- May 18, 2022
At this point, in all my years of hunting, I have done nothing to slow the increase in the coyote population in our state. While hunting deer and bears I have spotted coyotes, but no situation ever arose where I could get a decent shot. A couple of times I even tried calling at night
At this point, in all my years of hunting, I have done nothing to slow the increase in the coyote population in our state. While hunting deer and bears I have spotted coyotes, but no situation ever arose where I could get a decent shot. A couple of times I even tried calling at night but to no avail. My wife, Sheila, on the other hand, who has been hunting far fewer years than I, recently scored her first coyote.
It was the last Friday of the regular gun deer season; we were positioned about 30 yards apart on a fairly steep wooded hillside. I saw her steadying her rifle on a downed tree limb, but I couldn’t see anything on the opposite hillside. What I didn’t realize was the coyote was in a slight ravine just below her stand. After she fired we both walked about 40 yards from her stand to find a very dead coyote — it was a young male with a gray/brown full coat in good condition. After a congratulatory hug, I dragged the varmint back to the truck. On the way back it was quickly decided that this one was destined to be a full mount with the coyote in a walking position — just the way it was when she shot it. No, we didn’t score on a deer that day, but the coyote kill made it a very rewarding hunt —especially for Sheila.
When I was a kid growing up in western Pennsylvania, a coyote was a rare sighting; in fact, we often doubted those who told us they saw one. That’s far from the case today. Sightings are very common these days, and not just while in hunting situations. I have seen coyotes sitting in my backyard or running across the road, and I’m sure there are many more people who have similar sightings to report. Admittedly, sighting one with a rifle in your hand while you have a good, clear shot may be another case entirely, however, there are probably far more people taking coyotes than you may realize.
I recently came across some statistics that will back up what I’m saying. During the 2015-16 hunting season, hunters killed well over 38,000 coyotes — that is nearly double the number killed in the previous year when about 20,300 were killed. The year previous to that (2005-06) the number of coyotes killed was believed to be around 6,600. That’s a whale of an increase over 20 or so years. Even with these big increases in the coyote kill, their population continues to expand and increase, or at the very least it remains stable.
While we know that coyotes can be destructive to our native game populations, they have also been known to pick off a wandering cat, and they have even attacked dogs. That being said, however, it appears that chickens top the menu when it comes to domestic victims. Nine hundred and thirteen chickens were reported killed between 2005-2015 with sheep coming in second with 414 killed.
Cats ranked third at 283. I suspect that if you added feral cats into the mix that number would probably be higher. Only 31 dogs were reported killed in that same 10-year period. Human attacks are very rare.
Coyotes can be hunted year round, day or night, so I guess there is still some hope that I can catch up to my wife. Who knows, by that time she may have doubled her own score.