From March until August, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division is promoting the Georgia Coyote Challenge. This program not only encourages the lethal removal of coyotes for wildlife management purposes, but also presents participants with an opportunity to win a lifetime hunting/fishing license (or credit for purchase)—thanks to the Georgia Hunting and Fishing Federation. This program was developed for the management of wildlife in Georgia, which is an important factor for conservation of our natural resources.
Luckily, the federal excise tax placed on sporting equipment makes it possible for the Wildlife Resources Division to keep our wildlife populations healthy and diverse. This is all thanks to hunters and anglers purchasing this equipment and the proper licensing for its use. With this revenue our state’s professional wildlife biologists can perform studies to better understand our ecosystems and best manage any current and future issues. Currently, concerns are high about coyotes moving in on metropolitan areas and preying on domestic animals. Through scientific evaluation, it has been determined that the span of time between March and August is optimal for the lethal removal of coyotes for the conservation of all native wildlife, including the coyote. Another great outcome of the Georgia Coyote Challenge is the opportunity to educate hunters who are unsure of regulations in relation to coyotes. In the state of Georgia, coyotes are not—and have never been—a protected species. Their ability to adapt quickly and exploit resources keeps these animals abundant, and the increased sightings around human developments calls for the regulation of their numbers. In addition, despite the 5 per month entry limit, the season for coyotes is open year round and there are no bag limits.
DNR RESPONSE TO STATEMENTS OF MISINFORMATION
“DNR is supposed to be protecting the diversity of wildlife”
The mission of the Department of Natural Resources is to sustain, enhance, protect and conserve Georgia’s natural, historic and cultural resources for present and future generations, while recognizing the importance of promoting the development of commerce and industry that utilize sound environmental practices. The mission of the Wildlife Resources Division is to conserve, enhance and promote Georgia’s fish and wildlife resources and outdoor heritage (i.e., hunting, trapping, fishing, wildlife watching) through science-driven research, management, regulation and education.
The Georgia Coyote Challenge is consistent with and supported by the DNR and WRD missions.
“Other states have banned similar contests”
There is only one state to have prohibited coyote contests – California. Specifically, California’s approach does not actually prohibit contests; it only prohibits the offering of a prize for the taking of a furbearer or nongame mammal in an individual contest. In California, coyotes may be taken year round (i.e., there is no closed season and no bag limit).
Many other states have recognized that the prevention and management of wildlife conflicts is an essential and responsible component of wildlife management and have used programs similar to the coyote challenge as a tool in addressing the negative impacts of unmanaged predator populations.
“Hard data showing that coyotes significantly impact the populations of other wildlife species is scant to nonexistent”
This is incorrect. In brief review of published literature since 2005, wildlife biologists and researchers have produced more than 29 scientific, peer-reviewed publications documenting significant impacts of coyote predation to fawn survival alone. Further, more than 80% of these were conducted in the Southeast and 40% were specific to Georgia.
“Recent studies in South Carolina concluded that the negative impact of coyotes on deer populations is minimal (Kilgo et al., 2016)”
This is false. The referenced 2016 study concluded that the impact of coyote predation on adult female deer was minimal on the Savannah River Site, however the introduction of that journal article specifically notes that multiple studies have documented the high level of coyote predation on white-tailed deer fawns in the Southeast.
“Coyote ‘removal’ will not reduce the population long-term.”
We agree, and we never stated that the goal of this program was to reduce the statewide coyote population. This program is designed to complement and recognize the existing lethal removal of coyotes by hunters to more effectively manage the impacts of coyote predation on native wildlife and minimize the negative interactions between humans and coyotes including the killing of pets, livestock and public safety and health.
“Initiating this in March is intended to coincide with pup-rearing season.”
This program is focused on this time period (March-August) because the best available peer-reviewed science shows that lethal removal of coyotes during this time period is most effective for reducing negative impacts from coyote predation on native wildlife.
