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Coyote Population Control

Curb the coyote population to protect your livestock.

| May/June 2017

  • A coyote in search of its next meal.
    Photo by Lucy Aron
  • If you notice your livestock are beginning to disappear, be sure to look for signs that will tell you what predator you are dealing with. If you determine it’s coyotes, get in touch with local experts to devise a plan.
    Photo by
  • Great Pyrenees make great livestock guardian dogs.
    Photo by
  • Hunting and trapper coyotes are two effective methods.
    Photo by David Hart
  • Strategically dispatching coyotes will help decrease their population.
    Photo by David Hart
  • An electronic call imitates the sounds of coyotes’ prey that will lure them to within shooting range.
    Photo by David Hart
  • Gritty is ready to dispatch some coyotes of his own!
    Picture by Brad Anderson Illustration

What used to be an iconic symbol of the western United States now inhabits nearly every county east of the Mississippi River. Yep, coyotes are everywhere these days, even in places they didn’t inhabit a decade ago. And they are killing record numbers of livestock. Across the nation, coyotes killed more than 33,000 sheep and lambs in 2014, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

It isn’t just livestock producers who are feeling the impact. Coyotes take an even heavier toll on deer in some parts of the country. Research conducted by the University of Georgia found that in some instances, coyotes kill upwards of three-quarters of newborn fawns, contributing to a slight decline in deer numbers in many eastern and southeastern states.

Removal methods

So what can you do? For many farmers and hunters, the answer is simple: Dispatch as many as possible.

There are two lethal methods for removing coyotes: trapping and shooting. Guns likely take a heavier toll, simply because there are more hunters than trappers. Deer hunters in particular are taking the increase in coyote predation to heart. These days, few pass up an opportunity to shoot one. South Carolina hunters kill 30,000 or more annually, according to data compiled by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

A growing legion of hunters is taking up a more targeted effort at coyote hunting. Long popular out west, calling coyotes within shooting range in the eastern United States has paralleled the growth in coyote numbers in places like Georgia, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. As such, hunting magazines have dedicated countless pages to the pursuit, offering how-to, where-to, and why-to advice for hunters eager to learn more.

When it works, calling coyotes into gun range is a fun, exciting way to help reduce their numbers. The most common and effective way to lure them close is with an electronic call that imitates their preferred prey, like rabbits, fawns, birds, or even kittens. Coyotes will sneak in to investigate the chance at an easy meal. Simply find a place with good visibility, turn on the call, and wait. It can take 20 to 30 minutes for a coyote to sneak in, so be patient.

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