Using a Toll-free Telephone "Hotline" to Assess Coyote Depredation in Alabama

Depredation to crops and livestock by coyotes (Canis latrans) is a subject of much concern to agricultural producers in Alabama. This concern suggested a need for an efficient mechanism for producers experiencing perceived coyote damage to report losses. We tested a combination self-reporting/field verification technique to determine proportion of coyote damage complaints actually attributable to coyotes, determine species responsible for reported coyote damage, and collect descriptive data on coyote damage in Alabama. A toll-free telephone hotline was established, and calls concerning coyote damage were received from June 1992 to September 1993. Two hundred and sixty-three calls (214 livestock, 49 crop) resulted in only 44 field investigations. This technique of self-reporting/field verification did not prove effective as a data collection method to assess coyote damage. Much of the concern among Alabama citizens about coyotes cannot be substantiated when there is opportunity for verification.

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