Coyotes: The Unforgotten Predator


When talking about predation, the focus of many is often towards wolves.  However, an animal that has been causing losses for producers in our region for decades is something that has never been on an endangered species list.  In 2010 alone, coyote-caused sheep depredation attributed to $1.1 million in losses for the state of Montana.  Coyotes also accounted for 67{dfeadfe70caf58f453a47791a362966239aaa64624c42b982d70b175f7e3dda2} of predator losses in Wyoming.

This picture, taken by Owen Murnion from outside of Jordan, Montana, shows the horrific scene when a coyote(s) goes after lambs.

According to Murnion, at today’s market price, this picture depicts $700 worth of loss.  The coyote at the top of the picture was caught in a fence snare on the way out.  Owen says that while one lamb was eaten completely, it appears that the other four were killed merely for sport.

As wolves have been reintroduced to the region, an already tight predator control budget is being split amongst more predators.  Murnion says that as a result, producers outside of western Montana have little access to support for aerial methods of predator management.  He also added that this isn’t just a problem for sheep producers as cattle ranchers also continue to loose more calves each year to coyotes.

© Northern Ag Network 2011

Haylie Shipp


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