What is it?

Is it a Raven or a Crow?






Is it a Wolf or a Coyote?

(Courtesy of ODFW)

Try this refresher from ODFW before taking the quiz OR jump right to it here.


Coyotes are abundant in Oregon. They are found in cities, towns, agricultural areas, open country and forested lands. They are usually spotted alone or in pairs, but during the winter they can form large packs that hunt together.


Outside of known wolf pack areas in Oregon, wolves are extremely rare. To see known wolf pack areas in Oregon visit www.odfw.com/Wolves. Wolves avoid humans, cities and towns and are primarily found in forested areas. Young wolves disperse from their birth pack to find a mate and new territory to set up their own pack. Dispersing wolves can travel great distances through unfamiliar country, so they are sometimes found in unexpected places. Dispersing wolves often travel during the day making them easier to observe and more vulnerable to mistaken identity.


Wolves are usually about three times larger than coyotes, but size can be challenging to determine. It is best to focus on the other physical traits of coyotes and wolves to tell them apart. Coyotes have small noses, large pointy ears, short legs and small feet. Wolves on the other hand, have thick snouts, shorter ears, long legs and large feet.


It is the responsibility of every hunter to know their target. It is important for coyote hunters to always check their target to make sure it is a coyote. During the late summer and fall, it can be especially hard to tell a young wolf apart from an adult coyote. Young wolves are small, colored similar to coyotes and their ears are larger in proportion to their head than when they are older. There is no hunting season on wolves in Oregon. Intentionally hunting or accidentally ”taking” a wolf is illegal and has serious legal consequences. If you are not sure of your target, do not shoot!


When you spot a wild canid you may have additional clues such as size, gait, and behavior or maybe you will only have a fleeting glimpse. Click here to see how well you can identify coyotes and wolves from photos. (All photos were taken in Oregon.)



Canis latrans

Coyote On the Move!

Coyote On the Move!

The coyote is a typical canid intermediate in size between the foxes and the gray wolf.

The pelage of the coyote is grayish, buff, pinkish cinnamon, or brownish, or a combination of those colors, often overlain by blackish tipped hairs on the ears, muzzle feet, and dorsum. The lips and eyelids are black, accentuated by contrasting borders of white fur. The underparts are paler than the remainder of the body. Considerable variation in color and markings of coyotes is evident among individuals and regionally east and west of the Cascade Range. True albinos with pink eyes and pink foot pads are known to have occurred in Oregon.

Their secretive nature, largely nocturnal or crepuscular activity, and wide-ranging movements have limited study of coyote behavior. Although it is considered only a moderately social species, it possesses a highly developed communication system that facilitates development and maintenance of long-term social relationships.

In Oregon, the coyote is fairly uniformly distributed except for the northwestern corner of the state. It occurs in habitats ranging from grasslands to shrub-steppe to boreal forests and from remote wilderness to highly urbanized areas.

Gray wolf

OR12. male Wenaha pack, ODFW

OR12, a male wolf from the Wenaha pack, after he was GPS-collared on April 2, 2012 in northwestern Wallowa County. OR12 weighed 94 pounds and is currently the only collared wolf in the Wenaha pack. Photo courtesy of ODFW. More information on the Wenaha wolf pack Photo courtesy of ODFW. Download high resolution image.

Canis lupus Linnaeus

Canus lupus is the largest canid, not only in Oregon, but in the rest of the world as well.

The wolf has relatively long legs, a narrow and deep chest, elbows that turn inward and foot pads that turn outward. These, combined with the digitigrade feet possessed by all canids, make the wolf highly adapted for running. The pelage of gray wolves is long over the body and tail, but relatively short on the legs and face. The predominant color is gray, but the legs, flanks, and venter sometimes are yellowish or light brownish. These colors are overlain by long, black guard hairs on the dorsum, tail, and mane; some individuals are essentially entirely black. Occasionally, but more commonly in higher latitudes, all-white individuals occur.

Wolves commonly function in packs consisting of two to nine individuals; packs basically are family units. Pack cohesion is based on ties developed during courtship of adults and those developed during early life of the young. Wolves may be active at any time, but tend to be more active at night. They travel extensively. Howling, distinctive among individuals, is used to assemble the pack and to advertise the territory.

The gray wolf is an Oregon Conservation Strategy Species in the Blue Mountains, East Cascades, Klamath Mountains, Northern Basin and Range and the West Cascades ecoregions. ODFW’s gray wolves page provides more information.

Photo from ODFW

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