Stand Up for Coyotes, New Hampshire’s Most Persecuted Animal
Did you know that in New Hampshire coyotes can be legally hunted 365 days a year, including the months when they are raising their young?
In addition to being hunted without respite, coyotes are trapped and night-hunted for three months of the year and are the victims of “killing contests.” They are also hounded, often using GPS collars on the dogs. Coyotes cannot run up trees to escape the dogs and may be bitten or even mauled to death. This activity is unsafe for the dogs as well.
There is no limit to how many coyotes a hunter can kill and no requirement to report these kills, unlike almost every other hunted animal. New Hampshire Fish and Game may call themselves “Guardian of the state’s fish, wildlife, and marine resources,” but coyotes are considered unworthy of any protection.
There is something perverse in the government, and society, marking a species for death, setting it outside the bounds of even our wildlife protection laws.— Dan Flores, Project Coyote
This utter disregard for coyotes is not unique to New Hampshire. Throughout the country, coyotes are vilified. Hatred for these animals runs deep, as do the myths. They are not lying in wait to snatch your pet or your child. In truth, they prefer to stay away from humans; their favorite food is mice. We need to protect this important predator to help us in controlling rodent populations.
These highly intelligent animals are social creatures, as well as devoted parents. Coyotes form stable packs where only alpha males and females breed when not hunted. Killing coyotes allows subordinates and outsiders to breed, leading to more coyotes, not fewer.
Scientists have found that coyotes can withstand as much as a 70% annual kill rate without undergoing a decline in the total population.
Although their numbers may remain stable, great harm is done when packs lose members prematurely. When senior pack members are killed, juveniles deprived of role models behave recklessly, perhaps venturing into backyards and pastures in search of food. Likewise, when mothers are killed, their orphaned pups may starve.
More About Coyotes
- Read about what effect the reduction of coyotes has on the remaining population in this classic scientific opinion written by Dr. Robert L. Crabtree, Yellowstone Ecological Research Center
- The Effects of Control on Coyote Populations: Another Look by Guy E. Connolly
- Stop Killing Coyotes by Dan Flores (New York Times, )
- Better off alive (Humane Society of the United States)
2023 — In February 2023, VOW petitioned NH Fish and Game to end coyote hounding. The request was denied in a letter from Director Mason.
2018 — In January 2018, VOW petitioned NH Fish and Game Department to close the year-round coyote season for the months in which they are raising their pups. Staff biologists for the Department agreed that coyotes deserved the same reprieve from hunting pressure to raise their young as is afforded to all other hunted animals. Nonetheless, the NH Fish and Game Commission voted to keep the season open, disregarding all arguments.
Voices of Wildlife subsequently took the matter to the State House in the form of House Bill 442, a bill to prevent the hunting of coyotes from April 1 through August 31. Unfortunately, this bill failed to pass. But the work for coyotes continues. Stay tuned for more information soon on how to help NH’s coyotes.