Kyle Carroll's Outdoor Journal
Last week we talked about the first description of coyotes being written by Lewis and Clark and the fact that coyotes mate in February and early march.
Coyotes usually range from 18-30 pounds in size. According to the Missouri Department of Conservation's website, “Rabbits and mice and rats make up almost two-thirds of the coyote diet, with other animal foods and plants (such as persimmons) making up the rest. Coyotes eat carrion as well as prey they kill themselves. While 10 to 20 percent of the diet may represent a loss to humans (livestock and poultry), the rest is neutral or beneficial.”
When an individual coyote becomes a problem by killing livestock, the best option is to take that individual animal by trapping or snaring. Most landowners opt for the more economical cable restraint, sometimes referred to as a snare. (A snare has no stop on it and actually chokes the animal. Snares are not legal in Missouri.)
Coyote pelts, used for trimming coats and scarves, are durable and attractive and have been increasing in value, but the fur market for coyote pelts has not been worth much the last few years unless you are harvesting your coyotes in the western states, in which case some of those pelts are pretty valuable.
Most coyotes are taken in this part of the country for sport and to reduce the number of nest predators on ground nesting birds. Predator hunters use electronic calls after a spell of cold weather to call coyotes into range. Usually a smaller caliber lie a .223 is the caliber of choice when hunting coyotes so the option of selling the hide is preserved. We've had a pretty good cold siege so the coyotes should be hungry. If you've thought about calling coyotes as a challenging way to spend some time outdoors, now's the time to give it a try.