The status of coyotes varies depending on state and local laws. In some states, including most western states, coyotes are classified as predators and can be taken throughout the year whether or not they are causing damage to livestock. In other states, coyotes may be taken only during specific seasons and often only by specific methods, such as trapping. Night shooting with a spotlight is usually illegal. Some state laws allow only state or federal agents to use certain methods (such as snares) to take coyotes. Some states have a provision for allowing the taking of protected coyotes (usually by special permit) when it has been documented that they are preying on livestock.
In some instances producers can apply control methods, and in others, control must be managed by a federal or state agent. Some eastern states consider the coyote a game animal, a furbearer, or a protected species.