This Eastern coyote peers at Keith Dirago of Mainely Wildlife Photography during an encounter near Stacyville. Credit: Courtesy of Keith Dirago | Mainely Wildlife Photography

Coyotes are controversial in Maine. Their presence on the landscape is often only tolerated, sometimes welcomed and occasionally feared.

Bangor Daily News readers were eager to share your thoughts on these resourceful and adaptable predators and your opinions varied widely.

However, 78 percent of folks who responded to our query — which asked how you feel about coyotes and how the state should manage them — said coyotes are not a problem in Maine.

There were a number of readers who expressed concerns about coyotes killing pets and livestock, in addition to deer populations. Almost 38 percent of the people who answered our questions said they were hunters.

Here are some of the responses you shared with us:

“They are part of the ecology of Maine woods and we need them to keep a balance of wildlife healthy,” said Anne Swan of Bar Harbor. “Manage nuisance animals and ignore the rest.”

“It is silly to think coyotes are hurting deer when DIFW has overseen a massive increase in the deer harvest,” said Jake M. of Windsor. “If there is a threat to the population it would be new DIFW practices (increased doe harvesting) not coyotes. They are a part of the ecosystem that balances population naturally.”

“They have attacked my dog three times. She is fast and got away,” said Audrey Jones of Augusta. “[The] pack here in Augusta comes back every year, despite being harvested annually. I like coyotes for cleaning up the vermin around my old farmhouse. But when they run out of food and attacked the calves in spring it gets real. I think there should be a balance, but it is haunting to take my dog out in the dark of the morning or at night and hear them surrounding and killing something right by us when ‘Lady’ is going to the bathroom. I have to be vigilant in accompanying her out. She cannot go out alone. My family just bought me a new high-powered lamp to illuminate the yard beyond my spotlights. Being a former National Park Ranger it is hard to support killing predators. But hearing a mother cow cry for days because of a calf kill breaks your heart.”

“Coyotes are a keystone species in Maine and an essential part of a healthy ecosystem. They should not be indiscriminately killed,” said Zoie Zanoni of East Machias.

“I am an apple farmer, so I do not like deer,” said Sam Ricker of Auburn. “Coyotes eat deer, so I love coyotes. If people want less coyotes, there should be [an] increase in deer hunting.”

“The state is failing this species. I think it’s disgusting that wanton waste law doesn’t apply to coyotes,” said Megan Leach of Jackman and Orono. “They are extremely misunderstood by non-biologists and viewed with hatred from those misconceptions.”

“Mostly over-hyped,” said Michael Schiller of Orland. “Don’t like to see them in the city. Rural areas people are more aware and plan for their existence. Not sure state bio guys know how many, and how they affect deer and farm animals.”

“Keep things the same. Open season and night hunting allowed,” said Zach Barry of Boothbay Harbor. “Not enough people hunt coyote to seriously harm the population.”

“Kill them all,” said Jack Givenchy of East Millinocket.

“The only way someone can effectively manage them is if people leave them to manage themselves,” said Cynthia Grant of Addison. “That will not happen as long as technology allows people to see how horrifically coyotes injure deer and leave them to suffer excruciating pain until their death for sometimes hours, days, or weeks. Cute pup litters wrestling on video blur the lines between the animal kingdom and human civilization. Man as a whole is incapable of impartiality. There is no definitive answer to managing all of the components related to coyotes.”

“We grow plants to supplement our income. Deer eat the plants. Coyotes eat the deer. Coyotes are welcome here,” said David Bright. “Plus their haunting calls on some nights when the pack gets together, especially when the little ones join in, is a sound of nature that we enjoy.”

“All predators are an integral part of our ecosystems,” said Greg Kornelis of Orono. “They keep populations of prey sustainable and genetically fit. This in turn protects plant populations and reshapes natural landscapes. Reduction of prey populations can even keep disease vectors under control. The state should protect our ecosystems by imposing limits on harvests of all our shared natural resources including coyotes. Sustainability and ecological health are keys to our survival.”

“I believe they should be left alone,” said Elizabeth Coffey of Bangor.

“There is already year round hunting with no bag limit and a bounty,” said Lisa Lindsay of Wilton. “I love hearing the coyotes at night. My dog is on a leash. There are plenty of deer, especially with less harsh winters. Maybe humans shouldn’t have eliminated wolves.”

“The only good coyote is a dead one,” said Jack Steinhauer.

“We need to keep natural predators like coyotes around,” said Rachel Smith of Orono. “In addition to keeping deer and other animal populations in check (which helps ecosystems), natural predators often target the weakest, sickest animals, which keeps deer and other populations healthy, something hunters should support. I don’t think coyotes need to be managed.”

Pete Warner

Pete graduated from Bangor High School in 1980 and earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He grew up fishing at his family's camp on Sebago Lake but didn't take...