Indiana DNR Offers Ways to Deal With Coyotes

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It is not uncommon anymore for coyotes to be seen occasionally in urban and suburban areas of Indiana, but that doesn't necessarily mean there are more of them.

One reason for higher visibility of coyotes at this time of year is that February is their mating season. Consequently, coyotes may be more mobile and more apt to be out in the open during daylight hours.

Another factor is snow cover. The brown coat of a coyote in motion can be seen more easily against a white backdrop.

Coyotes are opportunistic feeders and are highly adaptive to their surroundings. Readily available food sources are attractive to them, and small woodlots, riparian corridors and open fields represent suitable habitat.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources does not track population numbers on coyotes, but an annual survey in which deer hunters log wildlife sightings provides some insight. In 1992, the first year of the survey, hunters reported seeing 10 coyotes statewide per thousand hours of hunting. By 1995, the index reached 20 sightings and remained steady between 24 and 28 ever since.

Documented human-coyote conflicts are extremely rare. To reduce the chances of a conflict, the DNR and the U.S. Department of Agriculture offer the following advice:

  • - Do not feed coyotes;
  • - Do not allow pets to run free. Provide secure nighttime housing for them;
  • - Feed pets indoors whenever possible. Pick up leftovers if feeding outdoors and store pet and livestock feed where it's inaccessible to wildlife;
  • - Eliminate water bowls and other artificial water sources whenever possible;
  • - Position bird feeders in a location that is less likely to attract small animals or bring the feeders indoors at night;
  • - Do not discard edible garbage where coyotes can get to it;
  • - Secure garbage containers;
  • - Trim and clean shrubbery at ground level to reduce hiding cover for coyotes or their prey;
  • - If you start seeing coyotes around your home, discourage them by shouting, making loud noises or throwing rocks, but NEVER corner a coyote - always give the coyote a free escape route

Coyotes are wild animals protected by Indiana law, which requires the DNR to provide for the protection, care, management, survival and regulation of wild animal populations. Under that authority, the DNR establishes the methods, means and time of taking, chasing and selling wild animals.

The DNR controls the population of coyotes primarily by a regulated hunting and trapping season, which runs from Oct. 15 through March 15. A hunting or trapping license is required, unless the individual is hunting or trapping on land he/she owns. In addition, Indiana law allows landowners, or a person with written permission of a landowner, to take coyotes year-round on private property.

More information about coping with coyotes or other wildlife can be viewed by clicking on the Dealing with Nuisance Wildlife icon at www.dnr.IN.gov or by going to www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/2351.htm.