Coyote spotted near Goodale’s pit

A trail camera caught a photo of a coyote near Goodale's pit.

A live eastern coyote was filmed walking through the woods in Oak Bluffs near Goodale’s pit and the rotary, according to biologist Gus BenDavid.

Speaking to The Times Thursday, BenDavid confirmed the footage was, in fact, a coyote. This is the third sighting of a coyote on the Island over the past year, but it has yet to be confirmed if it’s the same one or if there are multiple coyotes roaming the Vineyard.

“We’re not sure if we have two separate individuals living alone on the Island now,” BenDavid said. “This animal could very well be the same one because they have tremendous ranges. They don’t just stay in the same restricted ranges.”

Coyotes are common on the Cape, and have been sighted on each of the Elizabeth Islands, with a permanent population on Naushon. BenDavid said decent-sized coyotes on Naushon weigh about 40 to 45 pounds. The heaviest recorded was 57 pounds.

BenDavid is in frequent talks with the state about wildlife on the Island and says he’s notified the Department of Fish and Wildlife of the sighting.

Coyote hunting season in Massachusetts runs from Jan. 1 – March 7 and Oct. 17 – March 8, 2021. A permit is needed to hunt coyotes.

The Island’s resident coyote (or coyotes) came here on their own, most likely swimming from the Elizabeth Islands, BenDavid said. BenDavid added that the breeding season for coyotes is coming up in February. While acknowledging the coyotes’ natural presence, BenDavid warned that it may be an issue on the Island. 

“The coyotes are getting here naturally,” he said. “But if these animals get established on the Vineyard they will cause a lot of problems for a lot of people, farmers, pet owners.”


  1. We have a fair amount of coyotes here on our homeplace. I see them in the woods occasionally and often their scat on the trails. They see me and don’t seem to mind that I’m here. They make coyote music at night. We co-exist just fine. We share our earth.

  2. sapiens also got here naturally, and caused “a lot of problems” for every other species that was naturally here.

  3. Coyotes have no natural predator other than man. Before you start embracing these Alpha preditors, remember what they eat. Small animals, including your domestic cat and small dogs. Are you willing to keep your family pets inside your house forever just to say you have cute coyotes in the neighborhood?
    I didn’t think so….. Let the hunting season begin

  4. There is a very short window to snuff these apex predators out before they burn like a wildfire through the ecosystem and slaughter people’s pets and livestock. The “Let Nature Run Its Course” people need to cut it out- coyotes have the rest of New England to flourish. No need for an infestation here.

  5. My brother in Weymouth lost a cat and his dog to coyotes in his suburban back yard. He caught each attack on his security cameras. Natural born killers.

  6. it’s too bad that some people think it’s a joke for eastern coyotes to come to the island. to “new news”, i wouldn’t say coyotes are quite “natural born killers” as they don’t kill for “sport”. they kill because they need to eat. and feed their young. they are in their breeding season right now. i wish more people would pay attention to what gus bendavid has to say or at least read the article before they post a comment.

  7. if god wanted coyotes on Martha’s Vineyard, she would make sure they survived the swim from the mainland. Just this week, there was a comment from a devout evangelical christian on this forum :
    ”The almighty, everywhere present power of God, whereby, as it were, by his hand, he still upholds heaven and earth with all creatures and so governs them… indeed, all things come not by chance, but by his fatherly hand.”
    Seems pretty clear that god want’s coyotes on this island.
    Not sure we want to mess with Her wishes on this one.

    • The problem is that once they start reproducing, they’ll be in everybody’s back yard, with no known predators. They’ll be going through your garbage bins and scaring heck out of the diners at the West Chop Club when they start yipping in the woods. I had one jump out of my neighbor’s trash bin, right next to me when I was putting my bins out. Solution? Bring in a couple of mountain lions. That’ll balance things out. Either that or a couple of road runners. Just don’t pick up any of them if they have rockets attached to their backs.

      • off season– I am not so sure the mountain lions are a good Idea. I don’t think we have any place here that qualifies as a “mountain” for them to live on.
        But , I do like the idea about the road runner. While a road runner might not actually take care of the problem, it would in fact provide some great entertainment for the folks at the West Chop club, as the coyote would occasionally slam into the flag pole, or get hopelessly tangled in the nets of the tennis courts. Who knows, he might even also provide a few fireworks at sunset, as he rockets off the cliffs. And of course, no matter what happens, no harm actually ever comes to either the coyote or the road runner.
        And that’s what we all want anyway– a nice harmonious inclusive island. 🙂
        Peace Love and Pasta

    • Actually dondondon God gives man free will and He will allow eradication of Coyotes. You need to really understand Sovereignty and Providence and Free will and divine determinism and predestination. You need to school yourself on Christian Theology and Hermeneutics and hopefully the colander of pastafarianism will be removed like the scales on the eyes. Research “” Molinism”” and Supralapsarianism.

