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.”