Repercussion of Slaughter Hunting: Survivor Coyotes, as observed by Walkaboutlou

A Genocide mentality

Hi Janet,

This email [won’t be liked by many readers of your site] but I wanted to share it with you. It’s hard to fathom some of the recent realizations I’ve had with some coyote hunters. But at same time it’s also developed coyote off the chart in abilities and toughness.

East of here 100 miles there are areas of enormous coyote populations. The terrain and food favor them. Also … 3 years of widespread fires have given new opportunities to coyote. 

I don’t worry about the species obviously. But it still is an effort to detach and analytically interpret the current situation area by area.

Some of these hunters are getting 30, 40, or more coyotes in less than 2 days. I find it excessive and morally repugnant. 

But then you realize … how far reaching this is to the species. I cannot adequately describe the survivor coyotes vigor and behaviors … except that they recover in populations immediately. They scatter, rally, create new packs or pairs … and thrive.

At same time … I’m sure it creates generational PTSD of sorts. Not as humans. But relatable. When a hiker or rancher says coyote came to their dog and attacked unprovoked … there are reasons.

These survivors were hunted by teams and packs of dogs accompanied by rifles, infrared rifles and more. A pack of coyote can be wiped out in moments. So the survivors saw, heard, etc… family wipeouts. The memory of aggressive dog packs … stays.

And hence why some coyote seem to act in ways seeming unfathomable.

I’ve lost some ranch property patrols due to not sharing local coyote knowledge. I don’t care really. 

Sorry to vent … but the numbers hunted as well as the behaviors it unleashes in human and coyote has been growing in ways I am still trying to grasp.

I can only take succor in knowing the coyote will absolutely overcome and thrive.



Hi Lou —

Gosh, the bloodbath makes me want to cry — you have to wonder why and how this cruelty ever got so out of hand — in such a massive way. 

I know there is unbelievable hate for this animal. Even here in San Francisco, the hate boils over among certain individuals — individuals who don’t want to think, they just accept what they’ve been taught: that coyotes are vermin and need to be eradicated. People try to convince me it’s based on fear, but I don’t think so, I think it’s just hate, on the level of racial hatred in some people. Yes, occasionally, small dogs have been taken and killed by coyotes, but also by bigger dogs: one is accepted, one is not.

I’ve read where 400,000 coyotes are killed every single year here in the US, mostly by our own government “Wildlife Services” — which means that our tax dollars are supporting it. That agency works not to preserve and protect wildlife as the name somehow implies, but works at the beck-and-call of ranchers like the ones you know. 

It is known that the coyote population has not been affected at all by all this persecution: they soon make up the difference in their numbers. I’ve seen it on a small scale here in SF where an alpha male was shot by authorities (for protecting his densite), and then a newcomer male came in and bred with both the alpha female and her daughter: the stable social order was disrupted by the shooting. So this is how the population soon gets back to what it was. In this particular family, after one season, it’s back to one alpha male and one alpha female again. 

So this is exactly what you are saying, only you have an inside view of it all: the killing frenzy “among the hunters with their dog packs and infrared rifles”, and then how coyotes, amazingly, resiliently, respond: “by scattering, rallying, creating new packs and pairs and surviving.” I’m sorry you’ve lost some of your patrols. Thank you for sharing with me. The trickle-down effect of it all as you are able to see it from your immersed perspective is what’s most interesting.   :((  I myself think more people need to know about it.



Hi Janet,

I think coyote hunting at this level across certain communities is at a political religious cultural biased prejudiced vibes. It is almost always by certain groups and the incredible thing is ….

It’s accepted and very enjoyed by whole communities … and that coyote actually go right back to even greater numbers. I cannot think of any predator or even mammal that can take that kind of sustained persecution save rats. And coyote are not rats.

It’s getting harder for me in some ways to go to certain places. I just do not enjoy areas that have this sort of hunting. It feels spiritually morally personally so wrong. 

And oh … yes … the trickle down is you have coyote who are ghosts … and also either stay invisible … or become really aggressive raiders. They will kill sheep goats etc..very erratically. They sometimes will surplus kill. They won’t return to any kills. They become real issues and very hard core. I have seen coyote keep to hills and jackrabbits. Then persecuted … becoming the coyote you don’t want. The pet nabbing livestock killing ghost you will never beat. In packs. People create the local coyote. Every time. I just can’t conceive how most people don’t get this fact. Leave them be: Pairs of stability. Hunt them hard: Canine chaos. I think many young men ENJOY the havoc of a predator that absolutely comes back. So it isn’t control. It’s..more of a deviant view of hunting morals. And it won’t stop.

