News Column: COASTAL CURRENTS
Submitted: January 18, 2012
Alan Matherne, Coastal & Fisheries Outreach Agent
Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption Parishes; LSU AgCenter
A growing problem: coyotes
Coyotes are considered nuisance animals by most people. In fact, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries classifies them as “outlaw quadrupeds” and provide for extreme methods of controlling them, including night hunting with lasers, night vision devices, and noise suppressors (special season and conditions, check the hunting brochure for details).
The coyote, which is a member of the dog family, began to appear in Louisiana sometime after 1942 and the first capture of a coyote here was in Vernon Parish 1n 1949. Since then coyotes have expanded their range and are found in all Louisiana parishes. Populations of these animals vary depending upon factors such as habitat type and food availability.
In the past few months there have been local reports of coyote sightings and killings of pets and livestock. Does that mean that coyotes are “bad” animals? Of course not. Coyotes are valuable members of the wildlife community. As predators, they help keep rodent (rat) populations down and as scavengers, eating old, sick, or injured animals, they help keep the woods and fields clean.
It’s when populations of coyotes become unacceptably high and the habitats of these creatures and we humans intermingle, that problems occur. Although technically carnivores, in practice they are omnivores, eating whatever is available, and as such they can sometimes have adverse effects on wildlife populations. When wild food sources are scarce, they will as predators seek food of all types including livestock, young deer, and even pets.
Hunting is one way of controlling these predators and trapping is another.
In order to help land owners, managers, and other users control coyotes, feral hogs, and other nuisance animals, a field day will be hosted by the LSU AgCenter/Sea Grant program. “Predator Control 2012″ is set to take place on Monday, January 23 from 1:30 to 5:30 PM at the LSU AgCenter facility located at 119 Robin Street in Napoleonville.
The program will feature world class nuisance animal trapper/hunter, wildlife damage biologist, and predator control expert Walter Cotton of USDA/APHIS, who will be on-hand to demonstrate methods for capturing with snares and foothold traps and provide hunting and calling techniques instruction. The problems associated with coyotes and feral hogs will be discussed and methods for legally taking (including night hunting) nuisance animals and outlaw quadrupeds will be explained by LSU AgCenter/Sea Grant personnel. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and local law enforcement personnel will also be on hand to answer questions.
This program is free and open to the public, but space is limited and preregistration is required. To register go on the web to bayoulog.com/events or call any of our three local LSU AgCenter offices: 985-873-6495 (Houma), 985-446-1316 (Thibodaux), or 985-369-6386 (Napoleonville).
If you are having problems with these nuisance animals, you may want to take advantage of this opportunity and make plans to come out and learn how to control them on your property.
Alan Matherne is the LSU AgCenter Coastal & Fisheries Outreach Agent for Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption parishes. He can be contacted at 985-873-6495 or email@example.com. His articles and blogs are posted at bayoulog.com. You can “Friend” him on Facebook at facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001785563037 and follow his “Tweets” on Twitter at twitter.com/amatherne.