K-State offers tips to mitigate coyote populations


If it seems like there are a lot more coyotes mingling in human spaces these days, it’s because… well, there are.

“When we look at trends in abundance, the coyote population has tripled since the collapse of the fur market in the late 1980s,” says Drew Ricketts, wildlife management specialist at Kansas State University State. Research and Extension.

Depending on the time of year, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks estimates that between 150,000 and 300,000 coyotes live in Kansas alone. Coyotes are found in all US states except Hawaii.

They are also seen more and more in the most populated areas. Ricketts notes that animal cameras have observed coyotes in cities like Chicago, Portland and Denver. Chicago researchers found that the coyotes had even learned to use traffic lights: “They would wait for the lights to turn green before crossing the street,” says Ricketts. “They learned to navigate an urban landscape.

Adaptable omnivores

“One of the things that has made coyotes so successful is that they are so adaptable,” says Ricketts. “We generally think of coyotes as predators, when in reality they are omnivores. [an animal that eats plant and animal food.] They eat a lot of insects, fruits and vegetables; they also eat a lot of animal material, but they are also good at capitalizing on human by-products, like waste. So in the cities they can make a living.

Coyotes have long been viewed by breeders as a threat to small livestock, especially goats, sheep, and newborn calves. Ricketts says that of the dozens of calls he receives each year from farmers and ranchers about wildlife trespassing, almost half of them are about coyotes – though coyotes aren’t always to blame for suspicious livestock deaths.

Eradication efforts

It’s legal to hunt coyotes in Kansas, but, says Ricketts, “population control is not effective. We’ve been trying to eradicate coyotes for a few hundred years, and we still haven’t.

Most landowners – in both rural and urban settings – resolve to trap animals once they become a problem in their area. K-State Research and Extension’s publication, “How to Trap a Coyote” (originally published in 1975), is still one of the organization’s most popular downloads each year.

Ricketts says K-State Research and Extension has also released a series of videos on setting traps and choosing a location. The five-video series is available online at bit.ly/ksutrapvideos.

“Trapping is more likely to take care of these problem animals,” says Ricketts. “Traps work 24 hours a day. They are a bit more effective at controlling problem animals than hunting. “

According to Ricketts, snares and foot traps are the most common ways to catch a coyote preying on livestock on the farm. While snares are effective, they are also more dangerous for sheep, goats, and guard dogs.

Foot traps, he says, rarely do much damage or cause injury, but their placement is critical to success. Ricketts says walk traps should be placed in areas where there are coyote tracks or droppings, near pond or trail dams, or in a specific area where the problem is occurring.

More information on wildlife management is available online from K-State Research and Extension, or with a visit to your local extension office.

Source: Kansas State Research and Extension is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all of its subsidiaries are not responsible for the content of this information asset.

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