Coyote populations are on the rise in the northeast.
With hunting season in full swing, it’s important to be aware of the other hunters in your region, even the four-legged kind. Coyote populations have been growing since they were introduced to the New England area, and the coyotes themselves are growing, too.
The Eastern Coyote can grow to the size of small timber wolves, averaging about forty pounds, but some males can reach fifty or sixty pounds, and they’ve been known to prey on game up to and including deer. This might come as a shock to hunters used to the Southwestern Coyote, which is noticeably smaller. Most of us know a dog around that size, and dogs don’t travel in packs, so it’s worth being a little cautious while you’re out in the bush.
Coyotes are not known for attacking people, but they also aren’t particularly fearful of humans. Make sure you don’t leave snacks in a blind, don’t leave your game unattended, and keep a close eye on your dogs if they come out with you. Nobody wants to go for a walk and come back to a family of coyotes eating their prize deer or delicious beef jerky.
So, what can be done about this menace? Well, for starters, it’s not a menace.
The growing population of coyotes has actually been very beneficial for the environment, replacing the locally extinct wolf population in the food chain. Scavengers, such as raven, marten, and even golden eagles are experiencing a population resurgence thanks to the carcasses of deer the coyotes are bringing down.
That’s not to say they’re here to make friends. If you see a coyote, it’s best to, at the very least, scare them off. A warning shot or other loud noise should do the trick, and if it doesn’t, you might want to shoot them, as that coyote has lost its fear of humans.
Check your local hunting regulations, but coyote seasons are typically year round, or stretch through most other hunting seasons. You might want to shoot them anyways, as they do have at least a very local effect on game populations. They also have lovely fur that’s very warm and typically fetches a decent price, if either of those things interest you.