Is Coyote Hunting Animal Cruelty Or A Public Service In New York State?
Hunters and animal enthusiasts are clearly divided in their opinions, but the actual answer may surprise you.
Coyote hunting season in New York State runs from the start of October all the way till the end of March. Under direction from the Department of Environmental Conservation, hunters can go out any time of day or night, luring the coyotes with bait or dogs. The good news for them, there's no bag limit either.
On average, around 30,000 New Yorkers hunt coyotes each year. This is nothing compared to the 90,000 turkey hunters and 500,000 deer hunters. With numbers like these, it makes sense as to why these hunters are needed.
Hunting groups like the Toad Harbor Rod & Gun Club actually host a coyote hunting contest each year. When many hunters go out, they are mostly looking for bragging rights. Though coyote meat is edible, hunters aren't often packing their freezer with it.
So Why Hunt Coyotes?
Coyotes have often been labeled as a pest for farmers. People can't leave their chickens or other small livestock outside unprotected at night without the fear of a coyote killing them. Countless families have lost their chicken farms to a coyote or fox.
Though hunters may not eat the meat, they still do other things with the coyote. They can have the dog taxidermized, or take its coat. Once skinned, the hides can sell up to around $50 a hide. But typically that is about the extent of what hunters do.
Ever Wonder How Hunting With Dogs Works?
Most hunters will divide into two groups. This will be the road and watch crews. The road crew stays on the edges of the woods in order to keep their dogs and coyotes from crossing into private property. The dogs are equipped with a GPS device so the hunters can better track them.
Hunters could also do it the more traditional way, by walking through the woods and tracking the coyotes themselves. Hunters can find traces of the coyotes, their bedding areas, or listen to the barking to find them.
There seem to be enough reasons to justify why coyotes should be hunted. Not only is it protecting the animals on a hunters property, but its helping all of those surrounding it's territory as well. And with so few coyote hunters actually out there, the risk of over-killing is as much of a worry as you'd think.