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The Status and Impact of Eastern Coyotes in Northern New York

Executive Summary, June 1991

In 1990, the Legislature passed a bill that would have allowed year-round hunting of coyotes in New York's Northern Zone, as opposed to the current system of open and closed hunting seasons established annually by Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) regulation. The bill generated such controversy that it was withdrawn pending a study by DEC. The objectives of the study were to: (1) assess the role of the coyote in northern New York in relation to people, wildlife and livestock; (2) provide adequate opportunity for citizens to express their opinions concerning coyotes; and (3) prepare a status report with coyote information and management recommendations. The study consisted of: (1) a review and analysis of available scientific literature; (2) consultations with leading coyote researchers and wildlife damage management specialists; (3) a survey of DEC field staff and County Cooperative Extension agents in northern New York; and (4) the solicitation and analysis of both written and verbal public opinion. As a result, given that a strong social demand or biological need could not be demonstrated, the DEC recommends against a year round coyote hunting season for the following reasons:

  • The majority of people who provided input do not support a year-round coyote hunting season.
  • Human concerns and complaints about coyotes are not a major public issue, and are influenced by one's background, perspective, personal interests, and geographic location.
  • Coyote problems appear to be localized rather than spread throughout the Northern Zone.
  • Existing law allows landowners to take specific coyotes injuring private property.
  • Deer harvest data indicate, on the whole, Northern Zone deer numbers have been growing in the presence of well-established coyote populations.
  • The random removal of coyotes resulting from a year-round hunting season will not: (a) control or reduce coyote populations; (b) reduce or eliminate predation on livestock; or (c) result in an increase in deer densities.
  • Few people would take advantage of this additional hunting opportunity.
  • Potentially valuable fur would be wasted since late spring, summer, and early fall coyote pelts have little monetary value.

The DEC will continue with its current coyote regulatory, extension, and monitoring programs. In view of the strong demand for additional information about coyote ecology, management, recreation, and damage prevention techniques, the DEC, within the constraints of current staffing and funding, will strive to:

  • Develop educational and natural resource information programs, in cooperation with other agencies and organizations, including the preparation of extension materials for people with coyote complaints.'
  • Increase extension efforts and on-site investigations of coyote damage complaints.
  • Expand and promote recreational opportunities for hunters and trappers.
Table of Contents
Content Page
List of Tables i
List of Figures ii
Acknowledgements iii
Introduction 1
Purpose of this Report 1
Scope of this Report 1
Geographic Area of Concern 2
Natural History of the Eastern Coyote 3
Identity and Description 3
Reproduction 3
Social Organization 3
Territory 3
Dispersal - Long Distance Movement 4
Mortality and Diseases 4
Food Habits 4
History of Presence in New York 4
Management of the Eastern Coyote in New York 6
Past Management 6
Present Management 6
Coyote Trapping and Hunting Seasons in Northern New York 6
Coyote Harvests in Northern New York 7
Control of Coyote Damage 13
Controlling Damage to Livestock 13
Coyote Control Efforts in New York 15
Deer Populations and Food Supply 17
Northern Zone Deer Populations and Habitat Conditions 17
Coyote/Deer Interrelationships 21
Northern New York 21
Examples from the Scientific Literature 22
Survey of Known Predation Incidents 23
Methods 23
Results and Discussion 23
Conclusions 26
Public Input 27
Procedures for Obtaining Public Opinion 27
Agricultural Perspectives 28
Social Perspectives 28
Health and Safety Concerns 30
Sportsmen Perspectives 30
Regulatory/Enforcement Issues 33
Policy, Educational, or Research Issues 33
Environmental/Ecological Issues 33
Summary of Public Opinion 37
Summary and Recommendations 41
Background 41
Findings and Conclusions 41
Recommendations 42
Bibliography 45
Appendix A - Description of the four major land areas in northern New York 48
Appendix B - Major land areas of northern New York 50
Appendix C - Towns and Counties included in the four major land areas of northern New York 51
Appendix D - Coyote Complaint & Predation Survey 52
Appendix E - Update: Public Participation in Wildlife Management 53
Appendix F - News release announcing public coyote meetings 54
Appendix G - Comment Form: The Coyote in Northern New York 55
Appendix H - The Coyote in Northern New York - A Fact Sheet 56

A PDF (4.2 mB) version of the full report may be downloaded by following the link in the right hand column of this page.