Date of this Version
Published in Proceedings of Great Plains Wildlife Damage Control Workshop, December 10, 11, and 12, 1973, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas. Edited by F. Robert Henderson.
Missouri, like many of its neighbors, has long had to content with complaints of damage caused by predatory wildlife. Unlike some other states, however, in Missouri the control, management, restoration, etc. of all bird, fish and game and other wildlife resources of the state is vested in a Conservation Commission to an exclusive degree. Because of this Constitutional mandate, the Conservation Department in Missouri has been the agency primarily responsible for assisting farmers and ranchers with their various wild animal damage control problems. Poisons and explosive or chemical devices are not legal. This legal prohibition not withstanding, Missouri's relatively dense population of domestic animals and humans makes the use of such predator control techniques extremely hazardous. Today I hope to briefly outline some aspects of our predator damage situation, a look at some of the different programs we have used, and a review of our success with the Extension control program.
According to data collected since 1936 (and based on the number of coyotes bountied per 100 square miles in counties offering bounties) our coyote population seems to be increasing on a steady line, except for some comparatively minor fluctuations downward •. The number of damage complaints has remained rather steady throughout the years, while the coyote population has doubled and tripled--perhaps indicating that coyote damage is not directly proportional to coyote numbers.
Coyotes are not uncommon in all of Missouri's 114 counties and are present even within the incorporated city limits of Kansas City and St. Louis. Based on bountied animals and damage complaints, we know that our highest density is in the western prairie counties and the northern river-break hills. Damage is relatively light in the Missouri Ozarks and the Mississippi delta country.