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Coyotes in Florida

The Highlands County Florida Cattlemen Association Board has a monthly meeting where they discuss upcoming industry events and local happenings for producers.  This monthly meeting is a way to learn what our producers are faced with, what they are currently working through, and strategies on how to solve problems.  The current president has begun bringing in guest speakers that are experts in their field for the members to learn from.

This past Friday, the guest speaker had a side job of assisting producers in eliminating coyotes and feral hogs from their properties.  During his hour presentation, I learned SO much about coyotes that I had never thought of before! Being a cattle producer myself, I have recently encountered coyotes on our cattle operation at night.  They have been yipping like crazy and we have been nervous about them getting our new calves and have been considering eradicating them ourselves…however I learned much from Friday’s guest speaker and don’t plan on getting rid of our coyotes yet!

Based on what I learned, here are a few pointers when dealing with wild coyotes:

  • Coyote’s diet:
    • 1/3 insects (LOVE mole crickets)
    • 1/3 berries
    • 1/3 meat (mostly small animals including rabbits, birds, rodents, etc.)
  • Coyote’s don’t typically target calves or cows for their meat source- if they begin to catch your livestock, then it’s time to get rid of the coyotes.
  • If the coyotes on your land has NOT yet killed a calf or cow, DON’T get rid of them…a new pair of coyotes can come in and eat the cattle as their meat source.
  • Out of the hundreds that were found in Central Florida, only 1 had mange.
  • During the winter months, coyotes will become more vocal because it is their mating season.
  • A litter of pups can range from 6-12 pups, but only about 50% survival rate.
  • Many people hear the yipping and think there are many coyotes, but only a pair (male + female) will occupy a territory. Some areas have seen three coyotes (alpha male + male + female), but this is rare.
  • Once the pups are old enough, they will leave the parents in search of their own partners and to create their own territories.
  • A “territory” normally has boundary lines such as a road, a ditch, or a fence line.
  • Many people assume that a donkey or a mule in a herd will be enough protection…however at night the donkey/mule can only see the coyotes by scent or visual detection. Our guest speaker has seen many times at night where the coyotes are beside the donkey’s and never detected.

A study was conducted on coyotes and their impact on livestock operations in Central Florida.  Click here if you would to learn more about this fascinating creature!

http://rcrec-ona.ifas.ufl.edu/pdf/publications/ona-reports/2015/February/or2-15.html

 

 

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