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Coyotes vs Cattle
By Popular Demand: Discussions related to Varmint Hunting
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 10:18 pm    Post subject: Coyotes vs Cattle Reply with quote

Calling coyotes and other varmints is one of my passions and I have been at it for over four decades with over 1,500 kills. Along the way I have formed opinions based on experience and the information of other callers. But, there is always more to learn and evaluate.

On several occasions I have had ranchers tell me they didn't want coyotes on their property killed. Their position is that coyotes haven't ever killed any of their cattle/calves and that coyotes control rodents and rabbits. Other ranchers declare war on any coyote and wish they were all exterminated. Extremes, enough discrepancy in opinion that I have undertaken a personal project of trying to obtain more information with the intent of writing an article for one of the hunting/predator magazines.

And that is where members of this forum can be of assistance. Do you have primary information on cases where coyotes have actually killed cattle or calves? If so, is the ranch well managed or are the cattle free range? What is the size of ranch where coyote depredation occured? Have you had ranchers deny coyote calling to you based on the idea that they didn't want coyotes killed? Does your state have any active depredation programs that target coyotes? Can you give me names of ranchers or game and fish personnel or other varmint callers that can contribute opinions and primary observations? What other comments or observations do you have? Here, the important thing is not second hand information, rather first hand experience(s).

I'll let the forum know some of the conclusions (if any). It will take awhile as I am researching this subject on several forums and corresponding with numerous individuals and agencies.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2005 8:02 am    Post subject: Re: Coyotes vs Cattle Reply with quote

Personal experience.

We had a cow in labor get killed when a pack of coyotes tore into the calf. Ripped her up in the process and they both died, the calf was never fully born.

Had coyotes kill'em. Had Mt Lions attack them. Even had a Mt Lion rake the side of a really good Horse (scarred it up so bad we sold it).

So yes, I've seen first hand what these parasites can do.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2005 9:45 am    Post subject: Re: Coyotes vs Cattle Reply with quote

My daughter and her family live in a Portland, OR suburb. Last year their two goats were killed by coyote who got onto the property when the electric perimeter fence wasn't working. These were a specialty Arabian breed of goat they were going to breed and weighed well over 200lbs. No one even knew coyote were in the area. I don't know how her family confirmed the attack was done by coyote. They had the goats since they were quite young and the family had really become attached to them. That's about all I currently know. Best wishes.

Cal - Montreal
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2005 8:53 am    Post subject: Re: Coyotes vs Cattle Reply with quote

I don't have the experience you have, but coyote calling has been one of my passions for the last 25 years and I have been fascinated by these criiters for almost 40 years.

I have been turned down by a sheep rancher that would not let me call due to your example of 'good coyote/bad coyote' syndrome. They indicated that they had not lost any lambs due to coyote predation, and that if the coyotes around their place were killed, they might be replaced with ones that would not be as 'nice'. I politely told them that either the coyote population was low in their neck of the woods, or that they were doing a good job, unknowingly, by not giving coyotes the opportunity to pick off a lamb.

Coyotes are opportunists, as you know, and I firmly believe that if they have not eaten mutton or veal, it's because the opportunity has not presented itself. I also think that if you get a coyote started doing this, the extended family needs to be dealt with if possible. The young 'uns pick up the habit from the family pair, and on and on.

I can give you the name of an individual that could really help you in your research. An old high school classmate of mine works for the USDA, (US Dept. of Agriculture), as a predator specialist. He lives in Grant, Nebraska, and at our last class reunion, he indicated he 'removes' about 200-250 coyotes per year. His name is Jeff Wall and his home phone number is 308-352-4275. Tell him that Tim Boxberger recommended him.

