The Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment is trying to inform Saskatchewan residents of the current rules and regulations that are in place in our province for hunting coyotes.

"There's lots of different things that apply to it, whether that be licensing or selling, but for the most part coyotes are a hunted species in southern Saskatchewan," stated Lindsey Leko, Weyburn's Senior Conservation Officer for the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment. "You don't require a license and only Saskatchewan residents can hunt them. There isn't a limit on how many you can shoot and there isn't a season date or anything like that. They're deemed a preditor and that's in place so that we can help control the population of our coyotes."

While you are allowed to hunt the coyotes in our province freely as a resident there are still some very important rules that need to be made clear.

"For example, if someone shoots one and they want to harvest the fur they have to obtain a trapper's license and if they want to buy the fur they require a fur buyer's license," Leko explained. "Then of course you have land provision too. You always want to make sure that you've got the landowner's permission for coyotes. Which sometimes isn't really as much of a deal but the landowners out there want to know who's hunting."

The only time that Saskatchewan residents are not allowed to hunt coyotes is at night, however that rule applies to all hunting, as it could result in unforeseen human injuries or death.

As well, if you are hunting coyotes, you can not accompany a big game hunter unless you also have a valid big game license for the zone you are hunting in.

"The hunting of coyotes has become quite a popular pastime in the last number of years and our numbers are pretty good right now," said Leko. "They're wide-spread and there are lots around in our present conditions today."

If anyone is heading out to hunt coyotes without a trapper's license they can only legally shoot the coyotes and then leave them behind.

"Most people will obtain a trappers license and then they'll take the coyote home. They will skin it, flush it out, and they'll stretch it. Then the plan would be to sell that coyote pelt on the market with the trapper's license," Leko told. "You hear rumours about guys just going out and shooting coyotes and selling them to people without a trapper's license, and that's illegal. Even trappers can't buy them and in order for them to do so, they must have a fur buyer's license. So just any trappers license doesn't give you the authority to purchase them from people who shot them. So once you get a trappers license it opens up more opportunities for people."

Unlawful hunting and unlawful trapping in the province could result in a minimum $1000 fine.

"If you're selling them then you are getting into trafficking for which there is no set voluntary payments for that type of penalty and would be strictly done with a court appearance," explained Leko. "But it's one of our more serious offences."

Leko added that hunting in Saskatchewan is really a population control measure. With coyotes, it is important to keep their species in check so they don't create a problem for the province's various farmers and producers.

"The coyotes like coming into cities and towns because they offer a variety of different food sources," Leko expressed. "Sometimes people are unknowingly feeding them. Most of the time they want to remain unnoticed so conflicts are not common. But if you do happen to encounter a coyote just treat it like any other wild animal. Keep your distance, don't approach it, don't try to pet it. If you've got kids or pets make sure they're behind you or pick them up. Just treat the animal with respect and know that it's wild and unpredictable. So try to make yourself look large, yell and make noise, and that should help to scare it away. Because most times they are much more afraid of us than we are of them."

For more information on hunting, trapping, and angling in Saskatchewan you can visit the information page on the Government of Saskatchewan's official website.