WINOOSKI, Vt. – Vermont Fish and Wildlife officials were in Winooski on Tuesday, part of a statewide tour to inform hunters and the public about the important role coyotes play in the ecosystem.
Coyotes are considered by some a polarizing species because they compete for deer and can pose a safety risk, said wildlife biologist Kimberly Royar. She said a similar attitude lead to a bounty on wolves in the 1600s that eventually lead to their extinction in the region.
Royar, the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Furbearer Project Leader, said coyotes and wolves are “a very nuanced topic.
“You really need to have some time to go into depth about a lot of the science behind how coyotes got here, what their genetic makeup is and how they fit into the current ecosystem,” she said.
Coyotes can be hunted any time of the year in Vermont. But state wildlife officials say that exterminating them would cause habitat loss, while potentially eliminating other natural predators.
Also on hand was David Person, a wildlife ecologist, who detailed his 22 years of research on coyotes and wolves in Alaska.
Vermont’s coyote population fluctuates between 4,500 and 8,000 coyotes.