Nahant extends contract with federal officials to kill coyotes

An eastern coyote. (Photo courtesy MassWildlife)
An eastern coyote. (Photo courtesy MassWildlife)

Nahant officials have extended a contract for one year with the federal government to assist the town in managing a coyote population that has been aggressive toward humans and attacked some pets.

According to a press release, there are about six to 12 coyotes in Nahant, a number that exceeds what Mass Wildlife considers typical for a one-square-mile suburban environment. The pack has attacked at least three leashed pets and surrounded people who were walking their pets. The coyotes in Nahant are "habituated," meaning they do not fear humans, according to information in the press release.

The contract extension with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services will include up to three more visits by trained rifle experts equipped with night-vision, thermal-imaging scopes and spotlights. Since the department's visit at the end of 2022, which resulted in the removal of one coyote, nobody in Nahant has reported to officials any aggressive behavior by coyotes toward pets or humans.

"It's really important for people to understand and accept that coyotes exist in Nahant and they will continue to live in Nahant just as they do in every other town in Massachusetts," said Selectman Josh Antrim. "We might not like it, but this is the fact."

The coyote issue faces several challenges. The only legal trap for coyotes in Massachusetts, the box cage trap, has only caught three coyotes in the last 10 years. There are also strict limits on where hunting is allowed in Nahant and state law doesn't allow aggressive coyotes to be relocated.

Coyote pupping season begins in March, so coyotes are expected become more territorial and aggressive.


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Jacob Garcia Newsroom Fellow
Jacob Garcia was a newsroom fellow at WBUR.



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