A predator hunter works to control the coyote population in Mecosta and Osceola counties

MECOSTA, OSCEOLA COUNTIES – The sound of distant howls carrying a night breeze, a lack of pheasants and other birds, and dead livestock and pets are familiar sights and sounds for Michiganders who have dealt with up close and personal with the effects of a growing coyote population.

One such person is Shawn Allen, a predator hunter who lives along the Mecosta/Osceola county line and has made it his mission to hunt coyotes – often at the request of people who have lost animals. pet or livestock – throughout Michigan.

“A lot of times they catch me because the coyotes are attacking service animals or farm animals,” Allen said.

Allen said that over the past 15 to 20 years, the coyote population in the area has skyrocketed.

“You could take any side road and you’d see pheasants in a ditch. Now you’re lucky to see one a year,” Allen said.

The huge increase in coyotes was noticed by Allen, who has hunted for 26 years, but it has also been noticed by owners of animals of all kinds in the area.

Allen described coyotes as intelligent, cautious, and opportunistic. He said he thinks they are beautiful creatures, but if left unchecked, other small game such as birds, rabbits and cats have no defenses as few animals feed on them. coyotes in the area, such as wolves, cougars and bears.

Although he respects and appreciates coyotes for the beautiful animals that they are, Allen knows the pain and loss they can cause to other pet owners in the area, especially those with service animals. .

An individual, who is blind, saw his guide dog killed by a coyote, so they enlisted the services of Allen to seek punitive justice and to prevent the same fate from befalling their next guide dog.

Allen also helped a cattle rancher who lost three calves to coyotes.

“You know it affected him. He fed the mama cow for nine months. He has nothing to show for it,” Allen said.

Out of respect, he does his best to use every part of the animals he hunts, including the skins, which he sells during the winter, skulls, claws, teeth, jaws and tails.

“There’s not much you can do. So you try to do it as humanely as possible and responsibly enough. That way if people don’t like the idea, they see we’re using the animal, not just by slaughtering them and throwing them in the ditch, Allen said.

Allen knows it’s the circle of life when people’s animals are killed by coyotes, and it’s something people just have to accept. He is also aware of the high population of coyotes in the area and said he would not “dent” the overall population, despite this throughout Michigan.

“People don’t like them because they kill. They do what they do. You can’t hate them for it. But they wreak havoc,” Allen said.

“It’s the lesser evil,” Allen said of the coyote hunt. He said that every coyote killed saves nine fawns.

Allen noted that despite modern technology like thermal scanners and oscilloscopes, the coyotes repeatedly “ridiculed” him, “smashing” him from dozens of feet away and revealing his location to the rest of the pack.

“They have over 70 vocalizations,” Allen said. “You can almost hear a conversation with them,” he said.

Allen said there were thousands of people hunting coyotes across the state, but he was one of the few locally. He also leads a sponsor hunting team called Frostbite which competes in hunting tournaments nationwide.

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