Coyotes are members of the dog family and are found in all fifty states in the union. Coyotes can adapt to a variety of environments, including urban ones. They live in deserts, grasslands, and woodlands. Coyotes are an important predator that controls the numbers of smaller mammals. They also eat foxes, skunks, rats, and raccoons. Maintaining control over these populations guarantees biodiversity. However, both city people and farmers may experience issues as a result of large coyote populations. Let’s examine Missouri coyotes: their population size, typical habitats, and hunting regulations in the state.
What Do Coyotes in Missouri Look Like?
Coyotes’ bodies range in length from 39 to 54 inches, with their tails measuring between 10 and 16 inches. Coyotes weigh between 18 and 30 pounds on average. Their coat is dull yellow or light gray on their upper body, with black tips on the hairs. Typically, the muzzle, ears, and legs have a reddish tone. Typically, the tail has a golden tint or a black tip. Their hue varies from white to pale gray from the throat to the belly. However, as you approach a coyote, you’ll see that its irises have a distinctive tawny hue.
Coyote Distribution in Missouri
Although the precise number in the state is unclear, coyotes are thought to be numerous and in good health, and their number is generally rising in Missouri. Coyotes are found in all 114 counties of Missouri, however they are most prevalent in the grassland area in the north and west.
Experts predicted that Missouri’s coyote populations would double by 2021. Since there aren’t many predators, they anticipate that the population will keep growing. There are more and more coyotes being seen in urban areas, including downtown St. Louis. Winter food shortages have made coyotes more gregarious and more likely to forage where food is available.
Conflicts with Coyotes
Coyotes are particularly problematic for farmers and ranchers because they are opportunistic feeders. Coyotes are infamous for killing goats and sheep and for stealing chickens and young piglets. Even while coyotes rarely murder small calves, their constant presence can cause stress to cattle that are confined. Additionally, coyotes harm farmers’ product because they are omnivores and eat watermelon and sweet corn.
However, because of their remarkable adaptability, coyotes also pose a threat to suburban and urban settings. Coyotes murdering or hurting pets is the main grievance. However, because coyotes are afraid of people, direct confrontations with them are uncommon. Coyotes may approach a house if food is available, such as accessible trash or pet food left outside quick dinner.
Additionally, coyotes become more violent in late April or early May to defend their dens from perceived threats. Nevertheless, there are no known instances of coyote assaults on people in Missouri.
The Missouri Wildlife Code defines coyotes as game mammals and furbearers, both of which are allowed to be killed or trapped during their respective seasons due to their high population density. But if coyotes are causing damage outside of season, you can shoot or trap them without a permit.
With a few restrictions listed on the Missouri Department of Conservation website that vary from year to year, coyotes may be taken all year long. Coyote corpses and pellets are permissible to own and carry all year long. When it comes to hunting seasons that overlap, there are some limitations. For example, you can only use the hunting techniques that are permitted during turkey season to hunt coyotes during the legal shooting hours of the spring turkey season. In addition, hunters need to have either a nonresident furbearer hunting and trapping permit or a resident small game hunting permit, as well as an empty spring turkey hunting permit. Similar rules apply during the Firearms Deer Season, when hunters who hunt furbearers are required to possess an a resident or nonresident hunting permit, paired with an empty guns deer hunting permit.
Coyotes are permitted to use a wide variety of hunting tools, such as bows, slingshots, and even firearms. However, Missouri forbids the use of several particular techniques. For example:
- Arrows cannot be explosive, poisoned, or drugged.
- It is forbidden to take or mistreat wildlife with a motor vehicle.
- It is forbidden to use artificial lights to look for coyotes since they annoy the nearby fauna.
- Coyote hunting is prohibited on public roads and across from them.
In Missouri, coyotes are becoming more than just a nuisance, and the state is urging hunters to hunt them in order to control their population.