An estimated 400,000 Coyotes are killed a year

I was going to do a post on how Coyotes look through out the year, in their sleek summer coats, fluffy winter coats and show how they look when they are shedding and starting to grow their winter coats. But I got ticked off. I’m going to use the images I had edited for the post I had planned for this one.

I saw “coyote hunting utah” come up as a search term on my blog two days ago which probably led the searcher to my post Farmington Utah’s Voles – Just My Opinion, an article I wrote about a vole irruption here in Utah and how people wanted to use outdoor cats and poisons to control them and how I feel that we are destroying the natural balance by not allowing natural predators such as the Coyote to control pests instead of using poisons. How the Governor of Utah recently approved raising the bounty on Coyotes from $20.00 to $50.00 per pair of ears to “protect” the Mule Deer population and “tourism”. It is a long post, too much to explain right now.

Coyote starting to get its winter coatCoyote starting to get its winter coat – Notice the longer “ruff” of fur on the upper back and neck

After seeing those search terms I did a Google image search myself using “Coyote hunting Utah” and sure enough in the fourth row I see one of my Coyote images. My photo showed up because I mentioned in the post that the Coyote was “hunting” prey.

Then I changed the key words to just “coyote hunting” and as I scrolled through the images I felt a horrible revulsion caused by the images that showed up.

One photo shows 66 dead Coyotes hung from the window frames of a school bus, great lesson for kids, huh? Images of rows of Coyotes with the guns in the frame that killed them. Guys and women in camo standing or kneeling next to more dead Coyotes. Dead Coyotes strung over barbed wire fences, the likes of which I have seen myself here in Utah. Photos of live Coyotes being torn apart by dogs and a quote from article article that made my blood boil:

They hunt coyotes from the weekend after deer season to “when the grass turns green,” Stanifer said.

“We stop then to let them raise their young,” he said.

It is my opinion that they only stop to let them raise their young so they have more Coyotes to slaughter in the fall.

Then a really gruesome image of hundreds of Coyote pelts covering at least two sides of a two-story barn or granary and part of the roof here with the caption below it saying “Kinda scary”.  Kinda? That is an understatement. And that caption is on a hunting web site.

Coyote in its winter coatCoyote in its winter coat

I was sickened by those images that I saw when I did that Google search. Then yesterday I saw a link on Facebook to a blog post about Wildlife Abuse at the Hands of a Federal Agent – UPDATED where a (self-professed) federal Wildlife Services agent stands by and watches his dogs rip a live Coyote to shreds then kneels by the carcass for a photograph.

This is insanity.

I did a search on Google for “How many Coyotes are killed a year” and found an archived article on Audubon Magazine (which I consider a reliable source)  by Mike Finkle titled “The Ultimate Survivor” where he mentions that over 400,000 Coyotes are killed a year by hunters, coyote killing contests, Wildlife Services actions, state, local and private agencies.

Some studies have shown that this type of “control” is ineffective and that even though Coyotes have been relentlessly persecuted they have proven to be extremely resilient and that when the Coyote population is reduced those that do survive have more food and more pups reach adulthood. The article is old, those numbers are probably higher now.

Coyote starting to lose its winter coatCoyote starting to lose its winter coat – Note the sleek, smooth fur on the face

After reading the blog post above I did a search on Facebook for “Coyote Hunters” and the list for  Coyote Hunters grew and grew until I just closed out of Facebook, it was that disgusting. I’m not sure I want to do anymore Google searches on “Coyote hunting”.

Coyote in its summer coatCoyote in its summer coat

For anyone interested in Coyote hunting reading this post you won’t find any help as to where, when or how to do that on this blog, when I write about Coyote hunting is it about a Coyote HUNTING for its food. Got it?

For 100 years Coyotes have been hunted to “control” their population and during that 100 years Coyotes have expanded their range and their population numbers have increased. I’ve read that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.

Isn’t it time the insanity about Coyotes stopped?



  1. Jim November 7, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Another situation that makes absolutely no sense at all, just like trying to kill off the blackbirds. I wonder why no ones looks back in history to see how much damage and impact livestock has created to land over the years. This insane thinking was shown recently in a NG magazine article about reintroducing wolves into Yellowstone NP. A picture in this article showed hunters holding up signs saying ‘Save our elk’ (so they could hunt them) as the wolves were being trucked into the park. As it turns out the wolves brought back a natural balance.

    • Mia McPherson November 8, 2012 at 5:07 am

      Jim, what hunters don’t talk about is that when the wolves were all exterminated in thE Greater Yellowstone area is that the Elk population expanded so much that they began destroying the habitat by over grazing which not only caused issues with the habitat, it also affected other species. During that time there were mass slaughters of Elk to keep their population “under control”. It would have been so much easier and less costly to leave the wolves to balance nature. After the reintroduction of wolves natural balance began to happen and now there is open season on Wolves in Wyoming to screw it all up again. The administration dropped the ball on allowing the once endangered wolves to be hunted.

