- A Guide to Coyote Management
Coyote can be detrimental to any number of natural resources, including livestock, watermelons, pets, and the economy. He is known to tiptoe about places he shouldn't, like airport runways and Wal-Mart parking lots.
Occasionally Coyote takes larger prey, small ungulates such as fawns, lambs, calves, and foals. The concern of this document, however, is primarily with domesticates; Bambi—another of the First People—is on his own.
Let's keep in mind that Coyote warrants management in part because he feeds on calves by eating into the anus or enteric region. The coprophagic son-of-a-bitch absolutely loves it. He can't wait to do it again. "Up yours!" says Coyote—his mantra.
If you find a dead lamb, calf, or foal and suspect Coyote, first examine the neck and throat for subcutaneous hemorrhaging. Typically, bites to a dead animal do not cause hemorrhaging, although this diagnostic is unreliable if the carcass is old or widely scattered.
Among animal tracks, Coyote's are smaller than wolf, smaller than large [End Page 98] dog, larger than fox, smaller than yours. His footprint tends to be more ovular and compact than dog or human; his step is light and regular, and always just ahead or just behind. Quiet, he is near—in this exclamation!
By law you are allowed to kill Coyote year-round, if you have a hunting license. But as a gentle reminder, night-shooting Coyote with a spotlight is illegal in most states. Wait for a full moon, when he'll come creeping along like the mailman, drunk on cheap beer, pissing morning glory, looking to sleep with your daughter and your dog.
Before we go any further, remember: the focus of managing Coyote should be damage prevention and control. Termination of Coyote and his legacy is not the goal. Coyote was here!
To start, a good fence goes a long way against Coyote. Until he decides to go around it. Watch him tightrope the barbed wire along the highway just for show. He keeps a step ladder in his back pocket, a shovel up his coat, and the sun on his raggedy shoulders. He squats on top of fence posts, marking his miles.
His digging may be discouraged with a length of barbed wire along the ground. Climbing may be deterred with an electric overhang. With enough barb and current, anything may be deterred, even Coyote. He will be kept busy scavenging the souls of other animals, such as the migrating antelope strung up across the range.
During a one-year study involving one hundred Kansas sheep farmers, seventy-nine sheep were taken by Coyote while in their corrals. He laughed all the way to the bank and thought about number eighty. Why'd he stop? Coyote despises round numbers. He hunts them in his sleep.
Yet only four of those kills occurred in lighted pens. Circling or blinking lights further increase the chances of frightening Coyote away. Alternately, use blue or red lights, because Coyote seems less afraid of those particular tints. Take aim as he steps into the color and begins to dance with his [End Page 99] shadow, whispering to himself. Stay steady. Look through the sights to his stare.
Here's an idea: keep the radio playing all night. Coyote can't stand talk radio, AM especially.
But beware, he digs most music. He keeps a half-torn, life-size poster of Lil Wayne on the wall of his den. Gangsta one day, he can be pretty darn country the next. And rock-and-roll? Of course: Coyote's always ready to kick up some dust, to howl at some moon.
Park your pickup near the corral. Park it in a new place each sundown. Coyote will wonder: what is up with that restless Chevy? If that doesn't do the trick, then spend a night in the cab. What could be better than blowing Coyote away from a blind with headlights? What could be more comfortable?
Careful, though—fall asleep, and you might wake up to Coyote's bare ass spread wide across your dusty windshield, giving birth to the bobble-head...