No reports of coyotes being shot were filed during the first week hunting coyotes was allowed in Delaware. “The bottom line is that there is not a cornucopia of coyotes to choose from in Delaware,” said Division of Fish and Wildlife Director Dave Saveikis.
While a specified coyote hunting and trapping season has been determined, under new state regulations, landowners or their agents are permitted to shoot coyotes on their property at any time during the year.
The state has established a hunting season from Sept. 1 to the last day of February and a trapping season from Dec. 1 through March 10. Public hearings delayed the start of the first season, which officially got underway Jan. 11; after Feb. 28, the season will commence again in September. “Any coyote taken before Jan. 11 was taken illegally,” Saveikis said.
“These new wildlife regulations are based on modern wildlife management science, with the coyote hunting and trapping seasons designed to manage the coyote population at biologically and socially acceptable levels,” Saveikis said. “The combination of coyote hunting and trapping seasons to manage the coyote population and the secretary’s order authorizing landowners to protect themselves and their property from coyotes provide the tools needed to address Delaware’s relatively small coyote population.”
According to state officials, documented coyote sightings are not new in any of Delaware’s three counties. Trail cameras mounted by the Delaware Nature Society recently shot photos of a coyote attracted to a bait station. At least one coyote has been identified at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Sussex County. Several years ago, a coyote was struck on a Kent County road and another was killed along Route 202 in New Castle County.
Landowners can shoot coyotes any time during the year
The secretary’s order allows Delaware landowners or their agents to take coyotes, with no permit needed, on the landowner’s property at any time when coyotes present an imminent threat of injury to, or are in the act of injuring, humans, livestock or domestic animals, subject to the following conditions:
• Coyotes may be taken with a rimfire or centerfire rifle up to .25 caliber, shotgun, muzzle-loading rifle/shotgun, longbow or crossbow
• Firearms including archery equipment must be used in accordance and compliance with all state and local firearm laws, regulations or ordinances
Coyotes taken under this order must be reported to the Division of Fish and Wildlife within one business day by calling 302-735-3600. The information will help officials determine the animals' habitat and numbers to evaluate impact on landowners and help develop appropriate management practices.
The new wildlife regulations are posted on DNREC’s website at www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Hunting/Pages/Reg-Changes.aspx.