How they got
here, hunting regulations
In the past
40 years, the coyote (Canis latrans) has become established east of
the Mississippi River.
coyotes are living and reproducing in rural woods and farm fields, as well
as suitable cover (brushy areas, woodlots and parks) on the suburban
outskirts of major cities.
in appearance, coyotes have pointed noses, pointed ears that always stand
erect, and fluffy tails, typically held low. Males can weigh up to 50
pounds, but most coyotes are smaller. In the eastern US, coyotes are
typically darker in color, with tan, brown and black fur.
spread their range eastward from the Plains and Mountain West, filling the
ecological niche of the gray wolf and red wolf, native species that no
longer exist here. Researchers believe the migration of coyotes into the
southeastern US began in the 1950s, with coyotes moving into Kentucky, from
states to the north and southwest, in the 1970s.
very adaptable. They are now found in all 120 Kentucky counties,” said Laura
Patton, Furbearer Biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife
Resources. “I suspect there are higher concentrations in agricultural
unusual to hear coyotes howling at night, especially during the fall, when
family groups break up, and in the late winter, when coyotes pair up and
prey on deer fawns in the spring, and livestock farmers can suffer losses
when a problem coyote gets a taste for lamb or newborn calves. Livestock
depredation is highest in the spring when coyotes need extra food for their
young. Sometimes depredation problems also occur in the fall, when juvenile
coyotes disperse, and are on their own, looking for food.
coyotes are in such abundance, interest in hunting them is growing.
wary and often difficult to hunt because of their keen sense of sight, smell
and hearing. While they don’t hunt in packs like wolves, it is not uncommon
to see family groups of coyotes together, especially in the late summer or
There is no
daily bag limit, and coyotes may be taken year-round by licensed hunters, or
trapped by licensed trappers during the winter furbearer season. Landowners
with livestock depredation problems can get permission from their local
conservation officer to trap coyotes whenever they are a problem.
coyotes is legal during daylight hours only, and both mouth calls and
electronic calls that imitate wounded prey, or coyote challenge howls, are
legal. It is also legal to hunt over animal carcasses.
hunting methods and equipment includes: archery gear (long bows, recurve
bows, compound bows and crossbows), shotguns and rifles.
from heavy cover where shots are usually at close range, hunters often
Estes, assistant director of the department’s Law Enforcement Division,
cautions hunters that shotguns used to hunt coyotes “must not be larger than
10 gauge, and must hold no more than three shotshells (typically one in the
chamber and two in the magazine, in pump or autoloading shotguns).” Lead or non-toxic shot of all sizes, including buckshot, and shotguns
slugs, are legal for coyote hunting.
also specific rules for the use of rifles. Full-automatic rifles are
prohibited, but coyotes may be hunted without any caliber restrictions with
rimfire or centerfire cartridges, and there’s no limit to a rifle’s magazine
also non-lethal deterrents to coyotes. “Farmers can reduce coyote activity
within pastures by putting fencing on gates and reinforcing existing
fencing, to close holes,” said Patton.
years, coyotes have made suburban areas their home, and are often observed
in back yards, or prowling neighborhood streets during the night. To
discourage coyotes from hanging around, keep pets and pet food inside during
the night, and put trash secured in garbage cans.
For a fee,
licensed nuisance wildlife operators will help landowners with problem
coyotes. Here’s the link to the data base search:
residents should take note that coyotes will kill and eat domestic cats, but
Patton said attacks on small dogs are often related to territorial issues,
omnivorous, feeding on both plants and animals, and are very opportunistic.
“Coyotes eat everything from grasshoppers to garden vegetables,” said
winter, the bulk of their diet is mice, voles and rabbits, but they will
also eat carrion (dead animals), especially fresh road kills. In warmer
months, grasses, fruits and insects are also consumed.
There is no
bounty on coyotes in Kentucky and the Kentucky Department of Fish and
Wildlife Resources does not employ paid trappers or hunters.