Yes … there are people here that regularly kill scores of coyotes in mere days … and somehow … coyote return in more numbers then ever. The fires … the open areas created by fires … the relentless year round hunting..the arrival of wolves … all have caused larger packs and numbers of coyote. There is no animal as vilified or successful then they are. 



Hi Lou —

Yes, morally and ethically soooo gut-wrenchingly wrong. I have a question: You say there are MORE coyotes after the persecution, but I’m under the impression, based on what I’ve seen here in San Francisco, that their *territoriality* actually limits the population. Each territory here in the City is about 2 square miles, which is about half of what it is in the wild, and each of those territories is claimed by ONE family — no other coyotes are allowed in, so there’s not room for other coyotes except a very few interlopers who hang out on the periphery of territories, hoping one of the alphas who has a territory dies or loses ability to defend his turf. So where would the *more* coyotes fit in? More territories??



Hi Janet, 

In answer to your questions … I’m not a biologist and can only answer for what we’ve experienced regionally especially last 4 years. 

The thought and reality of territoriality is subjective to the realities of terrain and the canines there.

Your land there and ours here could be different planets.

Here … the lands are absolutely enormous for coyote. To them … without measure. And while they would like a solid territory and stable family… that simply is the exception rather then the case.

Several factors create local numbers of coyotes to increase. 1) 3 years of expansive fires have created vast open areas that within a year grow grasses…and huge populations of voles. The flush of new lands led to large litters. Then … east of us, several professional coyote hunters developed. These are not drive on dirt road take a lucky shot guys. They develop dog teams that lure in coyote for shots with high accuracy rifles. They even use infrared and night vision equipment. They literally can wipe out whole packs in moments. And they travel vast areas methodically and meticulously to hunt down any coyote anywhere.

When inevitably a coyote survives such persecution, especially if young, they scatter. They give up territorial claims in the face of overwhelming pressures. If they have seen a partner or pack wiped out they especially scatter.

Imagine dozens of coyote chaotically roaming while being hunted sometimes days or weeks or months.

When the hunters leave area or ease up, the canid diaspora settles … then you see by calls and behaviors almost a gold rush type of rapid influx. Coyote combing and marking and calling.

We also are seeing many coyote stay peripheral and semi nomadic. If a coyote is pressured by snares and traps and greyhounds and decoy dogs and distant marksman or night hunts, they simply give up any patterns of territoriality. They may prefer some areas but lay no claims definitively. You cannot claim homes when war is being waged upon you. You dont garden. You don’t set up. You eat. You rest. You move constantly.

Hence..a quiet spot gets many coyote nomads, locally flooding the scene…until spring denning time or hunting shifts everyone again. 

If this sounds is! And there are no hard and fast rules.

But in the face of extreme hunting, coyote become extreme. And will continue to roam rally and somehow…increase numbers even if giving up some traditional behaviors.



Hi Lou —

So it’s the single youngsters who make up this chaotic group of increased numbers, and order presumably would be re-established when they pair up and claim exclusive territories. Is that wild group reproducing, and if so, where might they be hiding their pups if they don’t have protective territories? 



I would think it’s yes ….mainly pups and yearlings that become nomadic in high pressure settings. Anywhere from 5 months to yearlings. Then they pair up … but the incessant hunting never ends. Never. So pairs of territorial parents just try their best to raise pups to a level of independence. High pressured packs usually are forced to fragment. Also … in some areas … nomadic coyote dont establish the typical den area. They den wherever its quiet. We’ve seen old tractors, sheds, barns, as den sites. Drains. And they move pups ceaselessly. Few days or week here. Move litters constantly here or there. 

PS-In essence … the coyote blueprint impels them to follow the canid plans. Establish territory. Pair up. Build a possible pack. 


Incessant human hunting and pressures cause coyote to go into permanent evasive tactics and endless strategies. 

They do try to settle in lands. Most find it nearly impossible to live normally. So they switch into the chaotic often nomadic type of surviving until they sense a good place or time.

Ironically … some of them choose highway median stretches of grass … and have raised whole litters between highways! 


14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. MelindaH
    Nov 06, 2022 @ 00:40:05

    With each passing day, I am more and more repulsed by humans…


  2. lancer223
    Nov 06, 2022 @ 03:38:33

    Thank you Lou and Janet for your insight and knowledge of these wonderful animals. I’ve learned so much every time I read your letters and articles. Keep up the good work. Keep fighting for the preservation of our coyotes and our trees. Thank you!


