Hunters take aim at coyotes in New Jersey

You might not have seen them, but coyotes are a growing nuisance in every county in New Jersey. A special hunting season targeting the animals begins next week.

There are more than 5,000 coyotes running around in the Garden State, according to Andrew Burnett, a biologist with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. While they usually prey on rodents and rabbits, they can attack small pets.

“There have been incidences of coyotes trying to take small dogs while their owners are walking them on a leash. Cats are usually always at risk. It’s not that the coyote will actively go out and seek these animals,” he said. “However, should they encounter one they wouldn’t necessarily turn it down.”

Burnett said it’s difficult to hunt for coyotes because they’re wary of humans and quickly run away.

Hunters in the Garden State have been allowed to use rifles to shoot coyotes during daylight since November. A special permit season, which allows nighttime hunting for them with shotguns, will begin Jan. 2 and continue until mid-March.

About 700 coyotes have been killed by hunters in New Jersey since 1997.

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