By Glen Wunderlich
United States -(AmmoLand.com)- When a Shelby Township, MI woman let her Pomeranian mix dog outside before retiring for the night, it would be the last time she would see her family pet alive.
In another incident in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, a miniature Schnauser spent his last minutes on a leash in front of his home. And, in the sanctuary of a fenced-in backyard in Hacienda Heights, California, a Papillion mix family pet met its fate.
The common denominator? Coyote attacks.
As coyote numbers have increased, so have deadly encounters in urban settings. Because of the secretive nature of coyotes, many folks are oblivious to their existence until we hear of such horrific acts of terror.
In an ongoing study of predators in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula by Mississippi State University, 142 fawns were radio-collared and coyotes were found to be responsible for 26 of 53 deaths – as many as bobcats, wolves, bears, and bald eagles combined.
Coyotes are found throughout Michigan in both rural and urban areas. With an increase in complaints from the public regarding coyotes, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) believes that an expansion of the opportunities to take coyotes may help reduce these concerns.
The MDNR has recommended several coyote hunting regulation changes to the Natural Resources Commission, including year-round hunting opportunities and implementation of a Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) and Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association resolution to allow the use of #3 and #4 buckshot at night for coyotes.
The DNR held discussions with internal staff and many external stakeholders to develop recommendations to amend our state's Wildlife Conservation Order.
The amendment would include expanding the coyote season statewide, year round, along with clarifying nighttime hunting of furbearers, and to expand the time frame in which nighttime hunting with artificial lights may occur.
The Department is also giving a recommendation to expand allowable ammunition for taking all furbearers which may be hunted at night to include both 3 and number 4 buckshot.
Michigan’s current coyote regulations include daytime coyote hunting from July 15th to April 15th which is a liberal season with a few minor restrictions on the methods of take, devices, and ammunition. The current season for nighttime coyote hunting is from October 15th to March 31st. However, the nighttime coyote hunting season is a restricted season with limited methods of take, devices and ammunition. Individuals must possess a fur-harvester or resident base license. Throughout the entire year, individuals may take a coyote on private property if the coyote is causing or about to cause damage.
Several other proposed resolutions by MUCC that would not become MUCC policy unless adopted at its Annual Convention are as follows:
- Coyote Bounty (Straits Area Sportsmens Club) | Reverse MUCC's opposition to bounties and institute a coyote bounty.
- Nighttime Predator Hunting with Centerfire Firearms (Chris Kettler, Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association) | Remove restriction on using centerfire firearms for nighttime predator hunting.
Any type of coyote control is difficult but removing some of the encumbrances to willing sportsmen may be the best option available to wildlife managers.
It's past time that we quit protecting the varmints that are helping to reduce our declining deer herd.
About Glen Wunderlich:
Charter Member Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA). Outdoor writer and columnist for The Argus-Press (www.argus-press.com) and blog site at www.thinkingafield.org Member National Rifle Association (NRA), Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC), member U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA), Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), Commemorative Bucks of Michigan (CBM).