  3. Dr. James B. Mense
    Nov 06, 2022 @ 04:42:12

    Populations do fluctuate. I have seen rabbit populations skyrocket to the point where I could kill my limit of 10 with a bow in an hour. A 1 mile drive on a road at night would result in sighting of about 150.
    Hunters were everywhere. It was ‘more like euthanasia than hunting.
    Toward the end of the season you could walk right up to them and they wouldn’t ‘move. They were sick.
    The next year you were hard pressed to find rabbit tracks in the snow.
    You were also hard pressed to find a rabbit hunter.
    I am pretty sure the coyotes responded to the plentiful food in the same way that human hunters did. They also probably produced large litters until the next year when the newborns probably had high mortality rates.
    I find the idea that a coyote hunter, no matter the method, could kill 30 to 40 coyotes in a couple of days to be an exaggeration unless the coyotes, like the rabbits, were sick. I have gone along on a coyote hunt where the hunters surrounded a section of land, each with a pack of greyhounds and whippets. Another fellow went into the section with a pack of walker fox hounds. The operation took the entire ‘morning.
    The fox hounds did indeed find a coyote and I had the luck of being able to watch the coyote come out to the edge of a field, turn left and go about 100 yards, then turn and double back. When it got to the place where it had started it took a long jump in the other direction and took off. The walker hounds turned left, got to the point where the coyote had turned back and just milled around, totally confused! The total coyote bag for the day? None. I can honestly say that none of those hunters hated coyotes or were in any way genocidal. Without coyotes to chase they would have been very sad indeed!
    Perhaps it would help your understanding to actually go along on one of those hunts just as it would help for the hunters to go along with a “coyote patrol” sometime. The hunters I have known who profess to “hate” coyotes never hunt them. Here in Colorado it is the sheep ranchers who try to eradicate coyotes.


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Nov 06, 2022 @ 14:16:16

      James: Perhaps it will help your understanding to read up on our Wildlife Services and coyote killing contests.

    • Dr. James B. Mense
      Nov 06, 2022 @ 16:31:45

      Please send me a link. I would appreciate knowing more about what is going on in California. I saw the results of a “Cash for Coyotes” contest here in Colorado and it was disgusting. Coyote killing contests were made illegal a number of years ago in Colorado.
      A number of years ago a hunter had his photo on the front page of the newspaper with a huge bear he had killed by following its tracks in the snow and then crawling into the den and shooting it. He made it sound as though he was in mortal danger and a rather heroic figure!
      I sent a letter both to the newspaper and to the wildlife department stating the facts (You can find the story by googling my name). A bear often wakes during the winter and may go outside its den for short periods. When it is in its den it is not a bit dangerous as it is half unconscious. I also requested that it should be illegal to kill a bear in its den and, in fact, it was made illegal. I also sent a letter to Pope and Young requesting that the bear not be registered in the record book because it had not been harvested under the rules of fair chase. My request was granted and the bear is not listed.
      The fact is, no matter what moral differences you and I may have, there are too many people with NO moral principles!

    • yipps:janetkessler
      Nov 06, 2022 @ 17:07:36

  4. Lou Venegas
    Nov 06, 2022 @ 22:47:17

    I’ve had similar comments of people finding the numbers hard to accept. It happens. Very often. Even youtube will have vids of single hunters getting 16 in one day. A professional decoy dog coyote hunter with the skills and equipment and dogs can repeatedly dispatch coyote 20-40 or more within couple of days. He and his dogs alone. And this isn’t even contests. It is routine work and repeated all year round. If you know the methods and equipment and dogs, it’s not uncommon in western states. At all.


    • MelindaH
      Nov 06, 2022 @ 22:59:28

      Who is finding it hard to accept? Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming have Fish and Wildlife Services devoted to killing predators, particularly wolves and coyotes. Washington is not far behind. F andWS were established to protect the elk population, which has exceeded any hunters abilities to put a dent in their numbers—-despite the presence of minimal wolf populations.

  5. yipps:janetkessler
    Nov 07, 2022 @ 03:30:09

    James — Your responses have veered way off point, so let’s get back to the point. You questioned the number of coyotes killed by one individual in a couple of days, unless they were sick. I suggested you look at coyote killing contests and Wildlife Services — you again questioned the information. Yes, seven states have banned killing contests, which is irrelevant to the fact that we still have coyote killing contests in the US. We have 50 states. Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah allow them and some pay bounties for coyotes. Look up coyote killing on YouTube if you question the numbers. Wildlife Services kills 68,000 coyotes a year — native species — not that that matters. The numbers in this posting are real: we’re sticking to the facts.


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