The effectiveness of selective removal of breeding coyotes in reducing sheep predation

Karen M. Blejwas, Benjamin Sacks, Michael M. Jaeger, Dale R. McCullough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


We evaluated the effect on sheep losses of selectively removing breeding coyotes (canis latrans) from territories experiencing depredations. Breeding pairs of coyotes were the primary predators of sheep, and they killed sheep only within or on the periphery of their territories. Removal of either or both members of a breeding pair reduced or eliminated predation in that territory during the subsequent 3-month period. Killing of sheep by coyotes resumed sooner in territories that overlapped lambing pastures than in those that did not. For territories with access to lambs, the average time interval until killing of lambs resumed (43 days) approximated the time for a replacement pair of coyotes to become established. Removals of breeding coyotes during the nonlambing season did not reduce losses during the following lambing season. Although <33% as many coyotes were removed per unit time during selective control as during nonselective control, lambing-season lamb losses were lowest during the selective removal period. During the nonlambing period (when predation on sheep was low) sheep losses were similar under selective, nonselective, and no control. These results suggest that selective targeting of breeding coyotes, which is more socially acceptable than nonselective population reduction, also can be more effective in reducing sheep losses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-462
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Wildlife Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Breeding status
  • California
  • Canis latrans
  • Control
  • Coyote
  • Depredation
  • Livestock protection collar
  • Predation
  • Selective removal
  • Sheep
  • Wildlife damage management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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