Date of this Version
Federal government restrictions in 1972 on several widely-used forms of predator control stimulated research on alternative methods of reducing depredation on livestock. In the same year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture began predator research through the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and designed the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station CUSSES, near Dubois in southeastern Idaho as the principle location for the investigations. At the outset, the objective of ARS research was to examine non-lethal methods for reducing depredation, primarily by coyotes (Cants), on sheep. During the first several years, while predator research facilities were constructed at the USSES, ARS funds were primarily used for extramural predator projects at universities in the western United States. Beginning in 1973 and extending from 3 to 5 years each, 3 extramural projects in addition to in-house research at USDA-ARS Western Regional Research Center (WRRC) sought to determine the efficacy of repellents (aversive, olfactory, and gustatory agents) for deterring coyote predation on sheep. Several hundred compounds were tested, and the funds indicated that, although some compounds provided temporary protection to sheep, repellents were not consistently nor sufficiently effective to be viewed as a realistic method of reducing coyote depredation.