Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Coyote Conundrum

At times, I feel I am at a slight disadvantage not having a Facebook account. However, the investment of time and the hassle of managing yet another online application and the associated updating and maintenance, frankly makes my head hurt. Typically, the advantages have managed to outweigh these disadvantages . . . until that is a few days ago when I read the following reply off the public Facebook wall of Maine Magazine ( in reference to my blog. Since I can’t actually reply to this commenter in that forum, I wanted to offer a reply here on my blog. IF you have a Facebook account and want to comment directly on the Maine Magazine wall and link to this article it would be much appreciated!! Be warned that the comment is several posts deep and will require multiple hits on the "Older Posts" button till you make your way down to June 8th at 1:52 AM. Searching for themaineoutdoorsman also helps! Thanks!

Claire Perry writes - I am not anti-hunting. I own prime hunting land and I permit access by permission to hunters I know. HOWEVER, it is extreemly unfortunate that people in Maine do not educate themselves better on a beautiful and intelligent keystone predator...our Maine coyote. They eat mostly rodents, will respect your property boundries (unlike wolves) and are intelligent and HIGHLY BENEFICIAL to our ecosystem ! We can learn to coexiest with them..and SHOULD. Go to to learn more. And I challenge Maine dot to do an indepth interview with Geri Vistein...Maine Wildlife biologist and carnivore expert regarding these amazing animals. We already have enough magazines that view wildlife as something to kill for fun. Time to evolve. Wake up, Maine dot


Conducting a short web search, I was quickly able to find many citations, conducted by state and regional biologist across the United States, clearly refuting and contradicting the claims of Claire Perry:

- Primary wildlife species that the coyote prey upon are white-tailed deer and small mammals such as rats and mice. Their diet also consists of rabbits, groundhogs, ruffed grouse, turkeys, chipmunks, squirrels, muskrats, fruits, berries, carrion, and the occasional house cat.

- In western states alone, coyotes reportedly kill approximately $27 million worth of livestock each year (Gompper 2002).

- Coyotes are opportunistic and will eat a deer anytime the opportunity presents itself. With this in mind, coyote predation on deer is most prevalent during the fawning season

- In Maine, a state study concluded that coyotes killed almost as many deer as the hunters did in 1995.

- Coyotes have learned that in suburbia where they're not hunted and humans pose no threat to them, they can move into woodlots, fenced roads, ditches, rights of way and even flower beds and dodge human contact, yet remain close to their food sources, which sometimes include deer that also live in these same places.

- Wolf genes allow coyotes to take bigger bite of deer herd


Obviously, there are two sides to every argument, so I encourage everyone to read the facts, talk to biologists and consider both sides of the coyote conundrum. Like it or not coyotes are here in the state of Maine forever. Despite the fact they are an invasive species, no matter how much we do to try an eliminate their populations they will always adapt and persevere.

While I do not support the vilification of the coyote or their complete eradication (mostly because it would frankly be impossible) I do support the belief that their population in Maine has become excessive. I think it is possible and justifiable for IFW to implement more robust hunting and harvesting measures that would keep this animals population better in check, just as they do with all other managed game animals.

Additionally, I would add that enjoy hunting these beautiful and cunning predators and every coyote I have shot I consider a personal trophy. If you have not yet had a chance to hunt coyotes, bobcat and fox I strongly encourage you to give it a try!


  1. After reading this "They eat mostly rodents, will respect your property boundries"... I would love to trade some of my coyotes for some Maine coyotes. :)

    Can't count the number of new born calves lost to coyotes in this area....
    and closer to home... they take my cats, chickens, poultry, piglets and have even entered my garage to steal a border collie pup who was sleeping with his litter mates. They do not raise the pups, they eat them for lunch.
    (yes I keep a rifle close at hand)

    The Oklahoma coyotes have no respect for property boundries. I wanna trade ya. :)

  2. Oh boy...Not even gonna get into this one :)

    I did read a paper last semester about Coyote control. It showed that the faster you kill them, the faster they reproduce. It was kinda interesting.

    Now I just need to find that dang paper again...

  3. CG, Nice to hear from you! I see from your blog you have been busily enjoying your summer. Your hasty Bake Meatloaf made my stomach growl. :)

    I would be happy to send you some of our "domesticated" Maine coyotes. They are so warm and cuddly they will practically snuggle up at the foot of your bed. This is of course after they eat your house cat. HA!

  4. Alex,

    I think that technically you just did. HA!

    If you find that paper and don't mind sharing I would like to give it a read.

    Good luck on your last kayak fishing trip of the season!

  5. Keep shooting them Rabid (for population control of course!) :)

  6. Now your in her cross-hairs, so to speak and I thought all you un-evolved types were extinct by now!

  7. Trey,

    No worries, in a couple weeks I will be finalizing the last touches on the coyote "blind" including a lazyboy recliner. It will make those cold January evenings so much more enjoyable!

  8. PBM,

    I doubt she knows I even posted. No worries as long as my post encouraged a few more to think and examine both sides of the Coyote Conundrum.

    Ok, Grunt, grunt time for neanderthal man to slink back to his cave!


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