Sunday, 31 October 1999 17:00

More Coyotes than Ever

Written by Outdoor Life
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There are 750 coyote hunters working for a program called Wildlife Services (WS) under the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 17 western states.

Glynn Riley, 63, of Brownwood, Tex., is acknowledged by his peers as the best...."There are more coyotes today than I've seen in all of my 38 years with WS. And they're causing more problems than ever before."

The federal budget for the western predator control program stands at $ 15,580,000. States and counties together match the federal outlay with money through taxes on livestock sales and other funding.

"The program has been on the defensive ever since I can remember," says Riley as the wrinkles around his eyes tighten. "And at first glance we do seem a little archaic. But in reality, with record-high wildlife populations, we're needed more than ever. People don't understand that coyotes can put ranchers out of business."..."! was called into the Paris, Tex. area once," says Glynn Riley, "because a lady's dogs and cats were being killed by coyotes. In three weeks I trapped out 19 coyotes around her house. I get more calls on that sort of thing than I could ever respond to."

In Wyoming, two county predator boards still pay $20 per coyote scalp-or per set of ears, if you prefer to keep the pelt intact.

Coyotes are very territorial and will drive off intruding coyotes, says Guy Connolly, a former WS field biologist who now works as a consultant for WS. This coupled with the fact that coyotes breed more when their population is stressed, makes it smarter to control them by killing problem coyotes while maintaining their populations at tolerable levels. "I conducted a study once that proved you can kill 70 percent of the coyotes annually and they will maintain a stable population. You have to kill more than 75 percent to get an overall reduction," says Connolly.

So the coyote is a versatile and fertile predator who can breed like a rabbit, eat like a garbage disposal and is probably in your backyard—a sobering thought. Still, he's an American wildlife-success story, much like the turkey and whitetail deer. But unlike the turkey and deer, he has an appetite for flesh and needs to be controlled "like a wolf," says Riley. And that's what gives a few select men such as Riley a chance to go on the federal payroll in search for the notorious stock-killer, Canis latrans

Editor's Note: How much of this $15,580,000 is NDOW getting and what are they doing with it?

Reprinted from Outdoor Life, December/January 1999

Last modified on Thursday, 06 May 2010 16:32
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