Coyote hunting is big business in the world of American outdoor sporting. These uniquely North American animals are often thought of as pests who raid homes and farms for food and clear out wildlands of small game. While it’s true that these complaints have some validity, it’s hard to deny that coyotes share a lot in common with our beloved domesticated dogs. This was a lesson Rick Hanestad learned first hand.
Hanestad used to be a traditional Wisconsin Coyote hunter. He stalked, trapped, and killed these animals for sport and entertainment. That is, until he met Wiley. Wiley was just a pup when Hanestad found him hanging on to life in his den. His mother had been shot and his siblings hadn’t been able to hold out long enough to be rescued. Hanestad was convinced that after a few months Wiley would be too dangerous and aggressive to keep in the house any longer and would have to be set free. In reality, quite the opposite happened.
Wiley grew up to become as tame and loving as any dog. He was fiercely loyal and protective of his adoptive family and, aside from needing a lot of attention and exercise, was fairly well behaved. Unfortunately, Wisconsin takes a hard stance on Coyotes and there was a real possibility that Wiley would have been shot on sight if he was ever spotted outdoors unsupervised. Eventually a police officer discovered Wiley while investigating an unrelated matter and sent for the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) to come claim and terminate him.
Hanestad was devastated. The once enthusiastic hunter called up his representative and took his story to the public. Eventually he was allowed to purchase a special license and keep Wiley so long as he provided him a large enough fenced in outside space to run around in.
For a look at what domestic life is like for Wiley check out the videos below.
I swear if I didn’t know he was a Coyote I’d think he was just a plain old puppy dog.