The adaptable coyote (Canis latrans) is common throughout Missouri, including in urban and suburban areas. The bulk of its diet consists of small mammals, insects, carrion, and wild fruits. However, coyotes sometimes kill poultry, young pigs, goats, sheep, small calves, and pets. Coyotes also occasionally eat produce such as sweet corn and watermelon. These opportunistic feeding habits can lead to conflicts with farmers, ranchers, and suburbanites.
The Wildlife Code of Missouri classifies the coyote as a furbearer and game mammal that may be taken during prescribed hunting and trapping seasons. See current regulations for details. The Code also specifies that you may shoot or trap damage-causing coyotes out-of-season without a permit. Refer to 3 CSR 10-4.130 Owner May Protect Property; Public Safety of the Code for details and restrictions.
Exclusion. Farmers and ranchers must ensure that animal pens and enclosures will exclude coyotes. A well-built net or woven-wire fence can be 100-percent effective. Likewise, fencing of suburban yards must be adequate to protect housecats, small dogs, and large dogs that may be old and infirm. If coyotes are digging under fences to attack livestock, refer to Trapping below.
Fumigants/repellents. Not recommended because none are known to be effective.
Guard animals. Some farmers and ranchers successfully use dogs, donkeys, mules, or llamas to protect livestock.
Free Using Guard Animals to Protect Livestock booklet
This illustrated booklet shows you how to use dogs, donkeys, mules, or llamas to protect livestock. To order, email email@example.com and ask for Using Guard Animals to Protect Livestock (PLS044). Be sure to include your name and mailing address.
Trapping. Large cage-type traps are impractical for coyotes. Foot-hold traps and snares are the most effective means for removing problem coyotes. Restrictions apply, so see current regulations for details. Your local county conservation agent can likely provide the name of a local trapper who can assist you. In some situations, the Department wildlife-damage biologist can provide instruction, equipment, and assistance.
Shooting. In rural areas and in other areas where allowed, damage-causing coyotes may be shot. Check with local authorities regarding use of firearms. Although cunning, coyotes are somewhat predictable and therefore can be ambushed under the right circumstances.
For additional information on this and other species, see the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management website under External Links below.