I 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.