Coyote depredation control: an interface between biology and management

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Journal of Range Management





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Predation by coyotes (Canis latrans) on livestock continues to plague producers in the United States. Agricultural interests are concerned about coyote predation because sheep inventories in the U.S.have declined >85% in the past 60 years, with a 25% decline between 1991 and 1996. This decline in sheep numbers has been attributed to low economic returns among producers, with coyote predation cited as a major causative factor. Generalizations about the magnitude and nature of depredations can be misleading because of the varied nature of sheep operations, including size of operations, differences in management, and environmental circumstances surrounding individual operations. Coyote depredation rates appear to be influenced by sheep management practices, coyote biology and behavior, environmental factors, and depredation management programs. Most nonlethal depredation control techniques fall within the operational purview of the producers. The major controversy regarding depredation management focuses on programs that remove coyotes to prevent or curtail predation on domestic stock, especially on public lands. Differences in the magnitude, nature, and history of problems caused by coyotes, as well as the circumstances in which they occur, dictates a need for a variety of techniques and programs to resolve problems...