Question: I have lived in Aptos for 25 years and have never seen the coyote problem as bad as it is now. They are killing animals in the area, including beloved pets. We won’t let our dog out at night alone because we hear them yipping nearby, and they wake us up three to four times a week. Is it possible to trap, neuter and relocate (preferably somewhere else)? (Shelly)
Answer: Living with wildlife can bring challenges. Coyotes have adapted to diverse habitats across California, including urban and residential areas. They avoid humans by nature, but their behavior can change when they are allowed access to food sources, either intentionally or inadvertently. When coyotes become habituated to humans, they lose their fear and can cause property damage. Human-coyote conflicts can arise when a coyote goes after a pet or small livestock for food.
It is important to identify and remove potential attractants, or access to those attractants, from your property. This includes securing garbage and removing access to pet food and water, especially at night. Keep pets indoors at night and small livestock or poultry in fully secured enclosures. Eliminate areas on your property that coyotes could use for shelter such as openings under porches, dense bushes or low vegetation that provides cover. Also consider installing motion-activated lights and “coyote rollers” on fences to prevent coyotes from entering an enclosed yard. (A “coyote roller” is a rolling device installed at the top of a fence that prevents coyotes from using their front legs to hook over the fence to scale it. They have been shown to be effective if coyotes are coming into your property over the top of your fence.)
As per California Fish and Game Code, section 4152, you do not need a hunting license to take a coyote that has damaged your property. Nor do you need to apply for a depredation permit to remove a coyote that’s injured or killed your pets or livestock. If you plan to legally remove an animal because of damaged property, please check with your city or county to ensure you’re following all local ordinances, laws and regulations. Coyotes that are trapped may not be released elsewhere. You can also submit a wildlife incident report using the “Report a Wildlife Incident” tool on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) website.
Unfortunately, the trap, neuter and release model is not a feasible or effective method of population control for wildlife. Coyotes have an important role in our ecosystem and help control rodent populations. Safe coexistence with wildlife is possible.
Making your own barbless hook?
Question: Is there a test to see if “mashed” barbs are mashed enough? Also, is it an offense to be in possession of barbed flies while on no-barb water? (George)
Answer: A barbless hook is defined as a “hook from which the barb or barbs have been removed or completely bent closed, or which is manufactured without barbs,” per California Code of Regulations, Title 14, section 1.19. Barbless hooks are often required in coastal waters where protected species like steelhead come upstream. Further inland, barbless hooks are designated to protect trout, salmon and sturgeon from harm that can come from ingesting hooks or from losing scales due to being handled or netted. “Barbless requirements allow an angler to get the fish off the hook quickly with minimal handling,” said CDFW Capt. Todd Tognazzini.
If you’re attempting to create a barbless hook by bending the barbs, make sure the barbs are smooth enough so there are no protrusions. While there is no official test, try rubbing a piece of nylon or fabric along the barbed area. If the hook snags it would likely be considered barbed. If there’s no snag, you probably have a permissible barbless hook. The bottom line is that the bent barb should be so smooth that the hook can be removed from the fish without impediment.
There is no prohibition against possessing a barbed hook on your person or in your tackle box while angling in barbless only waters. A wildlife officer can issue a misdemeanor citation if they witness an angler fishing with a barbed hook in waters that prohibit using them.