Killed for more than a century as pests, coyotes have survived and spread from the West across much of the United States, occupying the ecological niche wolves once did. They have even expanded into cities. Coyotes usually eat small prey such as mice and rabbits, keeping rodent populations in check. People can coexist peacefully with coyotes by keeping cats indoors, removing bird seed and pet food from backyards and “hazing” animals who become too familiar with humans—driving them away through nonlethal means such as shouting and spraying water.
Evolved to survive constant attacks by wolves, who are bigger and stronger, coyote packs quickly replenish when their members are killed.
Unless human-caused deaths disrupts their social systems, only alpha male and females coyotes breed. Younger, less dominant animals in packs and transient coyotes outside packs do not breed, limiting coyote numbers naturally.
Contests often target coyotes, offering prizes that encourage hunters to kill as many as possible. Vermont and California have banned these contests and Colorado limits them. The Humane Society of the United States has produced a toolkit to help you take action in your home state.