GEORGETOWN, Del. (AP) — Delaware officials are proposing new rules to allow hunting and trapping of coyotes.
The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is proposing a change to allow hunters to seek out and kill coyotes from November through February. Coyotes could be trapped from Dec. 10 to March 10, under proposals introduced this month for public comment.
Landowners may shoot coyotes on their own lands, according to Division of Fish & Wildlife Director Dave Saveikis.
The number of Eastern coyotes in Delaware is estimated to be fewer than 100, he said.
While spotting the animals in Delaware is rare, they are living and breeding in all three of the state’s counties.
“They do reproduce very fast,” Saveikis said. “We know they will alter the ecosystem.”
Hunters groups and farmers, who have sought hunting and trapping for two years, are pushing for extended or year-round coyote hunting to keep the population from growing and to a size that could menace the deer population and livestock.
“Delaware is putting the landowners and the citizens behind the eight ball by starting out this conservative,” said Chip West, a landowner and the president of the state’s Quality Deer Management Association chapter.
The Delaware Nature Society has opposed previous year-round hunting bills because coyote pups could have been left without mothers, but Brenna Goggin, an environmental advocate with the group said she supports the proposed rules because they don’t allow hunting during breeding season.
The Sussex County Council unanimously voted for a resolution supporting a year-round coyote season.
“I’m an animal lover and all that, but I don’t want them on our farms,” Councilwoman Joan Deaver said of coyotes. “And I sure don’t want them in my district.”