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Skip Navigation LinksDNREC : News : DNREC Secretary’s Order authorizes use of lethal action on coyotes posing threat to humans, livestock or pets

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Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

DNREC Secretary’s Order authorizes use of lethal action
on coyotes posing threat to humans, livestock or pets
New wildlife regulations that include coyote hunting season also go into effect

DOVER (Jan. 10, 2014) – DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara has issued a Secretary’s Order effective Jan. 11, authorizing landowners  to use certain firearms all year on coyotes conditionally for human safety and the protection of livestock or domestic animals. The issuance of the order coincides with the effective date of new wildlife regulations that include the establishment of coyote hunting and trapping seasons in Delaware.

“These new wildlife regulations are based on modern wildlife management science, with the coyote hunting and trapping seasons designed to manage the coyote population at biologically and socially acceptable levels,” said David Saveikis, director of the Division of Fish and Wildlife. “The combination of coyote hunting and trapping seasons to manage the coyote population and the Secretary’s Order authorizing landowners to protect themselves and their property from coyotes provides the tools needed to address Delaware’s relatively small coyote population.”

The Secretary’s Order pre-authorizes Delaware landowners or their agents to take coyotes, with no individual permit needed, on the landowner’s property under circumstances where coyotes present an imminent threat of injury to, or are in the act of injuring humans, livestock or domestic animals, subject to the following conditions:

  • Coyotes may be taken under these circumstances all year, from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31;
  • Coyotes may be taken with a rimfire or centerfire rifle up to .25 caliber, shotgun, muzzle-loading rifle/shotgun, longbow or crossbow;
  • Firearms including archery equipment must be used in accordance and compliance with all state and local firearm laws, regulations or ordinances; and
  • The individual taking a coyote under this order must report the take to the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife within one business day by calling 302-735-3600 to provide information to help DNREC determine the distribution and abundance of coyotes for the purpose of evaluating coyote impact on landowners and appropriate management practices.

The complete Secretary’s Order is posted on DNREC’s website at

The new wildlife regulations establish a coyote hunting season from Sept. 1 to the last day of February and a coyote trapping season from Dec. 1 through March 10. Additional regulatory changes include management measures to control invasive nutria and prevent the establishment of invasive feral swine; other changes include incorporating trapping best management practices and modifications to deer tagging criteria and procedures. The new regulations are structured around a scientific approach and balancing diverse positions on coyote management expressed through extensive public input.

The new wildlife regulations are posted on DNREC’s website at

Vol. 44, No. 7

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