      • Good points by both Andrew and Dondon. I probably should have referred to mountain lions as cougars….more benign sounding. Yes, there is always a problem when you introduce new species to a habitat. Speaking of which, I was once attacked by a cougar at the Lamppost, but that’s another story. What we all have to worry about is that tourist season is coming up fast and we know the trouble we had last time when a predator wiped out half the sunbathers on State Beach. We don’t want a bird watcher slapping Chief McNamee in downtown Edgartown because he didn’t shut down the State Forest fast enough. Breeding season is next month for coyotes. I say we put up $10,000 reward money for this cur. Since God wanted coyotes on the island, He/She must also have wanted people with AR-15 assault rifles and sniper rifles. When some marksman shoots the tail off a Gold Retriever in the State Forest with a .50 cal Barrett and a second later, Alan Dershowitz and his students of the Second Amendment on the front porch of the Chilmark General Store wonder what just went through the roof and out the other side, we might need to tighten up the rules on the hunt, but let’s cross that bridge when we get to it.

      • Andrew– you say that god has control of everything, and then , in the next breath, you say we humans can totally disregard her wishes and exterminate her creations while criticizing me for advocating against the murder of her creations.
        we just can’t make this stuff up.
        how about researching “logic”

  8. i lost both my cats to coyotes. and have witnessed a coyote try to attack a small dog while it’s owner was walking it on a leash. fortunately another neighbor was right there to fend off the coyote. all i am saying is that if we chose to coexist with coyotes on the island then we must change our way of life. let everyone know that if they don’t wish to lose their pets and livestock, then they must take measures to try and prevent that. btw, they can jump over 5-6′ fences so one might have to invest in a coyote fence. i don’t mean to be an alarmist, just being realistic and trying to inform.

  9. MV is too small to share with Coyote. Not enough wild lands left to give them a habitat. But how to eliminate this? If there are only a couple, of three, they can be trapped humanely and released ( but thats risky for dogs and cats) or shot with tranquilizer gun and released on the mainland. I would waste no time in eliminating Coyote from the island. Otherwise this spells big trouble and say goodbye to letting Rover out for a pee at night, and to your freeranging chcikens and the grazing animals here, the Alpaca Farm and guinea fowl and barn cats and outdoor no, all cats are not meant to be inside cats. Martha’s Vineyard is the country (and many are country cats who live inside but come in and out at will…)
    I DON’t support hunting coyote but if this takes care of the problem I’m in favor.

    I do not think it’s possible to Live and Let Live with the Coyote Clan on Martha’s Vineyard. Who is in charge of addressing this problem? lIt needs addressing NOW.TODAY.

      • I agree with you. Measures must be wisely taken NOW in as humane a way as possible to remove them in order to prevent a huge problem later. I hope some sensible people step up. I am off island with health problems otherwise I would volunteer to help.

  10. The conventional wisdom here on MV for catching mice is not to trap them or kill them but to catch them alive and walk them about one mile from your house and then release them. If this is what people really believe should be done then there is zero chance anything will be done about the coyote. These predators should be shot and killed before you get an infestation that kills all the pets. I have seen this happen elsewhere. Stop all this nonsense about sharing the planet. You could have done something about skunks and you didnt.

        • andrew–
          it’s easy to find examples of animals you don’t like, Including me.
          I know, you like beef and think plovers taste like chicken.
          But those things are not the actual animal. They are the remains, the true essence of the animals you like to consume have gone to pastafarmian heaven, where they are properly cared for by vegan caretakers. Even the deceased coyotes will lie with the cats and the dogs..
          But my question was ” have you ever met an animal you actually like ?”
          If you are going to bother to respond, you might as well respond to the question as asked. An HONEST answer would delight us all here, I think,
          And happy MLK day.
          I know how you feel about him.

    • Thank you for posting the link. There was an article about a coyote going after a woman and her dog this week, too. Don’t know if they were seriously injured or not. It is really alarming.

    • And you don’t want to start any unnecessary fear mongering……coyotes weigh around 40 pounds. That’s smaller than a lab.

  11. Coyotes eat mice. Also hares. They prefer those over cats and dogs. The tick problem would be minimized with coyotes. The turkeys, hares, geese, skunks need to be thinned out for a healthy ecosystem.

  12. I usually just come out in the summer or fall, but I am now considering moving to the island. Does anyone know where I could open a warehouse for my new ACME business? Coyotes love buying ACME products.

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