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Coyote Depredation Control: An Interface between Biology and Management

Frederick F. Knowlton, Eric M. Gese and Michael M. Jaeger
Journal of Range Management
Vol. 52, No. 5 (Sep., 1999), pp. 398-412
DOI: 10.2307/4003765
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4003765
Page Count: 15
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Coyote Depredation Control: An Interface between Biology and Management
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Abstract

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. The resolution of coyote depredation upon livestock remains controversial for producers, resource managers, and the general public. Because various segments of society attach different values to coyotes, resolution of depredations should use management programs that integrate the social, legal, economic, and biological aspects of the animals and the problem. Preferred solutions should involve procedures that solve problems as effectively, efficiently, and economically as possible in the least intrusive and most benign ways. Predation management requires a partnership among producers and wildlife managers to tailor programs to specific damage situations so the most appropriate techniques can be selected. This paper attempts to clarify the issues surrounding depredation management, synthesize past and current research, and provide information to resource managers associated with coyote depredation management. This synthesis integrates current understandings of coyote biology and behavior, the nature of depredations upon sheep producing enterprises, and the merits of various depredation control strategies and techniques.

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