Michigan’s Coyote Numbers?

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coyote_109124_7I first noticed the coyote presence in Southern Michigan about 13 years ago.  I meandered out my parents back door,  heading towards a prominent local farming family’s land in search of my first deer kill, and ran across a couple animal carcasses.  After carefully checking them over, I recognized them as sheep.  I thought that was pretty odd, considering that the closest farm that had sheep was at least two miles – as the crow flies – away.

After talking to the land owner, and telling them what we had found, we learned about the coyote problem that was only beginning for the central and southern Lower Peninsula of Michigan.  These sheep carcasses had been drug over 2 miles by a pack of coyotes, and the land owners instructed us that, if we saw a coyote, we could take care of it without a problem.   Little did I know that this was only the beginning of the coyote sign I would come across in the next few years.

It didn’t take long before Jeff and I were having to run coyotes off of our fresh deer kills.  We started – because of the new coyote threat – to take that into consideration before we let a deer lay for too long.  We know that in some situations it’s the best thing to do in order to recover game, but knowing that the ‘yotes were lurking made you start to track an arrowed deer a little sooner then you would have before.

Now, even with all of this coyote evidence, at this point in time – approximately 10 years ago – we still had yet to actually see a coyote;  that didn’t take long, however.  We eventually started to see coyotes here and there, and actually had a couple opportunities to take a few out of the food chain before long.  They were starting to become a fact of life in the southern portion of the state – and that continues until this day.

I was reading a post on Rick’s site the other day, and it prompted me to do a little research into what the actual coyote numbers in Michigan are.  Unfortunately, I can’t find any solid numbers; nor can I find out why coyotes were introduced into Michigan in the first place.  I did find it interesting, however, that on the Michigan DNR’s website it specifically states that “coyotes have dispersed into Southern Michigan without assistance from the DNR.”  That almost sounds like someone feels guilty about the increasing number of devil dogs in the Lower Peninsula doesn’t it?  I found that very interesting.

The Michigan DNR site also states that “Coyote numbers decrease in the central and southern portions of the Lower Peninsula”.  I have to be somewhat objectional, because I don’t spend very much time in the northern Lower Peninsula, nor the Upper Peninsula, but I’m finding this statement a little hard to believe.  Since that time, when I first stumbled across the sheep carcasses, I’ve seen – with my own two eyes – the coyote numbers increase dramatically in the southern part of the state.  It used to be that you didn’t see coyotes, and now we see them in broad daylight – crossing roads, and running deer.  Coyotes used to be mystical, and something that were rarely seen, but in the last few years that has all changed.  Now you hear of coyotes attacking small pets, and wandering through suburban areas – all signs that their population is dramatically increasing.

We have all vowed to do our part to help with the coyote problem, and since they have no real predators around here other than hunters, we are going to try and do our part to reduce their numbers a little bit.  At this point in time, and without any other options on the table, that is the only thing we can do.

I’m still curious, though, as to why coyotes were introduced into Michigan;  and I would love to know what the actual coyote numbers are in the southern portion of the state.

Coyotes are definitely a problem, and if anyone reading this has any Michigan coyote information to share, I would love to hear it.

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89 Comments

  • Rick,

    I work in and around Lansing, and I’ve seen coyotes cross very busy streets, near very populated areas. I think the coyotes population is exploding, and I would be the first to guess that they are definitely seeing them in the Ypsi/Ann Arbor area. They’re everywhere!

  • My husband and I live near Burt lake between Indian River and Alanson. We first noticed coyote presence about 6 years ago when one walked right across our front yard and out into an open field.
    Since that time they have multiplied quite a bit. We now have at least three different packs in the vacinity of our neighborhood. We had one come in the yard after my dog last year. Thank goodness my dog ran to the house.
    This past week I was walking with my dog at my side and I had 3 jump mout of the bushes at us. I began yelling and flailing my arms around and two left right away. One however, felt it was nessecary to stick around a little longer. I just kept yelling and it finally went back into the field behind a small swail.
    I got back to the house and told my husband I am not going out without a gun from now on. All this happened about 7:00 p.m. not even dark yet.

  • PA Man - Coyotes 0 Me 27

    I hate coyotes, i used to see them very rarely in western PA but they are starting to become common in my area. some probly kill deer an i like to hunt so i kill coyotes on sight, i keep a rifle in my truck at al times and there is no law protecting foreign animals lke them so i get em. the last one i shot i didnt outright kill it i intentionally shot it in the back paralyzing it in a shallow creek. it was raining so i knew in a hour the water would go over its head an kill it that way. thats how much i like coyotes. :)

  • I love coyotes. They are one of the last signs of wilderness left. I can’t understand why people are so ignorant. Hearing a pack of coyotes at night is exhilerating. You should be ashamed for the wanton killing of something just because you have some juvenile fear of it. Those who keep loaded weapons in their vehicle to “kill coyotes on sight” are blood simple mouth breathing morons.

