Every winter across America a new breed of hunters take to the field, coyote hound hunters. While hunting coyotes has long been a favorite sport to those looking to take advantage of the year-round open season or no bag limit restrictions in most states, hunting coyotes with other dogs as a sport is growing.
With the argument that coyotes are an abundant “out-of-control” predator threatening livestock and pets, most states like Wisconsin allow coyotes to be hunted with a variety of means including hounds. Most coyote hound hunters use their dogs to hunt bear, bobcat and other game as well. But in the off-season, it’s coyotes that many hunt to keep their dogs in shape.
Today’s hound hunter couldn’t find a coyote in a cornfield, if it wasn’t for the Global Positioning Satelittes (GPS) collars fitted on each hound or the radios and trucks they use to corner and kill coyotes. Most hound hunters hunt in groups with packs of fresh dogs read to replace tired ones in a coyote chase, which can last hours and dozens of miles. Often when coyote hound hunters “bay” their prey, that is corner and surround it, coyote hounds are then encouraged to fight and kill the exhausted coyote.
The winter of 2020-2021 has been a busy one for coyote hound hunters who use private Facebook groups to share photos and videos of their legalized cruelty. Wolf Patrol monitors these pages, reporting any violations to the appropriate state wildlife agency, but what we’ve discovered in our conversations with multiple conservation officers in different states is that most of the cruelty is perfectly legal, as most states categorize coyotes as a non-game animal.
Wisconsin is just one of many states allowing hound hunters as well as any hunting group, to competitively hunt coyotes in what are known as “coyote contests.” Often held in rural bars, these killing contests offer cash and prizes for the most, heaviest and often smallest coyote killed. When the contestants have gone home, many of those animals killed are simply disposed of because of damage done to the fur by dogs and bullets.
Coyote hunting with hounds isn’t hunting, it’s legalized dog-fighting. Unable to escape from pursuing hounds up a tree like bears, bobcats or raccoons, many coyotes spend their final tired moments being physically torn apart by dogs as their owners offer encouragement.
Please contact your state wildlife department, natural resources board or wildlife commission and let them know that hunting coyotes with hounds needs to regulated with a season, bag limit, tags and quotas like other legal hunting. Otherwise your state will continue to allow what can only be called legalized dog-fighting.
If you would like to start your own Wolf Patrol chapter to investigate and monitor coyote hunting with hounds in your own state, please contact us and we will help you get started!