Animals

Coyotes in Massachusetts: Population, Common Locations, Hunting Rules, and More

Where do you think you could come across a coyote? in Idaho’s mountains? in New Mexico’s deserts? Yes, but no matter where you live in North America, don’t be shocked if you also see one on your video doorbell. These days, coyotes can be found in every state in the US, excluding Hawaii, as well as Alaska, Canada, and Mexico.

We are familiar with these untamed cousins of domestic dogs and wolves in Massachusetts. All areas of the state are home to coyotes: rural, suburban, and urban; the only areas that are coyote-free are Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. We’ll discover more about coyotes in Massachusetts in this post, including information on their population, habits, and hunting regulations.

Coyotes in Massachusetts Are BIG

In Massachusetts, there are roughly 12,000 coyotes overall. In comparison to the west, they are notably larger in the eastern United States. Coyotes from the east can weigh up to 50 pounds, whereas those from the west only weigh 30 pounds. They also exhibit peculiar colors of pale brown, black, and red. Genetic researchers explain that this is all due to the fact that domestic dogs and wolves are mating with eastern coyotes to produce hybrids known as “coydogs.”

For residents of this East Coast state, what level of concern is appropriate? Only ten coyote assaults on humans have been reported in the previous 60 years. However, attacks might become more common and lethal in the future if their population grows and their size keeps growing. This is one of the reasons coyote population control is crucial.

Meet the Wiley Coyote
Can a Coyote Catch a Roadrunner?

No matter how much dynamite Wile E. Coyote used, he was never able to catch the fast-moving roadrunner in the old Looney Tunes cartoons. In reality, a roadrunner’s top speed is only 26 mph, but coyotes may go up to 43 mph! In the areas of the country where roadrunners are found, coyotes frequently feast on them.

But more often than not, they consume carrion together with small mammals including squirrels, raccoons, mice, and rats. They also have no problem snatching small dogs and cats. Because they are omnivores, they also like a little salad made of fruits, vegetables, and grains like maize. Thus, the coyote is a creature that will loot not only your doghouse but also your henhouse and garden.

What Do Coyotes Look Like?

Coyotes resemble wolves in appearance but are smaller. They weigh only 20 to 50 pounds and have a shoulder height of roughly 2 feet. That’s approximately the size of a shepherd from Australia. Their length, measured from nose to tail, ranges from 3.3 to 4.3 feet. Their rough fur appears as grey on the belly, brown on the back, and white on the front. Their tails are bushy and have black ends that resemble paint dipped hair, and their legs are frequently reddish in color.

What Do Coyotes Do?

Coyotes hunt in groups or individually, depending on the situation. While teamwork is always preferable, a lone coyote can nevertheless down a deer or other large animal by tormenting it and biting its hindquarters and legs to cause bleeding wounds. The predator can go straight for the kill while the victim weakens and loses blood. They are opportunistic hunters who seek out the simplest prey, whether it highway detritus or an overturned trash can in front of your home. Naturally, if you leave a dish of leftover dog food outside overnight, you’re essentially inviting coyotes and other wildlife into your yard.

The best indicator that coyotes are nearby is to listen for their nighttime howling, barking, and yipping at one another. Hopefully, you’re not sleeping in a tent with only a thin layer of cloth protecting you, but rather safe and sound in your own bed at home.

What’s Good About Coyotes in Massachusetts?

Coyotes are not inherently a terrible thing if they live in your neighborhood. After all, they routinely remove animal carcasses that have been abandoned by the side of the road or in the forest, as well as mice, rats, skunks, opossums, raccoons, foxes, rabbits, and reptiles. They assist in taming stray cats as well. Cats are among the most destructive invading species on the continent, against popular belief! They seriously harm bird species and number over 70 million. Coyotes tend to avoid human contact unless they are extremely hungry and grow frantic, since they are searching for the quickest meal available.

What’s Not So Good About Coyotes in Massachusetts?

Coyotes do really eliminate pest species and control the number of wild animals, but they also take the lives of domestic animals like dogs and cats as well as small cattle. They can infect domestic dogs with the diseases they carry. They can also impregnate pet dogs, so if you haven’t had your female dog spayed, you’ll have to deal with half-wild coydogs. When they scavenge for roadkill, they may end up as roadkill themselves, endangering other drivers, particularly at night.