  • Is it legal to kill Coyote in Michigan?

  • It sure is. There is a season for them, you can trap them, and you can kill on them on private property “if they have or are about to do damage”.

  • Just saw a coyote in Farmington Hills a couple days ago. Broad daylight headed towards a path in a wooded area. First time, I have seen one in real life. Wooded area has plenty of deer and small animals.

  • Just saw a coyote in Farmington Hills a couple days ago. Broad daylight headed towards a path in a wooded area. First time, I have seen one in real life. Wooded area has plenty of deer, cats, rabbits and other small animals. Wooded area has huge area of stacked tree branches, limbs and wood shelters. Path is used by dog walkers, like myself and school kids. Am a little scared now after seeing this coyote but what a beautiful animal. This land is their home as well. Animals, like us, just want to live and take care of their families.

  • I live in Clinton Twp.,Mi near 16 mile rd and we have a pack of 3 coyotes working the area. They will even follow adults when walking. Just east of here two coyotes killed an 8 point buck and a doe. It’s just a matter of time before someone gets hurt. I’ve had these coyotes come into my yard almost every night this week. I wish we could snare them in the suburbs.

  • I live in Rural Mason County Michigan. I have 10 wooded acres surrounded by lots of other wooded properties. In the past 6 years I have noticed a big increase in coyotes here. Twice I have shot bucks with my bow, and tracked them within 2 hrs, only to find a pack of coyotes had found them first (ruined the hind quarters). I also have seen a decline in deer sightings big time. This year on several occasions I heard packs of them howling in my woods…once as close as 100yds from my house. I am thinking I may have to shoot some, as the population seems very high, and they are causing problems with Deer hunting around here. With my work schedule, and limited time…this is one more challenge I don’t need. (The DNR already made it much tougher by banning baiting…Idiots! One captive, imported from Wyoming deer head at a taxidermy shop that only tested questionable and wasn’t confimed with CWD…..anyhow that’s a different topic. My point is between that and the coyotes…it almost isn’t worth hunting for deer anymore!

  • I live about 20 min west of Ann Arbor and we hear the coyotes here nightly. It really gets my dogs going. My dad had one come right up his driveway stalking his grandkids. My dad got the kids in the house but the coyote proceeded to come right up on his front porch. But while he was loading his gun it took off. They are getting very gutsy out here.

  • Seen on the local news station (WILX TV10 Lansing) recently that there have been many locals having problems with coyotes…I would like to help out these people, but I have no way of geeting their names and phone numbers to contact them. If you have any type of listing of those that need assistance in thinning out some coyotes…please contact me at my listed email address….Thanks

  • Lorin,

    I do not have any list of people who are experiencing problems with coyotes. Sorry.

  • I didn’t know anything about having coyotes in Mi, but two days ago I was looking out my kitchen window and saw what I originally thought was a grey fox. After looking it up on the internet I realized it was a coyote. We live in a suburb of Muskegon, and have nevewr heard of a problem before. This animal was within 50 feet from my back door, and did not appear even slightly frightened when I opened the door to take a closer look.. I have a cat that patrols the back yard. Now I worry about her. Can coyotes climb trees? We have a large growing deer and turkey population.

  • On the way into work this week, I have seen two separate coyotes killed on the highway. Both were near I-96/ M-6… Suburban GR…This is their breeding season which is why I think they’re out and about more than usual. I don’t think they need to be killed, but do think it’s good to be aware of their presence. I have small dogs and won’t let them go out in our fenced backyard at night alone anymore.

  • Coyotes live in Michigan naturally, they were not introduced. There numbers initially increased quite a while ago when the wolves were killed off. They are becoming more of a common site because we are spreading out into the rural areas more and more, and they are adapting to suburban and city life.

    Coyotes, even in a pack, can not kill a deer unless it is very injured or very sick. Most of the time, a coyote feeding on a deer is eating carrion, or a deer that was hit by a car and they finished it off/found it.

    It is legal to kill coyotes in Michigan, and you can sell their pelts, although the price has dropped quite a bit the last few years, as they are becoming more and more common.

    Coyotes, unless they have rabies or something like that, are not a danger to an adult human or a large dog. They do pose a danger to children and smaller dogs/pets.

    Coyotes DO pose a role in nature, just like wolves did. But there are too many, and pose a danger to children, as well as smaller animals and livestock. They need to be hunted, but not wiped out. I fully believe that they should be hunted ONLY, not trapped or poisoned.

    There is absolutely no way to be sure that a person or pet will not step in a trap, or that a pet will not get into poison. Killing with a gun is (normally) quick. A trap leaves an animal suffering before it dies, and poison is a very agonizing way to die no matter how fast.

