Looking to go on a predator hunt in Michigan? Now hunters will have the opportunity to pursue coyotes year-round after the state’s Natural Resources Commission voted to extend coyote season at a meeting earlier this month. Previously, coyotes could only be hunted from July 15 to April 15 during the day, and from October 15 to March 31 at night. The Commission also decided to extend the nighttime hunting season as well, and will now allow hunters to use additional types of ammunition, such as number 3 or 4 slugs at night.
Officials say that interest in hunting coyotes—and managing the population—increased after a number of recent attacks on pets. The current coyote population in Michigan is reaching a record high, and it is causing a significant uptick in complaints. Even residents in urban areas such as Royal Oak and Troy are reporting coyote sightings, and last month a dog was killed in a Canton backyard.
“I’m seeing coyotes in areas where I don’t think they should be,” Adam Bump, a furbearer specialist for the state Department of Natural Resources, told The Detroit Free Press.
The problem is especially prevalent in the southeastern Michigan because unlike many other parts of the country, there are no natural predators—or even competition—for coyotes in the area.
“They’re the top of the food chain,” Jeff Stonerock, a professional trapper, told The Detroit News.
Among North American wildlife, coyotes are very adaptable to urban living and can even hold a stable population near major metropolitan centers. Of course, this is not usually something that residents look forward to. Wildlife managers hope that by extending the season, hunters will be better able to manage the urban coyote population. Perhaps even more than extending the season, local hunters have been asking for buckshot to be used in nighttime coyote hunts.
“That’s a change that’s been asked for by our predator hunters,” Bump said. “It allows for a little more distance for hunters at night. The buckshot will travel a little farther.”
Center-fire rifles are still prohibited for nighttime shooting.