I meant for my first post to be puppy related but more on that later. A few coyote stories to share.
One morning I let two full grown labs out of the front door to air out before feeding. As I called the dogs back to the front door I could see them being chased from the dark into the light of the front porch by a pair of coyotes. The coyotes turned off as i stepped into the door way at about 20 yards away. Sobering stuff.
A neighbor shot a coyote within a year of that event as it was coming up to his sliding glass window looking at his young son and his smaller bodied yellow lab that were in the house. He said once he saw the coyotes nose on his glass window that it was time for this one to go.
15 years ago I had a coyote false charge an Alpha female black lab of mine. Twice the coyote made an aggressive move towards my lab before planting its front feet as my dog went in the other direction. This was the only canine that lab ever backed away from. It took a voice command to move the coyote back. This was the only time I ever had a coyote hesitate to run off once I was confident that it had seen me. I realized later that it must have had pups nearby.
Another close call involved walking a black lab pup that was under six months old off leash in a field and a group of coyotes tried to engage it in play. I ran toward the three coyotes as I have heard they lure in young dogs before attack. The coyotes were gone in a flash at the first sight of me. The whole incident lasted less than 30 seconds.
The last close call involved a walk in the woods with a three month old puppy. When we made it back to my friends cabin a neighbor called to report that a coyote followed behind us for about 100 yards on our path. I never noticed the coyote myself in this incident.
It would seem puppies and smaller bodied dogs are most at risk.
As for weapon choice I would say hunt them like deer from a blind and get a .243 rifle with a fine scope. I would not bring the dog along for this hunt. As noted by others the chance of an accurate shot at a moving coyote or injury to your dog dictates great care if using your gun on the coyote during a typical day afield with your dog.
This is exactly why urban and suburban places have more problems with coyotes. It is illegal inside most city limits to shoot them or carry your gun around(Illinois anyway). I'm all for shooting them but we can't. They learn pretty fast that humans are not a threat. In one of our local training spots we see coyotes all of the time. They aren't afraid. They will keep distance between you if you approach them but sometimes are pretty tough to run off. We had a good sized one at one of our training outings a few weeks ago mousing in a field about 300 to 400 yards off behind where we set up our line. It wouldn't run off when I approached it. We kept a close eye on it but it never showed any interest in us or our dogs while we trained.It just kept pouncing on mice. It was there during our entire training session. Unfortunately we can't shoot(city limits) there or it would be dead. I also can't shoot in my own yard anymore. The city has annexed around me and now there are houses close. The Illinois DNR says you need permission from the homeowner to shoot firearms within 100 yards of a dwelling. To get around this I purchased a .25 cal air rifle(for the bold ones). That is legal as long as I have a current hunting liscence in coyote season. The DNR said I don't need my neighbors permission for that. Dogs in our area do get attacked every once in awhile. Mostly small dogs but larger ones are still at risk. At night,the dogs are only taken out on a leash.
Originally Posted by archer66
They've tore up my one 85 lb Lab and he luckily got away. Couple of hundred bucks at the vet to stitch him up. I wouldn't fiddle with a hand gun, I'd be looking at a .223 or .22-250 for longer ranges or a 12 gauge with 00 buckshot for up close and personal.
We have plenty of coyotes around right now. They are very bold so we are carefuk with letting the dogs out at night. 3 years ago they got my old guy. It was in the atfernoon so we are cautious even in day light. We have had a pair sit up on the hill side and watch us train the dogs. My husband does hunt them. He has even opened the patio doors and shot one from the dining room. That sure excited the dogs.
To the original poster: What do you plan to do when your dogs disappear into the darkness chasing the coyotes? A gun won't help. You can't shoot in the dark toward the coyotes and your dogs.
For many years, I've walked my dogs in the dark in the morning through farm fields. When the coyotes sing it's so hard to tell how far away they are. Very unnerving, and the dogs always want to give chase. I had lights on their collars and would call them back and leash them up at the first hint of a coyote.
I decided to end my walks in the dark this year, partly because I have always worried about a dog going over the hill and into a coyote pack, but mostly because of MOOSE. The moose population has been steadily increasing in northern Idaho and eastern Washington. My husband encountered one a couple of years ago in mid-day on the road through the wheat fields coming back from a walk with the poodle (luckily on leash). The moose did not move off the road when it saw George and the dog. Moose have a reputation for not moving. George made a very big circle through the muddy fields to go around the moose. Earlier this fall, driving to work, I saw really big hoof prints in the gravel a couple hundred yards away from the house. I stopped the van to look at the tracks going across the road from the creek and into the ditch. They were so big, they could have only been a moose. The dogs had been barking like crazy at something outside the fence the night before.
The coyotes make me a little nervous, but the idea of meeting a moose in the dark, well, that's really scary.
We are covered up with coyotes and I have never had a dog attacked. If you're walking your dog at night, doubt you'll see a coyote, much less be able to shoot one.
Originally Posted by wheelhorse
Originally Posted by Lonster
It is possible for your dog to be attcked when he is with you. Though the odds would be greater to be hit lightning.
Here is the type of firearm to get. First are you in open spaces, flat prairie country. If so go with a 223 if you live in a area that is more populated and has woods and heavy cover go with a semi auto shotgun loaded with buck shot. It comes down to what range you will see the yotes at and you do not want to be shooting at one and a stray round go into the neighbors house.
It is my impression that the OP in not out to hunt coyotes, just protect her dogs from them. If that is the case, I certainly wouldn't be recommending any kind of handgun. Way too much risk of accidentally shooting her own dogs, some other person, or even herself. Rifles also take too much skill and with their great range pose a great risk to surrounding areas. A nice, lightweight 20 gauge loaded with #4 buck should fill the bill nicely IF she shoots before the fight, if she waits until the dogs engage the coyotes her best recourse is going to be bear spray and a big stick. I would echo the advice about not letting the dogs get more than twenty or thirty yards away, and certainly not out of sight. In my area, I worry more about Javelinas which can really tear a dog up.
Apparently coyote behavior varies greatly depending on where you are. I have tried for years to get decent photos of one. We call, set out bait, sit at waterholes for hours on end, and I have only had about four coyotes come close enough to get even a half decent photo. They are very wary and will usually bolt at the slightest sign of anything they find suspicious. Would really have loved to have been there for the one mousing. That would have been some great photos!!
I am pretty good on the range with several handguns. But I know for sure that if a coyote made a sudden appearance and was near one of my dogs, I would not chance shooting. My way of dealing with it is to keep our walks to daylight, never out of sight, train them so that here means here, and when they go out in our back yard at night, turn on the outside lights, keep my eyes on the dog the entire time, and come right back in or to the kennel. Our neighbor has two cats. He had a coyote look in his living room window one morning a few weeks back and I frequently hear the pack calling at night. So far, none have approached me or my dogs.