You hear stories about coyotes lurking in suburban neighborhoods, preying on pets.
Coyotes live in a variety of habitats and are found in every county in Georgia, although they are non-native predators.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources is encouraging hunters to kill the nuisance animals through the Coyote Challenge.
From March until August, hunters can take up to five coyotes, with each animal earning an entry to a monthly drawing for a lifetime hunting or fishing license.
“Currently, scientific research suggests that removal of coyotes during the spring and summer is the most advantageous time to reduce the impact of predation on native wildlife,” DNR Commissioner Mark Williams said in a release. “We want to encourage coyote removal efforts during this critical period.”
Trapping and hunting are the recommended methods for managing coyotes.
Since they did not historically live in Georgia, it is open hunting season all year long.
But the contest has drawn complaints in some quarters.
Chris Mowry is with the Atlanta Coyote Project, which conducts scientific research about the animals around the city. He called the idea cruel, according to WSB-TV, partly because it will leave young coyote pups to starve if their parents are killed. He said other states have banned similar events.
John Bower, the head of game management for the state, said science shows that coyote predation is a problem.
Coyotes look like small dogs, with pointy ears and snout.
They have mottled-color fur, ranging from black to reddish-blonde, and a bushy tail.
They communicate in the late evening with high-pitched cries, shrieks and yips.
They are timid and shy by nature and pose little threat to humans.
Hunters participating in the challenge must bring the carcasses to DNR Wildlife Resources Division Offices any weekday, excluding holidays, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
The Riverbend Wildlife Management Office at 1945 Ga. 199 South in East Dublin is one of the participating locations.
Coyotes must have been killed during the submission month. Road kills, spoiled carcasses and live coyotes are not eligible.
The hunter must properly dispose of the carcass.
For more information, contact the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.