    I don’t think any animal should suffer before it dies, no matter how “evil” it is. Even if you are a person that thinks that a “bad” animal deserves to suffer before it dies – it is wrong to risk a person or a pet with the traps and poison. Of course I know of many people who think it’s fun to poison pets – cats and dogs, so I know there is people out there who disagree.

  • We live in Holland MI, in a fairly populated area and we had a coyote chasing our 2 dogs last night in our backyard. Have never seen one in our area.

  • PA Man you are a troubled person! If we would stop moving into their natural habitat we wouldn’t be seeing them like we do now. They are an animal, they have one purpose and that is to survive. To kill it when it’s not a treat, to wound it so you can watch it drown, or to kill it because you think it hunts the deer you like to kill is the trait of a serial killer. I see them in my pasture with my horses and never have they attempted to attack them not even the older horses. I don’t leave trash around or temped them with barn cats and I keep my barn and pasture area’s clean so I don’t bring in rats to attract the coyotes closer.

    What some people are doing to these animals just because they are trying to survive would be like harming a child who doesn’t get feed at home so they steal food or eat out of trash cans.

  • Mattawan Michigan………

    Was in our 3 season room yesterday approx. 7pm and my 5 year old noticed an animal walking in the woods behind our house. As we monitored closely it was a coyote (30 yards from our house) walking on a semi cleared path. This is the first time I have seen a coyote yet heard our neigbors state thet have seen them. I do not hunt except chipmunks with a BB gun but may have to obtain a 22 shot gun. I worry about my 5 year old riding his bike or playing in the neigborhood.

  • This summer I’ve been hearing them a lot! about 30 min. after sunset them come out with their loud shrieking noises. I live in a wooded area just north of Battle Creek which is mostly rural with some neighbor houses. There are quite a few pets in the houses and it sounds like they sometimes get a hold of one. There are other times in the night where they will gather and attack the local animal population. This is the first summer I’ve really noticed them and they seem to be on the increase. We have a lot of deer so that probably explains it. It would definitely be a good idea to trim their numbers through targeted hunting. MI has enough problems with deer, let alone having to deal with coyotes.

  • I live in Howell Michigan. I hear a pack of them howling nearly every night. Last week, there was one in my front yard at 7:30 AM, less than 20 yards from my front door.

  • Coyotes were not indiginus to lower Michigan, They were brought down here to thin the deer herds at the request of the farm bureau and the big insurance companies. They are like humans and by instinct will dominate there enviroment. They have little fear of anything, till it hurts them first. The lady that said they are in ythe pasture with her horses, they are looking for offspring. I have seen them pull a calf out of the cow as it is being born. As for the person that is afraid of traps, the ones we use would not hurt you unless you put 1 finger in them. The animals do not suffer, most imes when we find one in a trap is is sleeping, I have had to throw a stick to wake them up before we could finish the process. They need to go!

  • We live in rural VanBuren county near Gobles. I’ve heard cyotes in the distance and stories of attacks on pets but thought they would stay away from human inhabited areas. Not so. On July 9th one of our outside cats was attacked and killed on our porch. Another was attacked 2 weeks later – she was able to escape with a fractured pelvis. We now lock the cats in the pole barn at night. We are not hunters but feel we have no choice but to try and get rid of these bold pests.

  • I live in Waterford MI. We’ve been seeing coyote for year in the back acres of our property. Lately they’ve been getting closer to our house. Last evening I saw one 50 feet from the house. I think their attracted to the fruit from our fruit trees and possibly the ground hogs. We’re missing our cat. Not a good situation.

  • On 11-10-11 while cutting the grass in the middle of the day in Jeddo Mi a coyote walked up within 20 feet of me looked at me then he walked away. They are getting out of control.

  • They are EVERYWHERE around our house. We live between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek, in a very rural area with just one street of houses. We are the 2nd to the last house on a cul-de-sac and our neighbors saw about 6-10 coyotes standing in our cul-de-sac about a year or so ago. We have seen them walking around in our backyards too. And just last night, my husband and I heard one REALLY close, so we went out onto our front porch and there the coyote stood….right in our cul-de-sac. Pacing back and forth. When he started howling, pretty soon we heard dozens of others start howling and they were REALLY close too. They are way too bold for my liking. We have dogs and small children. :/

  • seen a coyote in grand blanc mi. 3:30 in the afternoon 50 yards behind the house been missing the cats. I wonder if that is were they went. heard that at night but never seen one in the middle of the afternoon in the back yard.

  • coyotes will send in a female in heat to lure male dogs back to the pack and that will be the end of spot.female dogs are some times taken in to the pack.were i live in northeast mi.ihave seen black and tan hounds running with coyote i know this because they were my hounds that i had lost.a friend of mind kill one and brought it to my house to show me because he knew it was one of my dogs.so keep your dogs tied or pended or you can lose them.

