Best place for coyote photography?

Rare and “charismatic” animals have lots of buzz, and often lodges and guides associated with them.  So paradoxically, it can be easier to find the best place to see a jaguar (I just returned from the pantanal) than it is for a common mammal like the coyote.    Coyote range across western North America including in my backyard in suburban Seattle.   But that doesn’t make the whole range is a good place to photograph them – for that you need a place where there is a reliable density of non-persecuted animals.  That’s the best way to get photos of behavior and interaction.   It’s not a question of seeing one dart across a road – it’s getting a quality photo.

Unfortunately, throughout most of their range coyotes are either persecuted, or have learned to be incredibly stealthy – such as the coyote in my backyard.  Plus, I think that they may seem so common and ordinary that nobody goes to the trouble of discussing a coyote hot spot, or making them the goal of a trip or expedition.

So with that preamble, does anybody have a go-to location for photographing coyote?   My guess is that this would be a park or protected area, but it might also be farmland, or even a campground or community landfill.

Nathan

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Nathan Myhrvold

5 Comments

  • Sebastian Kennerknecht

    Hey Nathan,
    In my experience your assumptions are spot on. You want a spot where they are not persecuted and even one where they see people regularly.

    In my experience the best three locations for coyote behavior are Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, and Point Reyes National Seashore. If I am looking specifically for coyotes I would expect to see at least three per day in each of these locations. Happy to answer follow up questions if you have them!

  • Nathan Myhrvold

    Thanks for the suggestions – I want to visit Point Reyes for bobcat so maybe this can be a dog and cat double header. A guide I had in patagonia / torres del paine while I was for puma had an interesting take on habituated animals. He had comments from people saying that puma there really wild – they’re tame. He said no, a really wild animal isn’t afraid of you and goes about its business as if you are not there. But a persecuted animal will be afraid, and human persecution was so prevalent that that for many people it has redefined their ideas of what “wild” means.

  • kbrown217

    I found Point Reyes an excellent place for both Bobcat and Coyote in 2019, all sightings were on the first mile of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard

  • Ian Thompson

    Hi Nathan,
    I agree with Sebastian’s suggestions, above. In addition, Grasslands National Park in southern Saskatchewan has a high density of coyotes which, while not habituated, seem less shy than in many other places.

  • Ralf Bürglin

    Hi Nathan, I agree with Ian Thomson. I have photographed Coyotes in Grasslands National Park catching Prairie dogs. Waiting for Coyotes in a Prairie dog town has the advantage that there is a chance of seeing many more species. Prairie dogs are considered a keystone species, attracting other species such as Black-footed Ferret, Swift Fox, American Badger, Bison, Pronghorn, and Mule Deer.

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