Coyotes are the only major fur-bearing animal that has no hunting limits in New Hampshire: You can shoot them any time of the year (although only during daytime, unless you have written landowner permission – night hunting is generally illegal in NH).
There’s an attempt to create a hunting season, preventing hunting from April to August when pups are whelping, but as I report in the Monitor that idea didn’t fly with a legislative committee. (The story is here).
Why are coyotes unique in hunting approach? Here’s my take:
The lack of any regulation on killing coyotes is partly due to history. Coyotes only arrived in the state in 1944 as part of a long eastern migration and didn’t start to become at all common until the 1970’s up north and later in the southern counties, reducing the need for any hunting season until fairly recently.
Further, many farming areas oppose limits on coyote hunting from fear that they will prey on livestock such as sheep and calves. And as coyotes have moved into suburbia similar concerns have been raised about them preying on family pets. Among those who opposed the bill to restrict coyote hunting was Aboul Kahn, R-Seabrook, who cited concern about dogs and cats from constituents in his built-up district.
Also, the story includes the best quote of the week:
Members weighed the comparative cruelty of killing female coyotes in spring and leaving unweaned pups to starve, versus leaving newborn fawns vulnerable to hungry coyotes in spring, when baby deer are a big part of coyotes’ diet.
This taste for fawns was conveyed colorfully by Raymond Howard, R-Alton, a longtime hunter, who said that when you’re in the New Hampshire woods in spring, “You can’t kick out a pile of scat without seeing little black hooves.”