“Why do people hunt coyotes if they don’t eat them?”, “What do hunters do with coyote kills?”, “Why do people hate coyotes?”… These questions are almost always asked by a newbie to hunting or someone who is curious about coyotes and their role in the world.
Coyote hunting may seem like an odd hobby, but it is actually quite common among people living in suburbs. The reasons for hunting coyotes vary from person to person, but most of the time it is because they are a nuisance to homeowners and pose a threat to the native wildlife and livestock.
The main goal of hunting coyotes is to control their numbers and protect native wildlife populations from these predators. Hunting coyotes can help prevent them from attacking pets or livestock which would be a major concern for farmers or ranchers who rely on these animals for food or income.
Why do people hunt coyotes?
But population management isn’t the only reason to hunt coyotes- hunting them can be a fun pastime, and learning about their habits can teach us a lot about the natural world. Let’s discuss all the reasons people hunt coyotes
To manage the coyote population
Without serious efforts to control their population, coyote populations grow rapidly. They are also predators with almost no competition, so they keep on dominating various parts of the environment and removing other species. The coyote species is surprisingly adaptive and able to find food in any environment. This means they can adapt to new locations, with different resources and an entirely different ecosystem. They are skilled at survival and know how to get by no matter what changes.
The number of coyotes in an area can have a major impact on how many pups are born in a litter. For example, in an area where there is a large number of coyotes, the average pup per litter can be as low as 4. However, if there are little to no other coyotes, you may expect that the average reaching up to 12. The surprising thing is, a female coyote could give birth to 120+ coyotes in its lifetime and if it’s not checked then the population grows fast. That’s why hunters and trappers are an important part of keeping coyote populations from getting out of control. If they’re not stopped, coyotes are potential dangers to sheep, deer, and other animals. In that scenario, the coyotes will continue to find new things to eat, their population will keep growing, and they’ll keep finding new places to populate.
To help deer and small game populations thrive
Coyotes will usually breed in the winter and their gestation period is around 2 months. What else is born in late spring all across North America? Whitetail deer fawns, mule deer fawns, elk calves and you can bet male coyotes are hunting for their lady and pups! A study found that coyotes are the biggest cause of death for whitetail deer fawns. When fawns first leave the protection and safety of their mothers, they are extremely vulnerable to predators. This makes them the perfect prey for coyotes to hunt down and bring home- or provide practice for the first hunt of their pups.
Coyotes eat about 2-6 pounds of food per day. The average fawn weighs about 6-8 pounds and the average adult cottontail is 2.6 pounds on average. What coyotes eat depends on the time of year. In summer, they eat small mammals like rabbits or mice, but come winter when there’s less to hunt they go for deer and moose. They’ll also eat birds, eggs, fruit, and roots.
Because coyotes can spread diseases
Coyotes are known to carry a variety of diseases and when they come in contact with other animal species, they will transfer these. Some of the most common ones are canine hepatitis and canine distemper. Canine distemper can prove lethal for our domestic dogs. Other diseases include rabies and tularemia which can infect people and other animals. Coyotes are natural hosts for a variety of parasites which may include, mites, ticks, fleas, worms, and flukes. If unchecked the infections can lead to a condition called mange which slowly eats away at the animal’s tissues.
To practice hunting during the off-season
“The coyote is one of the most adaptable and intelligent animals in North America, with a keen sense of smell, excellent hearing, good eyesight, and an intense desire to survive.”
Coyote hunting is a unique opportunity to learn more about nature and get better at tracking prey. When you track coyotes, you need to wear the perfect outfit, use their noises and act like them. If you want to hunt coyotes successfully, you need to be a predator like them.
Coyotes are quick, smart, and have a highly-tuned sense of smell. If they catch your scent or figure out that your call is a ruse, you better give up because they’ll recognize you as a threat! Their intelligence and, often, ability to sense human presence make them hard to hunt. They’re quick to adapt and avoid your hunting strategy– making them one of the smartest groups of animals you can ever come across as a hunter.
When coyote hunting is slow, it’s a good idea to spend some time glassing for them and trying to spot their sneaky moves from a distance.
…and keep hunting during the “off-season”
One thing that’s great about coyote hunting is that due to their status as an invasive species, in many places you’re allowed to hunt them essentially all year long.
Michigan, for instance, passed a law (April 2016) that lets you hunt coyotes 365 days a year, with no limit on the number of kills.
You’ll become an expert in the area since you’re walking and getting to know the terrain better than ever. You’ll of course also be able to scout for other wild game animals like turkeys or other deer. It’s always good to get familiar with these locations so that when hunting season nears, you already have a head start!
After the shot… What do hunters do with coyote kills?
There are a handful of things hunters can do with a coyote kill. They can just leave it for other scavengers to find, or they can even eat it they feel like it. Let’s take a look at some options:
They Sell the Fur
Skinning a coyote and selling its fur is possible but you need to determine how damaged it is first. Coyote fur has a price tag attached based on the quality and whether or not it was inflicted with any injuries. If we’re talking most expensive, the most expensive single piece is $100. Most pieces are in the $50-75 range.
Yes, some even eat Them
Did you know? There are some hunters who also eat coyotes! Apparently, they’re both nutritious and delicious when cooked properly. Most people are not keen on the idea of eating a coyote due to its striking resemblance to dogs.
They Collect Bounties
States and provinces are starting to offer rewards for coyotes. Coyotes prey on livestock and other wildlife, so it’s important for them to stay as far away as possible. The government will hand out a bounty in the hope that people will kill enough of them manually, or find ways to keep the numbers down.
Hunters that kill coyotes in designated bounty zones can turn in the animal, receive a payout and call it a day. The average size of a cash prize can be anywhere from $30-$70 dollars
They use their hide for tying flies for fishing
One often-overlooked use of coyotes is using the hide in fly tying. Most hunters also fish, and many of them tie their own flies.
Coyote fur is a highly versatile material which can be used to make a variety of fly patterns. The stiff guard hairs are the ideal material for tying hackles; however, the soft undercoat can be utilised for dubbing.
There are many reasons why hunters use coyote fur for fly tying, but one of the key ones is because it has such gorgeous colors. While a lot of commercially available flies are dyed, coyote fur is naturally colorful.
Many hunters like to mount them
When you go into any hunter’s house, you’ll find antlers mounted on the wall. It helps hunters remember their hunt and serves as a reminder of a job well done. Nobody will forget that amazing day when they finally brought home their prey – it’ll be on display for years to come!
Hunters are often proud of their coyote and want to showcase them in a full-body mount. A particularly striking specimen or a difficult hunt will often warrant such an honor.
Others do Nothing – They just leave it for other scavengers to find
Some hunters enjoy the thrill of the hunt, but they also understand that coyotes are a vital part of the ecosystem. They will often leave them where they fall so that other animals can feed on them.
Why do hunters seem to “hate” coyotes?
The coyote is a predator like hunters, so they would probably see them as competition since they both go after the same game. “Their” game.
Many hunters make the mistake of thinking that if a prey is on their property, it belongs to them.
It totally boggles my mind when people refuse to acknowledge that they don’t own wildlife and can’t “own” them because it’s supposed to be public property. But I suppose the idea of humans being entitled to everything causes that kind of mindset in the first place.