I recently had the chance to photograph an adorable coyote pup mousing in an area freshly mowed at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. I have been observing four coyote pups in this area since early summer, but all except one pup seem to have left the area.

Young Coyote Pup's Mousing Adventure

Young Coyote Pup’s Mousing Adventure

Coyotes are renowned for their remarkable hunting abilities, which start developing when they are pups learning skills like mousing. Mousing involves hunting small prey like mice and voles and is an essential rite of passage for young coyotes. It helps them refine skills like stalking, pouncing, and catching prey. Mousing also aids in honing their senses – hearing, sight, and smell – critical for their success as hunters.

Witnessing a Young Coyote's Technique

Witnessing a Young Coyote’s Technique

As the pups grow, they will graduate to hunting larger animals like rabbits and squirrels. However, mousing will always be a key part of their hunting repertoire, and they will continue this type of small prey hunting throughout their lives. It’s fascinating to see the skills coyote pups gain at such a young age, reminding us of the incredible adaptations animals have developed to thrive in their habitats.

Coyote Pup Hunting Mice Or Voles

Coyote Pup Hunting Mice Or Voles

Another vital skill pups build through mousing is pounce technique. Pouncing requires leaping forward precisely and accurately to seize prey. As they practice mousing, the pups improve their pouncing, ensuring greater success rates when hunting larger prey in adulthood. I managed to capture a photo of a talented pup pouncing: [Incredible Coyote Pounce Photo].

A Young Coyote Pup Mousing

A Young Coyote Pup Mousing

The area near the Sandtown parking lot seems a favorite coyote hunting ground. The tall Johnson grass made photographing the pup difficult, but the refuge recently mowed a section, and on August 20th I snapped a quick shot of the pup (One Of Four Coyote Pups). A few days later, large boulders were added to the field, and I assumed that was the end of my pup sightings.

Remarkably, on August 25th, I spied the pup again in the area. I positioned my camera and lens on a bean bag draped over the open window of my parked pickup on the road. From there, I photographed the pup as it came close to my truck several times.


Gear Used:

  • Camera: Fujifilm X-T3
  • Lens: Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS II USM


On the first photo only:

  • Location: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge (Oklahoma)
  • Date and Time Taken: August 25, 2020 (06:30 A. M.)
  • Exposure Mode: Manual
  • Aperture: f5.6
  • Shutter speed: 1/680
  • ISO: 2000 (Auto)
  • Exp. Comp.: +0.33
  • Focal Length: 400 mm