U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Document Type


Date of this Version

January 2004


Published in Sheep Coat Research Journal


Throughout the livestock industry in the western United States, control of canid predators was considered to be of considerable importance to the livestock industry, especially to sheep producers, who sufkred high losses from coyotes and wolves. In the 19th century, the demand for predator control was communicated to Congress and the western state assemblies, with the result that predator control was provided in western states by the Fedcral Bureau of Biological Survey in cooperation with state agencies, and by trappers hired by stockmen. Steel traps and poisons were the principal methods used for predator control during the early years of the program. Historically, predacides have been used in the United States primarily to control wolves, coyotes, and red foxes that prey on livestock. Strychnine was employed in the late 1800s and early 1900s to collect wolf carcasses (Quaife, 1973). Strychnine drop baits were employed for coyote and fox control through the 1960s. Drop baio consisted oi'strychnine rablets put in small pieces of perjshable 6ats then placed around unpoisoned decoy carcasses (Robinson, 1962). bleat baits impregnated with a lethal agent, either thallium sulfate or Compound 1080, were used between 1937 and 1972 (Roh~nson, 1942). Currently, three predacides are ~~vnilabfloer use in controlling coyotes, foxes, wild dogs, and arctic fox. This paper will provide a description of these toxicants and the current status of their use in predator control in the United States.