The Coyote hunting season never ends in New Mexico, hunting these predators here doesn’t require a license either. As a matter of fact a number of western states maintain open season on Coyotes and for good reason, these predators cause livestock losses. Lose your livestock and you will not be in business as a farmer or rancher for very long. A banker’s cold heart makes anti hunting protesters seem quite tame when those land payments come due. Meanwhile in town – these days it is interesting that just about every call a municipal animal control agency receives is in relation to a pet attacked by a Coyote. The loss of a pet (family member-right?) is devastating enough but to see that pet lying in the back lawn torn apart . . .well it doesn’t get any worse then that! The common problem here is the Coyote! What to do?
The agricultural folks will protect their industry at gun point while the folks in town are restricted in their control processes. However, both are hounded by animal rights activists. Generally speaking – folks on one side want the predator gone while the folks on the other side want the predator left alone. So which side is right? Both actually! Coyote diets rely on available food sources but as has been proven they can survive on any combination of food sources. Outside of the city limits gophers and rabbits are reliable food sources meanwhile, the city offers up rats and mice. Unfortunately, live stock augments the Coyote’s food sources while dogs and cats often end up as a city delicacy. The Coyote always prefers the food source which is the easiest to gather, they are not hard workers.
Coyotes have always been here but in the past they were the hunted. Wolves were the alpha canines and along with the other top predators such as the cougar and bear, Coyote populations were under constant pressure. Wolves hunt in packs where as the Coyote hunted alone unless raising their pups. Cougars are a lot faster in short runs then is the Coyote and the big cats far more agile hence the Coyote was badly out classed physically. What can you say about bears, their size is formidable! How can a 35 to 45 pound Coyote contend with a 200 pound plus black bear? There were no advocates for the Coyote back in those days. Times have changed for the good as far as the Coyote is concerned. At least in town there are no guns and not many traps. Plus, food and shelter are easy to find for the Coyote. Let us see – if you were a Coyote were would you want to live?
The Coyote has been evolving – on this every one can agree! Coyote populations are being shot on ranches and farms while the only problem a Coyote runs into in town might be a trap. Which population is going to continue to increase? That is right – the city bred Coyote! Those Coyotes living outside the city limits learn that their city cousins have a better life and soon decide that city life is a vast improvement over living on a farm or ranch. More so, when some one decides it is time for a “Coyote Hunting Contest.” The contest does not segregate males or females, they are both fair game! On the positive side a well run hunting contest depletes a specific population and provides revenue not commonly in place. There are a number of positive things that happen during these events, more on that in another posting. Perhaps the one big negative is the disposal of the carcasses. Coyote meat is not a well accepted form of protein! In a lot of cases and is done with other harvested waste and miscellaneous parts – scavengers are relied on to clean up. Other instances of unwanted hunting by-products are put into biologically safe trenches / holes. At least the latter does remove all indications of a hunting contest.
A stated in previous postings this author is a hunter and I see no problem with hunting contests. Varmints make for good target practice but burying materials not taken for consumption is a good practice. Where do you stand?
Stay tuned – there is more to come on the Coyote Cam.