Does hunting reduce coyote populations?

Do organized coyote-hunting events really help control the predator population? Most hunters agree that killing coyotes can help on a local, if not a landscape, level.

It’s not as simple as it seems

Do coyote hunters help decrease the population of the animal? It’s a tough question. People with an interest in the subject offer differences of opinion on the overall effect of hunting efforts. This is true even for big, organized hunts, on coyote populations.

Many hunters believe taking out coyotes helps wild-game populations by removing a top-end predator from the landscape. However, no eradication attempt has been 100-percent effective. Coyotes are not native to the Carolinas. But the predators have spread across every corner of both states. It’s a problem with no end in sight. Coyote hunting regulations in both states are very liberal. Wildlife agencies in the Carolinas even allow hunters to shoot them at night in some situations.

The non-profit organization Project Coyote said hunting ignores the coyotes’ role in the ecosystem. The theory is that hunting actually stimulates females to give birth to more pups.

“In a sense, (coyote-hunting events) are counter productive,” said Marilyn McGee. She wrote a published report on the subject during the 2016 Carolina Coyote Classic 3.

Biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission agree that coyotes can’t be eradicated. But they say “spot controls” of the predators give local native wildlife species some relief.

Hunters see no other option than to hunt them

“Coyotes affect a lot of other kinds of game,” said John Paul MacPherson of Charlotte-based 704 Outdoors. “They have no natural predators except humans.”

Many hunters in the Classic, especially those from South Carolina, said coyotes have definitely hurt their deer numbers. Studies conducted the South Carolina Dept. of Natural Resources back up those claims.

And it’s not just wild game populations. Coyotes have taken a toll on domestic animals too. They don’t discriminate between wild animals, farm animals, or even pets.

Max Derugen of Stanly County lost his favorite family pet, which was left outside one night. Coyotes mauled and killed it. Derugen helped start the Carolina Coyote Classic. He said he’s not the only one to lose a pet to coyotes.

“So many people have lost a member of the four-legged family,” he was quoted in a local newspaper. “You wouldn’t believe all the stories I’ve heard. I’ve had a lot of support.”

The 7th Annual Carolina Coyote Classic is scheduled for Feb. 21 through 23. In this event, teams of hunters will aim to kill more coyotes than any other teams. Hunters from all across North and South Carolina will participate in the event.

Craig Holt
About Craig Holt 1309 Articles
Craig Holt of Snow Camp has been an outdoor writer for almost 40 years, working for several newspapers, then serving as managing editor for North Carolina Sportsman and South Carolina Sportsman before becoming a full-time free-lancer in 2009.

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