Georgia to kick off 2nd annual Coyote Challenge in March

“Currently, scientific research suggests that removal of coyotes during the spring and summer is the most advantageous time to reduce the impact of predation on native wildlife,” said Georgia DNR Commissioner Mark Williams (Photo: DNR)

“Currently, scientific research suggests that removal of coyotes during the spring and summer is the most advantageous time to reduce the impact of predation on native wildlife,” said Georgia DNR Commissioner Mark Williams (Photo: DNR)

An event sponsored by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources aims to protect native wildlife from coyote predation while offering hunters a chance at free lifetime hunting licenses.

The Georgia Coyote Challenge is set to begin March 1 and run through August with two goals: to educate sportsmen that coyotes can be hunted and trapped year-round, and to trim the number of the predators at large during crucial birthing periods for species such as deer, rabbit, and turkey.

“Currently, scientific research suggests that removal of coyotes during the spring and summer is the most advantageous time to reduce the impact of predation on native wildlife,” said Georgia DNR Commissioner Mark Williams in the challenge’s inaugural year. “We want to encourage coyote removal efforts during this critical period.”

Hunters who take a coyote in the state and email a photo of the animal to DNR will be entered in one of three drawings held during the contest. As many as 10 entries are accepted per hunter and winners will receive a lifetime permit, which normally cost as much as $750. To keep people honest, officials have a no-roadkill rule, stating that “any photo of an ear-notched coyote, obvious roadkill or clearly old/rotten carcass will be disqualified.”

Coyotes are listed as a non-native invasive species and, as noted by the Athens Banner-Herald, as many as 50,000 are taken in Georgia each year. DNR officials say there are a number of negative interactions between humans and coyotes in the state “including the killing of pets, livestock and public safety and health.”

Some in Georgia, namely the Atlanta Coyote Project, object to the contest, calling it “both inhumane and unwise.”

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