Baker, Montana coyote killing contest prompt howls from foes

The coyote is probably the most successful predatory animal in North America. Contests like this have little effect on the coyote population, which over the last hundred years spread from the western United States to all of North America because of the elimination of the wolf and human induced ecological changes that increase coyote habitat. The capacity of coyotes to increase their numbers in face of substantial killing also promotes natural selection in favor of a more adaptable and durable coyote population.

The question about contests like this is ethics, and I think the controversy is basically a conflict between rural values in an area of human population decline and those of the larger society.

Coyote killing contest prompt howls from foes. Town offers cash prizes in calling competition. By Matthew Brown. Billings Gazette. AP

New, posted on 1/12, article by Todd Wilkinson. Controversial Contest Brings Coyotes Again Under The Gun. New West.






  1. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife – Idaho is sponsoring a “Predator Derby” from Jan 26-27. Points are awarded, 2 for coyotes and 1 for bobcats. The grand prize? A wolf hunt (unlimited take) in Alberta. You can read more about this here:

    Hopefully, this is not the future of Idaho wolf “management”.

  2. Jon Way Avatar

    These types of things make me ashame to be a human being. People killing another social, intelligent, family oriented animal, and making a contest of it. Because coyotes reproduce so quickly, it amounts to killing for the sake of killing. The fact that state fish and game dept.s allow this (and the year-round seasons) gives them no credibility, in my opinion. Killing livestock killing coyotes is one thing, but this is pathetic. Maybe the guy in the article with this quote should also be hunted to see how it feels, “I don’t know why God put them on this Earth,” said Jerrid Geving, a tire shop manager and avid hunter.” A sad world indeed. Until there are seasons and bag limits on coyotes, I will always see fish and game dept.s as a special interest group that needs changing.

  3. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    While coyote killing contests are deplorable, I probably should point out that nowhere in the West, to my knowledge, are coyotes classified as game animals subject to regulated hunting and trapping under authority of the state game & fish department. That is, coyotes are classified as “predatory animals,” (the term in Wyoming), or some similar term, which legally authorizes the unlimited slaughter of “predatory” species.

    Game & fish departments have no legal authority whatsoever to regulate the killing of predatory animals, including the coyote.

    The appropriate targets for the expression of outrage over coyote killing contests are state legislatures and the agriculture industry.

    One should work toward the elimination of all public funding for predator control.

  4. SteveO Avatar

    80,000 coyotes/yr (219/day) destroyed? $45million in cattle damages? $10 million in sheep damages? I would love to see how they came up with those numbers!

  5. Coyote Trapper Avatar
    Coyote Trapper

    The coyote is a resilient species that won’t be impacted significantly by these overpublicized coyote killing contests. Developing respect for all species seems like a better goal than elimination of animals in a small pool. I kill coyotes, beef, chickens, beavers, lambs, and carrots. I offer my thanks every time I participate in consumption of fur or food.

  6. Kent Perry Avatar

    Does anybody have or know where to get a esimate on the total coyote population of the U.S. If you have information that would help me in that suject, would you please email me back.
    Thank you
    Kent Perry

  7. Moose Avatar

    Michigan has a hunting season on coyotes. I don’t know how many are killed/yr. Few hunters I know hunt coyotes very seriously – not a very good success rate. Trapping is usually more effective. Skandia, Mi hosts an annual UP Predator Challenge – this year’s tally…153 hunters netted 30 coyotes, one red fox. First place prize $400.

  8. Moose Avatar


    I don’t have current data…but various estimates in 2000 put the pop. between 1.5 and 10 mil in US. Sorry, not very helpful.

  9. SHOOTER Avatar

    I am an avid coyote hunter,and enjoy the sport. To be a successful hunter you most have upmost respect for the animal you are hunting. I am sure there are some people out there how hunt for the sheer kill thrill, but there are three times as many how do not. The truth of the matter is by having a contest you are not killing more coyotes you are just consintrating the killing to one area. So please Just because there is a coyote calling contest in your area does not mean they will be wiped off the face of the earth. They are a very smart animal and will adaped to any thing the human race may throw there way.

  10. Doug Seibert Avatar
    Doug Seibert

    I’m a lifetime hunter and support that consumptive uses(hunting, fishing, trapping) of wildlife. I also enjoy hunting(calling) coyotes for excitement, ADC, and to sell the fur. That said, I find the practice of making a contest out of who can kill the most coyotes(or any other kind of animal) to WIN something is a mighty poor reflection on all hunters. “Competitors” ought to feed their need for fame and fortune on something besides the killing of coyotes.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

Subscribe to get new posts right in your Inbox

Ralph Maughan