Hunting and trapping coyotes causes a larger coyote population the following year. A survival instinct helps coyotes account for the loss of a pack member through increased breeding, larger litters and stronger pups.
The only factor that controls the population of coyotes is the amount of available prey. A coyote’s principle diet consists of rodents, birds, rabbits, insects and vegetation. Coyotes do not decimate the populations of their prey because they take only what they need and leave enough prey to ensure their own survival each year.
If coyotes add domestic animals to their food sources, it is a result of human actions. When a pack of coyotes is culled, individuals find it easier to catch domestic animals because they cannot take down deer without the help of a pack.
Sometimes the meat that is used to bait coyotes (or found in trash cans) comes from livestock, which triggers the coyote to develop a taste for animals that are not a natural part of their diet (sources: Project Coyote; Eastern Coyote Institute).
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife confirms the following information: No permit is required for general hunting of coyotes; hunters are not required to tag any coyotes they kill; it is not known how many coyotes currently inhabit Maine; it is not estimated how many deer coyotes actually kill.
Maine needs to make a concerted effort to conduct responsible and educated management of the coyote population or face the consequences of an irreversibly unbalanced natural ecosystem.
Heather Bolint, Damariscotta