The Natural Resources Commission unanimously approved an amendment to the Wildlife Conservation Order to allow year-round coyote hunting and allowing the use of #3 and #4 buckshot at night. Both were MUCC resolutions sponsored by the Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association. Special recognition is due to MTPCA president Dale Hendershot and past president John Caretti, who have testified at the NRC on behalf of their organization urging consideration and adoption of these provisions for years. MUCC also testified in support of the provisions.
(Photo by Dave Kenyon, Michigan Department of Natural Resources)
The new coyote regulations expand daytime coyote hunting year round, nighttime coyote hunting with an artificial light year round, and includes the use of #3 and #4 buckshot. However, it's important to note that the quiet period restricting the use of hounds to hunt coyotes between April 16 and July 7 is maintained, and the order did not affect coyote trapping regulations.
In recent results from the Michigan Predator-Prey Study in the Upper Peninsula, coyotes had more impact on deer than other predator species in the study area, accounting for 22% of the identifiable deer kills in the study area. However, that is one factor of many factors, including habitat, that affect deer populations. The expanded regulations aren't expected, nor designed, to be a solution to the coyote problem or deer numbers on their own. It's simply another tool in the toolbox that hunters can use to more effectively manage coyotes in their local areas.
Still, this is a significant expansion of hunting opportunity. The Humane Society of the United States fought against these changes, testifying at multiple NRC meetings against them and using many of the same misleading and outright untrue arguments that they use in every attack on expanded hunting opportunities, from wolves to urban and suburban deer. But sound science won the day; even they couldn't argue that this change will negatively impact the hunted species.
And it's always a good thing when sound science beats HSUS.