  2. Scott (@NESASK) November 5, 2012 at 11:41 am

    I love to see your amazing coyote photographs, Mia, and to see coyotes in the wild. I respect hunters that hunt animals for food and and treat the natural world with respect. I don’t understand the pleasure that some hunters get out of killing animals solely for ‘sport’.

    In 2009 we had a $20 coyote bounty for five months that resulted in more than 70,000 coyotes being killed here in Saskatchewan. Biologists have shown that coyotes compensate for mass culls of their populations with an increase in birth rate, which results in a perverse cycle of population rebounds, then more mass culls. I would like to see politicians break that cycle by instituting a program for farmers/ranchers that compensates them for losses through coyote predation, and targeting only problem coyotes (trying to kill every coyote around doesn’t solve the problem). Coyotes might then achieve a natural population density without the cycle of culls and rebounds. We can’t live without nature, so we better learn to live with it.

    The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has produced a good guide: “Living with Wildlife: Coyotes”

    • Mia McPherson November 8, 2012 at 4:48 am


      I also respect hunters who hunt for food and use fair chase methods, those that hunt on game farms I do not consider to be hunters at all. I also do not understand getting pleasure from hunting non game animals just to kill something, that type of behavior seems rather sociopathic.

      There is a program here that compensates ranchers for losses due to predation but that hasn’t stopped the senseless killing of wolves or coyotes. We keep on messing with the balance of nature and it keeps on backfiring.

      Thanks for the link to “Living with Wildlife: Coyotes”.

  3. M. Firpi November 4, 2012 at 7:37 am

    I believe many animals have been “stigmatised” in our society, and one of them is the coyote. Other ones are wolves, snakes, sharks, crows, and the list goes on. They are killed by ignorance and fear, superstition and false “stereotypes” created by lack of education and sensationalistic journalism that spreads through society like a virus. Worst than all, when commercial gain sets in, more people start killing these animals, such as “bounties”. What about the shark fins? It has been scientifically proven than shark’s cartilage has absolutely no medical value so sharks haven been killed near to extinction levels. The fear created by the movie “Jaws” drew a mass of all kinds of people, including humble fishermen, to go out to kill Great Whites and other kinds of sharks at random. People must be educated about the importance of top predators, and this starts in school with young children.

    • Mia McPherson November 4, 2012 at 4:04 pm

      Maria, I think that some people are sadistic and killing predators gives them a rush. I think some might have a very unnatural fear of Coyotes. Personally I’m more afraid of being around a crazy hunter than I am about being close to a Coyote.

      We are doing so much damage to predators both on the land and the water. We are risking extinction of some species, and some of these “control” methods are simply inhumane. Terrible.

      It is dreadful.

  4. Larry Jordan November 4, 2012 at 6:32 am

    Beautiful photographs of one of the most successful predators that exists in North America.

    The way our government “manages” wildlife simply disgusts me. The US Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services program kills approximately 90,000 coyotes annually! Most of these killings are carried out in the name of “livestock protection” at taxpayers’ expense. Despite scientific evidence suggesting this approach is misguided and ultimately ineffective, the emphasis on lethal coyote control persists. It’s ridiculous and we are paying for it!

    Our government has allowed the wolf to be nearly exterminated in the United States, but that’s another story which persists due mostly to ranchers, some of which graze their destructive cattle on our public lands. I recently wrote a post on this travesty involving the Wedge Pack Wolves in Washington. You can read a wonderful, informative article on the Coyote, protecting America’s song dog at Project Coyote.

    Thanks Mia for bringing this beautifully illustrated post to your readers.

    • Mia McPherson November 4, 2012 at 3:53 pm

      Larry, thank you so much for providing my viewers with more information about this problem. The government isn’t handling Coyote management wisely at all, there is no scientific evidence that what has happened helps, in fact studies have shown that Coyote populations are actually growing and that Coyotes are expanding their range in North America, most likely because of how they are “managed”. The hunting of wolves is also related. We are screwing up the natural balance. I had one guy tell me the reintroduced wolves were “invasive”, I wanted to tell him that HE was the invader.

      Thank you again for your thoughtful comments, helpful links and information. Maybe we can all make a difference.

  5. Dan Huber November 3, 2012 at 7:29 am

    sad to hear Mia, but not surprising. I am all for letting nature balance itself. Anyone who enjoys and glorifies killing is sick in my mind.

    • Mia McPherson November 4, 2012 at 3:47 pm

      I agree with you Dan, thanks for your comment.

  6. Az Stu November 2, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Update: I had one in my back yard today,., first time ever.. he somehow got over a 6ft high wall.. my cats managed to escape indoors.. I blame Mia’s post 😉

    • Mia McPherson November 4, 2012 at 3:47 pm

      😉 Can’t believe the Coyote got over a 6 foot fence! Glad the cats managed to get away from it.

