Farther, as you probable well know the coyote is an opportunistic predator. They use all kind of ways to catch small mammals likes rabbits and mice, which is the bulk of its food. Although they hunt alone to catch small prey, they will ďpack upĒ to hunt larger mammals like deer. Your pets and chickens will be prime targets. They just love cats and a French poodle I knew but thatís another story. I have used cats as bait on a few problem places. Coyotes will often track its prey and may study it for days. They will have an excellent sense of smell, and may stalk it for 20-30 minutes before pouncing. It can also take advantage of its stamina to chase its prey over long distances, and then striking when the prey is exhausted. Coyotes are not dumb as most people think.
Coyotes are one of the most controversial of all non-game animals. Some people have urged its control by whatever means is necessary so that potential livestock losses may be eliminated however, Environmentalists believe that the Coyotes are necessary to preserve the balance of nature. Iím down the middle. I donít think Coyotes are to be hunted to the point of extermination or just because I can, but they must be controlled. Because of our past practices, we have eliminated the control measures that Mother Nature had in place. I believe that individual animals preying on livestock and poultry should be destroyed and that hunting them where there are problems is OK, but coyotes in the wild are not necessarily harmful. They also do a great service, because much of its food is made up of rodents.
Your problems will be lone coyotes raiding the chicken coop for food serveral times a week. I did some checking for California; Coyotes are classified as non-game animals and may be taken throughout the year under the authority of a hunting license. I don't know where in Northern CA. you are but I would recommend that you contact both the CA Dept. of Fish and Game and federal US Fish and Wildlife Service for information. You should be able to get data about coyote movements in the area and a record of record attacks on livestock and pets. Animal control people are NOT the agency to go to. They are bound by local regulations, which are written by local politicians and in some case contradict the federal regulations. Where as the State and federal Agencies are gathering data and are making a scientific study approach to the deal.
Weapons of choice would be small caliber, lightweight, rapid firing, and high capacity. The mini14 you had would have been excellent. Most of us here use AR-15, Mini 14 or SKS. I use SKS (see attached picture) because itís cheap to own, cheap to shoot, can lay down a lot of rounds fast and with a composite stock itís light. If you use a scope you will need one that will gather in a lot of light. Youíll need a spotlight, 20,000-candle power or more, but not over 100,000-candle power. Handheld rechargeable are nice. You need a red lens cap for the light also. Most of the coyotes youíre going to deal with will be at dusk or at night. If you plan to call them in buy the cassette tapes at first then if you want to use mouth calls you can mimic them. Warning If you get the wounded rabbit or something the wife isnít going to like it when she hears it. I recommend the Coyote pup or the pack call. You can play them in a portable cassette player. Where you live I would guarantee if you get chickens youíll have coyotes and probable fox attacks. Sorry to go on so much but, most time Iím getting badgered by some damn tree hunger about this and donít get to tell off about one of my passions. But I hope this helps.
P.S. Sorry Sheetshooter to take over your duckbuggy post but if you got anything to add just jump in there and Iíll make it up to you on a coyote hunt sometime.
88.5 Zuk,4 inch SPOA, Rancho 5000s,2 inch over RRO Shackles,1 inch body lift,RRO Z-bar
Full Camo--Coyotes beware