Monday, January 2, 2012
Coyote Hunting in NJ
Estimates from the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife say that there are more than 5000 coyotes in the state.
There were several reports of coyotes attacking pet dogs last year including one small dog that was walking unleashed with its owner that was killed in Sparta Glen Park in Sussex County.
Coyote attacks on humans are rare and they are wary of people and will avoid them. The rare cases include two separate attacks in NJ when in Monmouth County in 2007 coyotes attempted to drag off a child.
Coyotes' preferred prey is rabbits, mice, birds and other small animals. Coyotes play an important role in the ecosystem, helping to keep rodent populations under control. But, as with our Garden State bears, they have adapted to eating available sources like garbage, pet food and unattended domestic animals (especially cats and small dogs) and carrion.
Eastern coyotes in NJ can be up to 60 pounds, but average about 40 pounds. They are found in all NJ counties.
Eastern coyotes are larger than Western coyotes. Past interbreeding between gray wolves and coyotes may be responsible for the larger size and color variations in NJ coyotes. To the untrained eye, coyotes resemble German shepherd dogs. They can be seen in coats of blond, red and black, according to the state Division of Fish and Game.
Over 2,000 night hunting permits were issued, but because coyotes are extremely smart and difficult to find, the numbers are expected to be low.