lb
 

Rossignol

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I would almost guess coyote too, theyre everywhere!

They do have dens, and also have a weird sort of gait or canter to the way they run. If you do ever find tracks, see if they arent in almost a single line. Coyotes, even while running will often put one foot down in the same place another had been.

Lazy is right about there being more around. Theyre social animals, and to be able to take down a cow there would have to be more than one.
 

Chris111

.270 WIN
Man, I've been reading for hours on this lol. I'm going to contact a friend tomorrow about the camera. I was thinking that this would be a good chance to see what's going on. As far as the fox goes, I just think the shoulder height is to low. The color doesn't really match up either including the tail. The havent gotten a good look at the face but I think it looks more like a coyote from what I'm seeing. I did see a small pup about a week ago closer to the house. It was sunset as well and I was walking by the garage and saw something move. I looked and it was sitting about 20 yards away looking straight at me. We made eye contact for a solid 10-15 seconds so I thought it was a cat. I stepped back to reach for a stick and kept my eye on it while doing so and it didn't move. I went to throw the stick and it took off before I even let go. After looking at several photos of small fixes and coyotes, I'm positive that it was one or the other and not a cat.
 

LAZY EYED SNIPER

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Be extra careful bro.

Whatever it is it'll surely be more aggressive than normal with pups around.
 

Rossignol

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Theyre generally afraid of humans, real sketchy usually. If they arent... well that would be bad.

Around here they most often get close as it gets late in winter and theyr ehaving a hard time finding food. I sometimes have to watch for them. One came into the yard a couple years ago.

They look like a rangy GSD, or german shepherd. Theyre graceful, and intelligent. Theyre also predators and can be entirely dangerous as theyre oportunistic and bold when in larger groups. A single coyote wont typically attempt anything bold, but may see a small child as easy prey.

Our game warden had told us at one time not to let our then 3 year old daughter play in the yard by herself. Sux cuz our property is at the end of a dead end street and faces away from any neighbors... and is also right up against the woods.

Are you able to shoot on your property? There are several things you can look into if you dont want to shoot the coyote or what ever it is. There are noise deterents like what are used by wildlife control for bears. In fact LightField, one of our forum sponsors makes the Nova distraction round as well as rubber slugs and double ball stuff. All less lethal if you dont wanna shoot to kill.

Weird though you havent heard any before.

Try out the trail cam, and listen at night. I think the 1' and 1 1/2' holes are a little big for fox... but if you ever hear anything that sounds eerily like a screaming or crying child in the woods, its probably fox. Where a bark that kinda sounds like dog but not quite right, like a repetitive yip yip yip is coyote. I dont know what badgers sound like.

Anyhow, Like Lazy said, becareful and keep your children close until you figure it out. The great outdoors are always getting closer and coyote populations keep growing becuase they arent hunted as much as they were, and local regulations prevent people from shooting them in city limits. They arent dumb and will establish themselves where theyre able.
 

tcecil88

.30-06
Elite Member
I would say you probably have a Coyote. Or maybe....
imagesCA27NOR3.jpg

:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:
 

ripjack13

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^^^^^ :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:


I was going to chime in here, but it looks like it's all been said. just be careful...
 

megawatt

.270 WIN
We have kit foxes and coyotes here in Vegas. Kit foxes approach us at work looking for food and scraps.
Many times when I first moved out here I wondered what a german shepherd is doing running around in the desert then I realize its a coyote.

Here is a quick and true story... A bartender friend driving home one evening sees a small somewhat skinny doggie that looked hungry, she thought it was a german shepherd. So she stops to offer it some cheetos and maybe to take it home to care for the pup. Doggie approachess the car slowly and only when it was five feet from her hand she notices its a coyote. She closes the door and drives off without any problems, and it turns into a funny bar story the next day.
 

John A.

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Most wild animals will not stalk you and that concerns me more than a little.

You did mention you were carrying a food bowl I suppose that may've intrigued its' interest, but I still don't think it would've ordinarily stalked you.

From the size you mentioned, sounds like a decent size coyote. Most foxes are fairly small in stature.

I recommend killing it on the next encounter. I would generally prefer 4 shot if relatively close.

Especially if a calf has been killed.

It doesn't sound like it's alone. They can be very very dangerous in packs.

Just for size reference, a full grown coyote can be rather large. Here's a couple of pictures that are overlapped to show a coyote to a deer. Don't underestimate them. Especially if they have cubs.