  7. Prairie Birder November 2, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Coyote hunting is just wrong, especially when hunters’ take so much joy in killing them and hanging them on a fence (thankfully, I’ve never see it in person). Coyotes are very important to the ecosystem to keep the number of rodents in check. 400,000 Coyotes is such a mind blowing number, that I can’t believe there are any Coyotes left!

    • Mia McPherson November 4, 2012 at 3:45 pm

      Charlotte, I think something is wrong with the Coyote hunters who do take so much joy in killing them. They are important predators and they do help maintain a natural balance when we don’t mess it up and we have. 400,000 is a mind blowing number and it is probably larger than that today.

  8. Azstu November 2, 2012 at 10:20 am and start a petition is my suggestion.

  9. Nicole November 2, 2012 at 9:53 am

    This is horrendous and awful. What do we DO about it??? I inherited a huge cupboard FULL of Ranger Ricks in 1983, and even then, the magazine was describing how coyotes are killed – cyanide and traps, etc. And yet they are survivors. What the hell is wrong with us people, to make us think that we are allowed to be the only top predator in the ecosystem!

    ARGH ARGH and double ARGH. Are there petitions? Is it possible to go into schools and educate the kids about the coyotes and how they are a vital part to the natural balance?

    I haven’t opened the links, they are just too horrible to even THINK about. BAH HUMBUG. Harumph. Grrrrrrrrrrr.

    • Mia McPherson November 4, 2012 at 3:43 pm

      I wish I knew what is wrong with some people, to get kicks out of blowing away another living being seems so wrong to me. There are petitions Nicole, Larry has mentioned some and I found another one today at

      I hope that something can be done to change the government, laws and people’s minds about Coyotes.

  10. Tami Vogel November 2, 2012 at 9:34 am

    A beautifully written, and illustrated, post, Mia. I don’t mind hunting if it’s for food, done responsibly, etc. Events such as you’ve mentioned just sicken me and I fear are becoming more the norm in our adrenaline-amped world. Minnesota is opening wolf hunting this year, including barbaric trapping, and I’m absolutely heartsick about it. Thank you for showing coyotes in their glory, maybe it’ll remind people what amazing animals they are.

    • Mia McPherson November 4, 2012 at 3:39 pm

      Tami, I’m afraid too that this might become the “norm”, and what does this all say to the children who grow up thinking it is okay to blow away another living being that isn’t food? The wolf hunts are equally disturbing to me. We need to allow natural predators to do what they do so there is a more natural balance than there is today.

  11. Bob Bushell November 2, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Bad, bad, bad, I feel let down by the “hunters”. The word hunters, always bring non-education to my thoughts. They are monsters, real monsters.
    Brilliant pictures.

    • Mia McPherson November 4, 2012 at 3:36 pm

      Bob, true hunters hunt for food and use fairchase methods, I can’t think of Coyote hunters in the same vein. They shoot them, trap them, use dogs to trip them up and use poisions and explosives to kill them. It is very disturbing that Coyotes are killed at all let alone using those methods.

  12. Carol Mattingly November 2, 2012 at 7:22 am

    I’m afraid Mia to google some things myself for fear of what I will find. Your post is jubilant and I commend you in an effort to try to change the minds of people who don’t truly appreciate our natural world. Carol

    • Mia McPherson November 4, 2012 at 3:33 pm

      Thank you Carol, the images are rather disturbing so it might have been wise not to look at them. Coyotes are wonderful animals and it is distressing to know how many get killed annually.

  13. Robert Mortensen November 2, 2012 at 6:49 am

    As I read this interesting post, as soon as I saw mention of the bounty, I knew immediately why the population of coyotes continues to grow. I recently listened to a Freakonomics podcast on this very topic, but related to other species. Definitely worth a listen:

  14. Susan November 2, 2012 at 5:45 am

    How very depressing, I didn’t need to click on the links you provided, your descriptions are enough for me to visualize. I have seen similar photos of wolves being slaughtered in such a manner, but not in quite those numbers. I don’t understand such cruelty, never have and I agree that it is an insanity that has to stop.

  15. Tammy Karr November 2, 2012 at 5:00 am

    So sad to hear that such a tremendous number of these animals are killed each year. It is disturbing.

  16. Julie Brown November 2, 2012 at 4:22 am

    Wow, Mia, this is really unsettling. I did not click the links you provided because imagining the scenes is bad enough. The cruelty of humans is just staggering at times. I just don’t get the mentality of people who get a thrill from killing. The issues in the west are different than in the east. Coyotes have been in the news lately here because of multiple sightings in our suburban neighborhoods and fear that they may harm our pets. I have small dogs myself, but I certainly do not agree with killing them.

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