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 www.projectcoyote.org 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!