Like dogs, they can have up to a dozen pups at once.

trailcam111811018-1.jpg


Here are some pics that may help you identify the culprit

coyote
trailcam111811026.jpg


young coyote
trailcam52311061.jpg


fox
trailcam9211024.jpg
 

Expat_PM

.270 WIN
I don't mean to restate what's already been said but we have a lot of coyote where I am and they are VERY dangerous. They are ALWAYS in packs. Nature of the animal. You may only see one or two but rest assured there are several. If they've already taken a cow (or calf) what keeps them from grabbing one of your kids. And I've seen very few coyotes in the last 15 or 20 years that have any fear of man left in them. They have grown too accustomed to being around us.

I would kill them immediately if not sooner. One effective solution I've heard several folks use is to collect the blood and gore from a deer kill (coincidentally it's white tail season right now) and soak some sponges in it overnight. Then the next evening toss them out near the dens. They will wolf them down hole and then die (it's a cruel way to die but very effective). Personally, I prefer to shoot them.

Watch your kids at all times until you get this little infestation under control.
Begin carrying a large caliber handgun AT ALL times around home and stay mentally ready to dispatch one or more of these guys when they come in close.

I'm not trying to be a fear monger but you have to protect your family That's job number one.
 

Rossignol

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John makes a couple very good points, not the least of which is that the animal seems to be stalking you or is at least curious.

An animal will sometimes get kicked out of the pack, or has been injured or is too old to continue hunting with the pack. This is another reason a wild animal normally fearful and cautious can become more bold and do things outside normal and expected behavior. That would be for an individual animal;

But if it isnt alone as John suggests? It does sometimes happen that an entire pack realizes there is an easier way to stay well fed by being closer to humans. Like the calf for example. They can also shift their focus to something easier, something less able to defend its self. Its in their best interest to not encounter trouble or injury.

Something scary to me is seeing their tracks in my yard in the snow with single file paw prints and a span of about 8 feet between running strides... Fortunately the outside dogs seem to deter them. Do you have a dog and does the dog walk with you?

I've heard conflicting ideas on this;
One, in that a dog may provoke an attack.
Two, that a dog can be a deterent.

I have no proof of one or the other being true, nothing to support either theory. Just curious as to whether or not you have a dog and if so, if the dog has been with you when you notice the other animal.

I also recommend killing it. Buckshot, slug, #4 buck... its not a rabbit so dont be stingy.

I'm interested to see what the trail camera yeilds...

Edit:
Ex-Pat posted before i had finished typing this, so I want to acknowledge that again, good points are made about being mindful during your activities. Be prepared to kill the animal if need be.

We watch for them here too...
 

John A.

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Expat_PM said:
I don't mean to restate what's already been said but we have a lot of coyote where I am and they are VERY dangerous. They are ALWAYS in packs. Nature of the animal. You may only see one or two but rest assured there are several. If they've already taken a cow (or calf) what keeps them from grabbing one of your kids. And I've seen very few coyotes in the last 15 or 20 years that have any fear of man left in them. They have grown too accustomed to being around us.

I would kill them immediately if not sooner. One effective solution I've heard several folks use is to collect the blood and gore from a deer kill (coincidentally it's white tail season right now) and soak some sponges in it overnight. Then the next evening toss them out near the dens. They will wolf them down hole and then die (it's a cruel way to die but very effective). Personally, I prefer to shoot them.

Watch your kids at all times until you get this little infestation under control.
Begin carrying a large caliber handgun AT ALL times around home and stay mentally ready to dispatch one or more of these guys when they come in close.

I'm not trying to be a fear monger but you have to protect your family That's job number one.

I agree with everything that has been said here and elsewhere in this topic.

One is the reason that I highlighted in expat pm's post is often when coyote and wolves are hunting in a pack, one if them will intentionally attract your attention so the others in the pack can circle and surround while remaining stealthy.

That was the main reason that your comments concerned me.

It's an embedded instinct that many other animals do for survival too.

It's not all that different from a grouse with a bunch of babies nearby.

The mother grouse will often swell her chest (to look bigger than she is) and will often act like she is injured to get your attention on her and away from her young.

But if your attention is concentrated on that one coyote, you better start looking around at other places too and not become too affixed on the one (although don't disregard the one either), but especially pay attention to your back and sides as well.

I've never heard of soaking a sponge, but it's something that I made a mental note of. Thanks for that.
 
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