Hope this helps!
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2005 9:06 am    Post subject: Re: Coyotes vs Cattle Reply with quote

My 44 year old eyes aren't working right. Sorry I referred to you as Cal, picked up Cal's name from the previous post!
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2005 10:53 am    Post subject: Re: Coyotes vs Cattle Reply with quote


I lived (and live AGAIN) in Indiana, and I worked summers on a 650 acre cattle ranch in the south-central part of the state. The boss leased another 400 acres or so from other farmers in the area, too, so we patroled (a much nicer concept than, "strung fence wire") over a thousand acres.

My second summer, the boss discovered that we had a pack of coyote in the area! You lose one calf, you say, "bad luck." You lose TWO, and you bite your lip and suck it up. You lose ALL the newborn spring and early summer calves and you start looking for reasons.

We came across them one particularly hot Indiana afternoon. There were a half dozen actual coyote laying down by a marshy spring run off, and a pack of about 18 wild dogs laying down nearby.

The next day, the boss was rummaging around in the house when I got to work (we were neighbors in town. I walked to his house and then we drove out from there.) He said that I should help him find a soft-side rifle case, and we both started rummaging.

He found it in a closet, layed it on the desk and opened it up.

Inside was a gorgeous set-trigger Mannlicher-Schönauer carbine chambered in the 6.5mm round that bears its name. (This isn't the one, but it could be it's twin brother, but for the trigger. From: After he explained the concept of set-triggers to me, he set me to servicing and cleaning it while he looked for some ammo.

We went to work that day well armed. The Mannlicher was in a brand new rifle rack in the rear window of the truck, and a Taurus .22 Mag revolver was in the glove compartment.

When we got to the farm, we pulled everyting out on the front porch of the old farm house and started loading up. I wondered how the Mannlicher shot and the boss said, "go find out, but you shoot it, you CLEAN it, and it's old ammo - corrosive primers and all."

Oooh - threaten me with having to spend MORE time with a firearm!

I boresighted it, as I'd been taught at the Boy's Club, and found that the sights looked pretty close already.

Old Earl, the foreman (who had kind of adopted me in the middle of the first summer when I told him that I did not believe that he was 65 years old, because no one THAT ORNERY could LIVE that long), laughed at me and said, "ya kin tell he's a real shooter by th' way he squinches down his left eye!"

He was surprised when I put five rounds out of that fine carbine into a mossy patch about the size of the bottom of a coffee cup on a fencepost all the way across the big field by the house.

The boss said, "boy - we see coyote, YOU get the rifle!" Old Earl just grinned as proudly as if I were his own son.

By the end of summer, we were down to one gun-shy coyote and three dogs. The ground hogs were right skittish, too.

(Sorry: I'm one of THOSE guys. You get me started, and a story just naturally rolls out of my head.)

"Al's Postings," from the, "Good Eats Fan Page."
At the heart of evey complex problem lies a graceful solution involving explosives.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2005 8:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Coyotes vs Cattle Reply with quote

tbox: thanks for the phone number and reference; I will follow up.

al: nice stories, sir.

When researching any subject the first thing I look for is any type of pattern that may serve as an indicator. Then I try to find the exceptions to the pattern and try to see if there is a pattern there as well. I forgo the normal "thesis statement" portion and rather approach anything with as much as an open mind as possible. Patterns and connections. Get enough of them and the overall picture forms.

So, your contributions, stories and leads are valued in the process. I've been fortunate to have contact with divergent players on the subject and find their viewpoints interesting, but, more importantly, the experiences that have formed those viewpoints, the whys of the matter. At this point I have interviewed by phone or in person fifteen people that have had extensive first hand experiences with coyotes/cattle. Emails have opened exchanges with others. There is more to do before making conclusions even if such is possible. Time will tell.

Please feel free to post or PM any direct experiences you may have had.

