I live out in the country on a few acres in NE TX. On clear nights, I frequently hear coyotes sing their songs all around the area in which I live. (Natural Surround Sound, indeed.) I know the approximate location of two or three dens, but I leave them be. I enjoy listening to the coyotes' music. It gives me comfort.
The wild hog population in my area is almost out of control. I have come across evidence that the coyotes hunt piglets and small pigs. I have also come across evidence that the local coyote population is increasing, perhaps in part because of the plentiful Happy Meals (for the coyotes) inherent within the pig population.
At one point some years ago, and strictly at my daughter's request, she and I raised tiny little chicken chicks and turkey babies on our land. The chicks and turkey babies grew and multiplied until the local coyotes became aware of their presence. The coyotes then began staging raids at night, and eventually grew so bold as to stage raids in the daytime. I personally have had the less than joyful experience of hearing terrified squawking noises at dawn, of throwing on my bathrobe and running out the side door with my 12-gauge, and of then slipping and falling flat on my face on the wet dew grass while a coyote with a turkey baby in its mouth nonchalantly trotted by 20' away--I swear the coyote appeared to be grinning--and lackadaisically wandered off with its meal.
I admit it: the coyotes killed and ate every one of our chickens and turkey babies. I killed quite a few coyotes along the way, but the coyotes won that particular war, there's just no doubt about it.
I suspect, but have never seen it yet, that coyotes come into my garage at night and help empty the food bowls I feed my dogs with every night. (The bowls are empty every morning, no matter how much food I put in them.) I have personally seen my ancient Australian Cattle Dog "hang out" with coyotes on my property (as if they were all school kids in conversation outside a Starbucks), though I could hardly believe my eyes. My dogs appear to have no concern whatsoever about the local coyotes, and vice-versa.
Tonight, about 45 minutes before sundown, as I was turning my car onto the country road in front of my house to take my daughter into town for a school dance (yes, on a Thursday night, of all things), she stopped looking at herself in the mirror long enough to spot 3 large coyotes in my neighbor's cattle field across the road from my house. I know the distance from my driveway to every tree and every fence in my neighbor's field. The coyotes were 200-225 yards away. I stopped the car and looked. The coyotes looked right back at us. They were strong, fit, almost fat, very healthy, right around 40lbs each.
Years ago, my neighbor gave me permission to shoot any coyote I see on his property.
I have walked my neighbor's 300+ acres in the day and the night on many occasions over the last several years. When there is a full moon and the weather is decent, particularly in the winter when the moonlight and starlight reflects well off the ground, I enjoy going on night hikes in the hills of my neighbor's ranch. On numerous occasions under full moonlight and clear skies I have seen coyotes approach and pass right through my neighbor's cattle herd--even when there were calves only a few weeks old in the herd--and never disturb or bother a single cow or calf, ever. The coyotes are not interested in my neighbor's cattle, and the cattle ignore the coyotes as if they are invisible. I was stunned by this the first few times I saw it. It was certainly not what I ever expected to see.
There was a .257 Roberts in the trunk of my car tonight, along with handloaded ammo for it--I had planned on going to the rifle range today but never made it. I probably could have gotten the rifle out of the trunk, chambered a round, and taken out at least one coyote, had I chosen to do so.
But I did not. First, it is illegal to shoot from a public road in TX, which is where my car was at the time my daughter and I stopped to look at the coyotes. But even if I take into account that it is a completely empty rural road and that no person was on it except for us, and even if it had been legal to do so, I still would not have taken a shot.
As far as I can tell, the coyotes in my area aren't causing any harm to anyone at this time, and are hunting wild pigs, which is a good thing. And I find myself unable to kill any animal these days unless there is a really good reason to do so.
To Shoot or Not to Shoot; that is the Question. I answered the question by not taking a shot. But what would all who read this do in your respective areas across the country, and why, or why not?