The issue might also be exacerbated by people. For instance, they may develop more confident in approaching people if they are fed or given free reign to raid dumpsters and trash cans. Some may think they are dogs and approach too closely for safety, or they may attempt to frighten them away without a weapon only to discover the animal defends its territory and strikes when approached too closely. Even when people are only a few feet away from a yard, a bold coyote may attempt to steal a pet from there.

The Pros and Cons of Hunting Coyotes
The Pros of Hunting Coyotes

Advocates of hunting in general, and coyote hunting specifically, point out that hunting can be a component of a strategy to control animal populations more humanely than the natural process would. The number of coyotes would have decreased if mankind hadn’t decimated the wolf, bear, or mountain lion populations. However, in many of their habitats, coyotes are left without natural predators since people have eradicated these dangerous huge animals that were close to populated areas.

As the top predators among all predators, humans must intervene to preserve ecological equilibrium. Overpopulation would eventually cause sickness and hunger in the inflated coyote population by depleting prey species. A sick and ravenous pack of coyotes would pose a much greater threat to humans and household pets. The remaining coyotes in their environmental niche can remain healthy, untamed, and well-fed if hunting manages to keep their population in check.

The Cons of Hunting Coyotes

It is a contentious subject for animal lovers to discuss hunting. Hunting may not be as effective at controlling animal populations as it is hyped to be. For instance, research has indicated that coyotes may reproduce more frequently when they are hunted for unknown reasons. Wild boar behavior observation demonstrates that hunting has the power to alter the animals’ eating habits and disperse them into other areas.

The fact that hunters may unintentionally transfer a species into a new area in order to establish a local hunting stock for themselves is one of the main issues with permitting hunting. This contributes to the fact why coyotes and wild boars are so extensively distributed across the nation today. Without a doubt, a variety of tactics—both deadly and non-lethal—are required to address this complex issue.

Hunting Coyotes in Massachusetts Laws For Hunting Coyotes

In Massachusetts, the coyote hunting season begins on the first Saturday following Columbus Day and lasts until March 8th of the following year. Except during shotgun deer season, when hunting hours stop 30 minutes after sunset, hunting hours begin 30 minutes before sunrise and end at midnight. While out-of-state visitors require a small game or big game license, residents of Massachusetts are required to possess a hunting or sports license. No bag limits apply. With a valid trapping license, hunters who are 12 years of age or older are allowed to trap.

With some restrictions, hunters are permitted to use shotguns, rifles, handguns, muzzleloaders, and archery equipment. Throughout the season, decoys and bait can be employed at any time. Dogs and electronic or manual calls are only allowed during the non-shotgun deer season. In the state, it is forbidden to hunt coyotes with artificial lights. In addition, hunters have to take their kills out of the forest and put them to some use, like obtaining the pelt or preserving the animal for taxidermy. Kills have to be reported online or to an official check station within 48 hours, and the animal has to have a confirmation number attached to it until it’s ready to be mounted, tanned, or sold.

When and Where is Best to Hunt Coyotes in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, about 500 coyotes are murdered annually. It’s not always the goal of hunters to catch a coyote. During hunting season, several of them take advantage of the situation and shoot one while waiting for deer in a blind. Since coyotes are nocturnal hunters, it is best to hunt in the evening and early morning when they depart for their dens. Because of the abundance of small food attracted to the water supply and aquatic life, they prefer to establish their homes close to streams and swampy areas. Coyotes respond better to calls throughout the winter because they are more hungry than they would have been during the more plentiful periods of the year.

Some of the state’s top locations for coyote hunting, according to hunters:

  • Blue Hills Reservation, just outside Boston.
  • Wompatuck State Park, Hingham.
  • The towns of Plymouth and Marshfield
  • Quabbin Reservoir
  • Wachusett Mountain State Reservation, Princeton
  • Rutland State Park
  • Mount Greylock State Reservation
  • Berkshire East Ski Area (in the off-season)

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Coyotes Are Not Going Anywhere Soon

Animal stories too frequently tell depressing tales of threatened species struggling to survive against encroaching humans. On the other hand, the coyote is a huge success story. It is a species that has adapted to the drastically altered and frequently artificial habitat that humans have produced. Coyotes will continue to wander our fields, villages, and cities as long as their population is under control. We are also reminded that, despite our modern advancements, we are still animals of the wild when we hear coyotes howling at the moon.