Have You Ever Tried To Eat Coyote Meat?
Is coyote meat distasteful, or is it a delicacy? One rarely if ever hears about people hunting coyotes for their meat. In fact, one rarely hears about anyone actually hunting coyotes. Coyotes aren't so much hunted as they are simply shot, or shot at. Coyotes aren't regarded as game, they fall into that category we call varmints. Coyotes can be a nuisance, not only in the wilderness, but in urban areas as well. The smarter coyotes often choose city life, knowing that hunting and shooting in cities is unlawful, so they feel safer. Most coyotes however, be they residents of the city or of the country, seem to be pretty smart animals.
By and large, the animals we hunt are animals we regard as being fairly noble. We talk about the majestic elk, or the fierce bear, but when the subject turns to the coyote, terms like cowardly and sneaky are commonly applied. That's a little unfair, as the coyote is anything but cowardly. It can be cautious at times, but it can be quite bold at other times, especially when it's in an area where it feels relatively safe, which can be just down the street from where you live.
Hide? Yes, - Meat? No - Most of the time, if someone shoots a coyote they will either keep the hide or won't keep anything at all. Coyote furs can be quite thick, full, and attractive, no matter how skinny the animal often appears. People certainly don't keep the meat though, unless they are hunting for any kind of meat they can get, which brings us back to the question, is coyote meat inedible, a delicacy, or something that tastes OK but really isn't anything special?
What Others Have To Say - Some information on whether the meat from a coyote is good eating or not can be gleaned from hunting forums, and other forums where subjects relating to the great outdoors are discussed. The comments you find discussing the taste of the meat of a coyote are all over the place. There are those that say the meat of the coyote isn't all that bad tasting, and are even willing to share some coyote meat recipes. There are others that say it doesn't taste good at all. Still others say that since the coyote is a scavenger, its meat is most likely germ-laden, and therefore unsafe to eat. A counter argument could be made that some bears are scavengers also, and bear-burgers aren't all that bad tasting. Coyotes are said to smell bad when they are being skinned. That may or may not affect the taste of the meat. Some eels smell terrible while they are being skinned, yet once the meat is cooked it turns out to be a true delicacy.
The animals we hunt for meat are for the most part vegetarians, or at least that's true when we talk about elk, moose, and deer. Bears eat fruits and berries too, although they aren't a bit shy about eating a freshly caught salmon, or a rotting one for that matter. The porcupine is a vegetarian, and it is claimed by more than a few who have tried its meat it tastes so bad you would need to be on the verge of starvation before you would ever consider eating it.
What About Parasites? - If there's an argument about eating a meat-eating animal such as a coyote, it's that since the coyote eats many smaller animals, it's likely to pick up parasites. A coyote very likely can't tell the difference between a field mouse that is infested with parasites and one that isn't. They both taste good to the coyote. If there is any danger in eating the meat from a coyote, it would probably depend on whether the meat is cooked or raw when eaten. Once meat is cooked, any danger a parasite might present is gone. After all, people sometimes become ill from eating hamburger meat that hasn't been cooked well enough, and cows don't eat field mice, even healthy field mice.
Try Cougar Instead - Back to the outdoors forums. One has to look long and hard to find much in the way of positive comments on eating coyote meat. Most are reluctant to try it at all, and those who have tried it say they will never do so again. Interestingly, some people put mountain lion or cougar meat in the same category with that of the coyote, but many who have tried mountain lion meat, say its taste is somewhere between chicken and pork. In other words, its meat is delicious.
From the coyote's perspective, it's no doubt quite happy that we humans find its meat so terrible tasting. If it were a delicacy, the coyote might someday find itself on the endangered species list. That’s unlikely to happen.
One could always try making coyote jerky, or simply use lots of hot sauce and spices when eating the meat, or trying to eat it. Why not have a coyote tasting party? See how many people show up. Then throw a second coyote tasting party, and see how many that came to the first party show up again. That should say something about the taste of coyote meat.