Predator Control



The strategies and practices to control the actions of or reduce the number of predator animals.

Related resource topics for county planning include the following:

 

 


Resource Information

Reducing predator numbers in Utah is done for two primary reasons, to protect domestic livestock and to promote deer and elk populations. From a statewide perspective, the primary focus of predator control in Utah is coyotes. This is not to say other predators are not problematic, but coyotes are by far the largest concern in Utah. Coyotes often prey on livestock, especially calves [1]. Coyotes also have a major effect on the state’s deer herds [2][3], and other sensitive species [4]. In an attempt to increase deer populations, two predator-related bills were passed by the Utah State Legislature in 2012, which created the Mule Deer Protection Act (23-30-101) and the Predator Control Restricted Account. This legislation added a $5 fee to big game hunting permits to fund the predator control programs (23-19-22-5). Money from this fund is used by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) to reimburse hunters $50 for each coyote lawfully removed. Participants must take an online training course and fill out a compensation form to receive reimbursements.

Utah’s Predator Control Program provides:

Livestock and domestic animal protection is another objective of predator control within the MAG region. In Utah the primary agents for predator control is the UDWR and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS), which manages predator populations by through active control measures and predator hunting permits. The UDWR also offers reimbursement for livestock damaged by bear, mountain lion, wolf, and eagle through the Wildlife Damage Compensation Act (23-21-1).

Federal management of predators for livestock protection is run through the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Wildlife Services (WS). The WS assists livestock producers when depredation problems arise, including investigating and documenting predation events. APHIS personnel conduct predator management using firearms, traps, and toxicants if the need arises [5].

Predator control is also employed when necessary to protect threatened and endangered species. In these cases, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) works in conjunction with APHIS.

Locally, predator control is implemented through planning documents and statute. In Wasatch County’s General Plan supports predator control to protect livestock, deer populations, and other sensitive wildlife [6].


Best Management Practices

Best management practices (BMPs) for predator control include lethal and nonlethal methods. Nonlethal methods focus on physically separating livestock from predators, employing techniques to repel predators, or disrupting mating and reproductive cycles to reduce the number of predators born each year. Lethal methods seek to reduce predator numbers by killing them.

Nonlethal methods [7] include:

  • Fencing
  • Calving pens
  • Herding and confining livestock
  • Guard animals
    • Dogs
    • Llamas
    • Donkeys
  • Frightening devices

Lethal methods [8] include:

  • Traps and snares
  • Shooting
  • Fumigants
  • Toxicants

The State of Utah provides a $50 bounty for each coyote killed in the state. Participants in coyote removal must follow the training and guidelines provided by the Utah Predator Control Program

The Surface Ownership and Administration data can be used to help determine which predator control methods are most appropriate in parts of the county.


Economic Considerations

Losses due to predation can be significant. In 2014 in Utah, 5,200 sheep and 12,100 lambs were killed by predators for a total value loss of nearly $3 million [9]. Coyotes were by far the largest contributor to predation deaths (2,800 sheep and 8,500 lambs), bears were second (1,100 sheep and 1,700 lambs), and mountain lions third (700 sheep and 900 lambs) [10].

Utah cattle are also killed by predators, though not in as many numbers. In 2010 in Utah, 300 head of cattle and 2,300 calves were killed by predators for a total value loss of $1.1 million [11]. Coyotes are responsible for the majority of cattle predation, including 58% of calf losses and 44% of cows. Bears were responsible for 43% of the cow losses [11].

The 2015 summary report of the Utah Predator Control Program gives the following economic considerations [12]. The state believes that the program has been one of the factors that have contributed to the increase in mule deer populations in the state.

Coyotes submitted for payment and compensation paid from 2013 to 2015.

YearCoyotes RemovedCompensation
20158,192$409,600
20147,041$325,050
20137,160$358,000


Impact Considerations

Removing predators could increase the number of mule deer fawns that survive [12]According to the UDWR, “It will likely take several years of implementation of this program before improvements in fawn:doe ratios statewide may become observed and this effect may be more visible in local areas versus statewide” [12].


Data Download
  GIS Data Map Service Web Map Document  Tabular Data  Website
Data NameData ExplanationPublication DateSpatial AccuracyContact
Predator Control Program Map
Shows areas recommended for coyote removalUnknownUnknownUtah Division of Wildlife Resources

References

  1. Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. 2015. Utah Department of Agriculture and Food Annual Report.
  2. Utah Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife Resources. 2005. Coyote (Canis latrans), Wildlife Notebook Series No. 19.
  3. Utah Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife Resources. 2016. “Mule Deer, The Effects of Predators on Mule Deer Herds.” Accessed: 4/28/16.
  4. Utah Department of Natural Resources, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. 2015. Utah Wildlife Action Plan, Draft Version 6-4-2015.
  5. US Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. 2010. How WS Works with Livestock Producers.
  6. Wasatch County. 2016. Wasatch County General Plan.
  7. Gese, et. al. Utah State University Extension. Undated. Lines of Defense: Coping with Predators in the Rocky Mountain Region.
  8. Green, Jeffrey S., “Coyotes” (1994). The Handbook: Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage. Paper 34.
  9. US Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. 2015.Sheep and Lamb Predator and Nonpredator Death Loss in the United States, 2015.
  10. US Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. 2011. Cattle Death Loss, 2010.
  11. Utah Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife Resources. 2016. “Questions About Utah’s Predator Control Program Hunting.” Accessed: 1/21/16.
  12. Utah Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife Resources. 2015. Utah’s Predator Control Program Summary.