R90/6, K1200RS, R1150R
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 6:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Coyotes vs Cattle Reply with quote

I have several ranchers in eastern Washington that have told me that on a bad year they can lose as many as 10% of their newborn calves to coyotes. These are free ranging cattle so it's almost impossible to monitor them 24/7.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 9:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Coyotes vs Cattle Reply with quote

Welcome to the site ducksoup

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2005 4:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Coyotes vs Cattle Reply with quote

Personally, I have seen many more sheep than cattle killed by coyotes. However, if you want good information overall, then the thing to do may be to contact the state or federal predator control boards in several states. (We still just call them government trappers here). One of these fine gentlemen killed what the Federal Fish and Wildlife boys will still only call a "wolf-like creature" 2 years ago on the Big Horn Mountains above my town. He was attempting to trap/poison coyotes that had been preying on sheep.
If they are just "wolk-like" creatures, then it's legal to shoot them, right?

Build a fire for a man and he is warm for a day.

Set a man on fire and he is warm the rest of his life.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2005 10:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Coyotes vs Cattle Reply with quote

I appreciate your comments. Talking to "experts" reveals a wide gap in opinion and getting objective data is challenging. I've worked on this subject for awhile and have contacted ranchers and game and fish personnel in several states (Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada) as well as a few authoratative husbandry folks and biologists. Its still too early to come to conclusions. Some patterns emerge.

Keeping observations restricted to cattle, it seems that coyote kills on calves can be documented easily. Especially during calving time. But, the issue runs deeper than that.

Ranchers loosing calves frequently do not gather pregnant cows into the same area, rather they allow them to run more free range. Cows seem to have a collective behavior reported by several in which they will gather as a group and defend calves against coyotes. Ranchers keeping calving cows in the same enclosures/pastures seem to have far fewer problems as a result. Notice the useage of the word "seem".

Ranchers that do this have no issue with coyotes (based on eight that I have contacted in this catagory) and often voice the opinion that coyotes serve to keep rodent and rabbit populations from devouring alfalfa and crops. The dominant opinion by other ranchers (based on twenty two that hold the opposite opinion) is "kill them all" and that the best coyotes are the dead ones. This pro/con opinion is held by many in game management and ranching associations, often around the same ratio.

There is more uniformity of opinion regarding moutain lions and a unaminity of opinion regarding lions/coyotes relative to sheep. But, that was expected.

Much more delving into the issue lies ahead. It will be a long term project and it is being done mostly for my own information, however, it could be of interest to others.

Please keep your comments, observations and critiques coming.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 12:01 am    Post subject: Re: Coyotes vs Cattle Reply with quote

My dad never let any one hunt them aroud his place. He read some where if you had coyotes that have not eaten live stock to protect them. They keep other packs away. If however you have some problems, it's time to take action. He had sheep, but if the packs are large and food is limited they will prey on calves and week catle.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 10:46 pm    Post subject: Re: Coyotes vs Cattle Reply with quote

Southpaw: your dad's observation is shared by several ranchers and it was one that I had never considered. To date, I have had the opportunity to discuss the matter of how detrimental coyotes are to livestock, cattle principally. There is little question of their depredation on sheep, but, cattlemen vary widely in their opinions.

Next week I have a meeting with a wildlife specialist who has conducted a rather extensive study, but, even experts have a wide range of opinions. Getting beyond opinions to facts has been the challenge.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 6:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Coyotes vs Cattle Reply with quote

My Father-inlaw has lost a few calves to coyotes right from the corral which is 100 yrds from their house. He has lost calves, when cows were calving in spring, a mere 50 yards from the house. It is not uncommon to have coyotes running through their yard at nights in spring. There are numerous other farmers/ranchers in the area that have lost cattle, mostly calves, to coyotes. I am off work this winter and hope to do some coyote control right after New Years. I really enjoy calling coyotes and have been doing so for about 35 years. I've had them jump over me, when I was calling, many times. It is so nice to see them come running in to get their reward. A sawed off 12 ga for up close and my 22-250 for the longer shots have nailed many a coyote.

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'Tis far better to walk alone than to follow a crowd or an a**hole going the wrong way.
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