Date of this Version
In the early 1900s, organized predator control was initiated to remove coyotes and wolves from the sheep- and goat-producing areas of Texas. Operations were begun in the Edwards Plateau, the largest area of sheep concentration. The Edwards Plateau and, to a lesser extent, portions of other adjoining ecological areas presently account for 18% (1.2 million head) of the sheep and lambs and 85% (1.2 million head) of the goats in the United States (Texas Agriculture Statistics Service, 2004). These numbers are down in both actual numbers and as a percent of the national flocks. It is important that the industries be protected and preserved. The inventory and distribution of sheep and goats by counties in 2003 is reflected in Figures 1 and 2. The Edwards Plateau itself encompasses about 24 million acres of “Hill Country” in West-Central Texas comprising all or portions of 37 counties (Fig. 3). By the 1920s, many of the interior Edwards Plateau counties were considered to be free of coyotes and wolves.
In 1950, there were 33 counties covering nearly 24,000,000 acres, which were considered to be coyote free (Fig. 4). This area remained virtually void of coyotes for several decades until their encroachment began in the 1960s. This process has been described by several authors (Caroline, 1973; Shelton and Klindt, 1974; Hawthorne, 1980; Nunley, 1985; Nunley, 1995a). The purpose of this paper is to review and update the progress of the reestablishment of coyotes into the Edwards Plateau of Texas, since that reported by Nunley (1995a). This area is historically and currently unique due to its unsurpassed intensive level of coyote control over an extensive area.