  • I live on M-35 outside of Menominee,
    on Jan 3, 2011. We had two coyotes running the shorline.
    We have had them doing so since 2009.
    They seem to be hunting as there is two sometimes three.
    It was awesome to see as we are 8 miles from the city line, going south, that was the direction they were heading,
    later on , maybe 1 to 2 hrs. later we would see them coming back and heading north agsin, they were running fast and just that quick one slowed down, a dog caught up with it and then the attack began, was not good to see, I keep my pets closer now, I don’t want to lose them.

  • We are seeing the coyotes in Shelby Twp (Macomb Co.). Have not seen them here until 2011.

  • I am 45 I have been hunting since 12 years old coyotes will bring down deer and kill and eat large dogs cats and small live stock so whoever thinks that they wont I have seen it myself first hand.

  • Where are you located in southern mi? We are I’m hillsdale county,just in city limits and heard a coyote in our back yard last night..it has me very concerned as we have a small dog and small children. I’m certain if my husband gets the chance to shoot it he well.

  • I live in Dorr township by Hungry Horse camp ground and the Moose lodge. I had cooked a cows head in my oven (barbacoa)over night when it was warm so I left the windows open while cooking and after it was done and we removed the meat. My daughter wanted to keep the skull so my hubby took it outside and placed it high in the tree to dry out and maybe the bugs finish cleaning the bones off. The next day my dog took notice of something in the yard to which I never turned to look for myself to later find the head gone. I can only believe that it was a coyote that took the head because it’s to big for any other critter out there.

  • I found this thread after reading an article on M-Live. http://www.mlive.com/wayland/index.ssf/2012/06/rise_in_coyote_population_link.html

    The gist is that the huge increase in ticks in southern Michigan can be attributed the the coyote population explosion. The coyotes have been killing the foxes, who used to kill the mice, who carry the baby ticks. Without the foxes to control the mice, the tick population is booming.

  • Live in Wattles park and the past few nights heard alot of coyote chatter….I’m not far from the Ott preserve. Last night they were very active. I heard what sounded like 4 or 5 and i know the feral cat population has dropped like a rock.

  • In answer to one of the authors original questions:
    why coyotes were introduced into Michigan in the first place? I am quite sure coyotes were not introduced by anyone but themselves. The coyote was once purely a western animal. Sometime in the 1970’s they started spreading east. Most believe from losing territiory and bridges making it easy to cross the great rivers such as the Mississippi. And since bigger canines that could push them out such as wolves all but dissapeared in the east and no longer occupy eastern territory.This gave them a great oppourtunity to fill a major predator spot. Coyotes are very prolific and adapatable and over time they started showing up everywhere east of the mighty Miss. By the early 1990s, my original home state of MA literally saw an explosion of them. Now they are found everywhere in that state and the rest of New England including Cape Cod. I saw my first coyote in Vermont while turkey hunting in 1988. I have been fascinated with them ever since and spend a lot of time watching them and occasionally hunting them. I can attest to their behavior. I have seen it with my own eyes. They are extremely oppourtunistic. They do without a doubt prey on pets and will prey on smaller canines such as Fox. Just check the fox population in MA, they declined significantly as did the cottontail rabbit. I even witnessed a deer get chased out on to an ice covered cranberry bog pond and get slowly taken down by 3 coyotes as it skated around uslessly on its hooves.Brutal. They are here to stay and now rule the night.

  • I live in Clare and I’ve been hearing coyote’s very early in the morning. I hadn’t seen any until this afternoon. I have 5 acres and was walking my dog down a 2 track past my place and saw a dead coyote beside the 2 track. Somebody had shot and killed it. This is the first I’ve actually seen one around here and I’ve lived here since 1997. I have a small mix dog and a Rhodesian Ridgeback. I take them out early in the morning (before daybreak usually). I’m going to have to use particular caution from now on(especially with the little dog)when I let her out. About 2 weeks ago when I took them out in the morning the coyote’s noise was so loud I thought at first that it was EMT sirens going off. Then, I realized it must have been a pack that was feeding on something. Both of my dogs stopped and came back to the house. Kinda scarey when you think about it. I think it has something to do with the increase of rabbits that we had this year. They seemed to be everywhere. I guess I’ll have to keep my .22 loaded and by the door from now on.

  • We live in Chikaming Twp. Had seen a dead deer in the woods near our house and thought it was hit by a car and then wandered into the woods to die. But last night I heard dog-like howls and weird piercing wailing. In the morning, the deer had carcass had been eaten quite a bit. This is our first exposure to coyotes, so we are trying to do some research and found this website. Thanks for the information.

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