“The ‘Georgia Coyote Challenge’ is a misguided attempt to reduce state coyote numbers”
Again, the Georgia Coyote Challenge is not designed to reduce the statewide coyote population, and we never stated that the goal of this program is to reduce the statewide coyote population. The Georgia Coyote Challenge is a program that highlights a management strategy available to citizens to maintain a biologically appropriate balance of predators and prey.
This is a good thing.
Yes, I am looking forward to the Coyote Challenge. Just wanted to know what kind of license do I have to have to participate in the contest???
I am not in support of the coyote challenge. It unfairly targets one species as responsible for a reduction in the deer population. Coyotes reduce the feral cat problem. We need a feral cat challenge. Deer populations in our area, athens ga, are huge and we hear coyotes too at night. This is setting a dangerous precedent.
Who ever was complaining has not had their family pet taken off by a coyote
Is there any way to put a check station in the west ga area carroll, heard troup county area,,the closest checkstaion to the peidmont area is 2,1/2/ Hrs away
OK, so how do we “enter” the Coyote Challenge?
Your first paragraph states “This program not only encourages the lethal removal of coyotes for wildlife management purposes,” yet your FAQ claims this is not an attempt to reduce populations. This is inconsistent at best, and may best be described as contradictory.
You state this is an opportunity to increase education about coyote hunting. With the recent confusing changes to deer hunting rules, isn’t there more need to educate people about deer hunting?
If you are offering a chance at a lifetime hunting license with a value of $500, this can accurately be called a bounty. While I am not against coyote hunting, I am against bounties because they have little if any value, and are not a fiscally sound idea.
How do I join this challenge? Is there a sign up form
Dr. Brad Bergstrom
The white-tailed deer population of Georgia increased by a thousand-fold throughout the 20th Century (read Larry Harris’s “The Fragmented Forest”). This is mostly the result of the vast increase in their edge habitat caused by fragmentation due to development and agriculture. Concomitant with this was the extirpation of red wolves, a forest species that preyed on deer. GaDOT is now wiping out the public’s trees in the public right-of-way to put up 8-foot fencing to prevent all deer from crossing the road (i.e., dispersing) because there’s too many of them and not nearly enough hunters to control their populations. More people are killed by deer than almost any other wildlife species. More biodiversity is wiped out by overabundant deer than almost any other wildlife species. So coyotes, which adapt well to forest and edge habitats, are starting to replace red wolves in their role of curbing an overabundance of deer. So they kill deer fawns. So what! That’s their job. There are too damn many deer! You need to disabuse yourself of the management derangement syndrome that you can “fix” everything by more killing. You need to finally get out of the business of deer and turkey farming and let nature seek its own level. Even the deer and turkeys will be better off!
Can you turn them in at local dnr
You still make ZERO case for this program. If reduction of population is not a goal, how is this “management”? None of us understand why you are doing it, or what value there could possibly be. Why not instead open a summer season for Canada Geese, which are not supposed to be here that time of year, and actually are a real nuisance? And your photo of 2 coyotes attacking a deer is clearly nothing but propaganda intended to put coyotes in a negative light.
I am not against hunting, or against specifically hunting coyotes. But this program seems to be a waste of effort and appears to be nothing more than an attempt to try to further bias people against an animal that has filled an important niche ***that was created due to similar bounties on wolves***.
This whole project is misguided, disgraceful, and embarrassing.
Charles, “reading is fundamental”.
If you even briefly surveyed the text–along with
checking the title and looking at the single photo–
you’d know it’s not a bounty program.
Steve, it took you 7 months to come up with that snarky, useless reply? Maybe you need to actually read my comments, yourself. Yes, it is bounty. You kill the animal, take pics, enter them into a contest to win a lifetime license. This is biologically unsound, 1950’s era “management.” There are SO MANY other things they could be doing than this foolishness.
By the way, I add my full name, because I stand my my comments. I don’t hide behind a keyboard.
As suggested earlier–READ it.
It’s not a bounty program.
What are some of the “SO MANY other things” that could be done–
with beneficial results?