Regardless of how macho you think you are, seeing a coyote is a bit frightening. Though they are adaptable animals, they easily lose control. In fact, seeing coyotes in some areas is a normal everyday occurrence especially in the urban areas.
This therefore rightfully warrants the question, can I shoot a coyote on my property?
Coyotes today have lost their fear of human beings and will confidently approach human dwelling areas. The animals slink through boundary fences and hedges, which has made the government step in. While they get comfortable, human beings remain wary of them so as they get uncomfortably close, they are attacked, which could potentially lead chaos.
The answer to the question is yes, but is a bit more complicated than a simple yes. Laws vary quite a bite on whether or not you can shoot coyotes on your property on a state by state basis.
Killing one depends on where you come from and as such federal laws governing your state. In Florida for example, they are considered a nuisance species and therefore the state allows shooting of coyotes within reasonable extent, implying self defense. When shooting one, however, one should take cognizance of the practicality of laws.
For example, the type of arm used could very well have you on the wrong side of the law. The Florida law for example, allows target shooting, as long as it does not cross your property boundary line. Can you imagine targeting a coyote, after all its legal, then destiny plays you after the bullet crosses over your boundary and then you have to face the law?
Such practical details are the reason why we recommend utter precision when treading upon such sensitive matters.
Back to shooting the coyote in other states, Texas law prohibits the shooting of coyotes from a helicopter when herding unless permit has already been acquired. It however permits shooting of coyotes on your property. In Nevada, you’re actually allowed to hunt them all year long without any need of permit.
Looking at a different state, Michigan, the law is a bit complex, allowing statewide hunting of coyotes from mid-April to mid-July. Around September to mid-November, coyotes can only be hunted on private lands, and this is only when they pose a threat to safety. From mid-October to first March, on the other hand, only night hunting is allowed.
This said, the long-anticipated answer to your question is both yes and no. The accurate answer primarily depends on the statutory law in the state you are in.
Great Resource: State by State Coyote Hunting Laws & Regulations
Most states do not protect coyotes, therefore, allow the shooting of coyotes on private property. This is especially so if they pose a threat or are an unbearable nuisance. Even in states that do protect coyotes, there are generally always exceptions for protecting animals, pets, or people on your property.
These laws should, however, be thoroughly examined as though shooting a coyote may not be illegal, it could potentially find you on the wrong side of the law simply form missing small details that appertain the shooting of these animals.
Some laws even regulate on who specifically is allowed to shoot a coyote. A visitor may not be allowed to shoot coyotes, limiting this ‘privilege’ to landowners alone.
Other states go to the deeper extent of specifying which kind of weapons are legal to use. After shooting, since many may be tempted to keep the fur or sell it off, the law also regulates this. It is, therefore, important to familiarize yourself with all details before attempting anything.
Even in states where coyotes can be hunted all the time, most require a hunting license for that state. As well as obeying all other laws in place, including those on legality of night vision when hunting or use of red lights while hunting.
Discouraging Coyotes in the First Place
Now that shooting is a bit, or a lot complex, which measures could you take once you encounter coyotes around your dwelling place?
Get rid of pet food, birdseed and all fallen fruit from the compound
Coyotes will mainly visit your compound for one thing, food. Under no circumstance should you feed these animals whether deliberately or otherwise. To do this you should eliminate any potential chicken coop, dog food and so on from the outdoor areas and ensure the kitchen windows are closed. Keeping the environment clean also gets rid of any rodents which could be potential coyote feed.
Keep pets indoors at night
Coyotes are known to terrorize pets, simply as a way of establishing dominance. Leaving your pets outside could be another way of simply saying ‘hey could you come over?’ If you don’t want a horrifying mess from a wounded pet in the morning, keep them indoors especially in an area where coyotes are prevalent.
Trash cans are like grocery stores for coyotes. If there are any in your compound ensure you get rid of them otherwise, you’ll find your trash strung all over the backyard.
Apart from getting rid of all food sources, it is also imperative that you get rid of all potential hiding areas that act as shelter. Failure to do this will leave the coyotes taking residence in your home and you’ll have to deal with the horrible howling day in day out!
Build a wall or fence
It is one of the most effective ways of completely shutting coyotes out. When you build a fence or wall around your property, make sure it is strong, and buried several feet on the ground as well as rises several above. This prevents these annoying animals from burrowing or jumping their way through your fence.
You could use a paw-hold trap after which you could give them up to human societies of wildlife organizations. Trapping them is however regulated by some states, so make sure to confirm with the existing laws. You could also shoot them from here if it is in accordance with the law.
Using a chemical solution like ammonia repels coyotes. They thus keep off your property. Many more repellents are available online as well as in garden stores. Some of these include chemical sprays and predator urines. This method may cost you quite a lot since you regularly have to reapply for them to be effective.
Coyotes are indeed rightfully considered pests. First the property destruction, annoying sounds they make at night, attacking human beings, you name it! They could, however, easily land you in trouble with the law by shooting them on impulse.
To avoid this, simply use another method, unless they are too much after which you may need to check up with the law governing your state.