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


Date of this Version

March 2004


Published in Wildlife Society Bulletin 2004, 32(4):1209–1218.


This paper examines the severity of livestock depredation by coyotes (Canis latrans), reviews evidence implicating breeding (or “alpha”) coyotes in the majority of incidents, evaluates currently used depredation control techniques, and suggests directions for future research. Nonlethal control ranges from varied animal husbandry practices to coyote behavioral modification or sterilization. These methods show significant promise but have not been proven effective in controlled experiments. Therefore, many livestock producers rely on lethal control, and most employ nonselective strategies aimed at local population reduction. Sometimes this approach is effective; other times it is not. This strategy can fail because the alpha coyotes, most likely to kill livestock, are the most resistant to nonselective removal techniques. An alternative is selective lethal control. Livestock Protection Collars (LPCs) and coyote calling are the primary selective lethal approaches. However, LPCs do not have support from the general public due to the toxicant used, and the factors affecting the selectivity of coyote calling have not been studied. The greatest impediments to effective coyote depredation management currently are a scarcity of selective control methods, our lack of understanding of the details of coyote behavioral ecology relative to livestock depredation and wild prey abundance, the absence of solid research examining the effectiveness of different control techniques in a variety of habitats and at multiple predation intensities, and the dearth of rigorous controlled experiments analyzing the operational efficacy of selective removal versus population reduction.