The coyote is one of several North American animals whose name has Native American origins. The word "coyote" was originally a Spanish corruption of the Nahuatl (Aztec) word for the animal, coyotl. In 1969, coyotes were only in about 23 Georgia counties. Today, coyotes call all 159 counties home.
This may appear to be an assault but they were expanding from the West due to changes in the eastern United States land-use that increased the coyotes prey base. However, the main reason coyotes are so successful is that they are extremely adaptable. They can live nearly anywhere and survive by eating nearly anything available. Coyotes will eat whatever they can catch, including: rabbits, mice and other rodents, grasshoppers, watermelon, persimmons, deer (mostly fawns), dog food off your back porch, house cats, small dogs, squirrels, opossums, corn, chickens, raccoons, snakes, berries and birds - and they aren't above feasting on road kill or scavenging through household garbage.
Size: Medium-sized canine.
Coyote tracks (right side) are more elongated compared to the round pad of a dog's foot (left side) and an "X" would be relatively easy to draw in the middle of this print while staying completely away from the pads. When in doubt the overall trail pattern is often more important than any individual track. For the most part, coyotes take a more direct approach to travel, mostly keeping to straight paths and steady gaits. A pet dog will be very excited and they will run, zig-zag, and explore more than their wild cousins. The coyotes scat is similar in appearance to a dog's except that it is often hairy from non-digested rodent or deer hair. In the late summer the scat is often loaded with persimmon seeds.
Coyotes mate in February and have from five to seven pups in April in a hollow tree or burrow used as a den. The pups are weaned at about six weeks but usually stay with the adults until they disperse in the fall.
The coyotes main diet is rabbits and rodents, however they are often the prime suspect when livestock is missing, and may attempt to take a young hog (shoat) or calf when the opportunity arises. Coyotes may take a deer fawn, but they are not usually capable of taking a mature deer unless it is sick or injured.
Turkey chicks are also on the menu. Turkey hunters will attest to the coyote's interest in turkeys from the number of times coyotes have come to investigate turkey calling. However, deer, turkeys and coyotes usually share the same property, and in Georgia, coyotes are not a limiting factor to either deer or turkey populations. Many areas have high populations of all three animals.
In Georgia, coyotes are considered non game animals, and they can be hunted year-round with few limitations. You can hunt them with any legal weapon; electronic calls may be used and they can be hunted at night with a light that does not exceed six volts.