M-44s are devices that eject sodium-cyanide into the mouth of canines that pull the device. They are outstanding tools for the control of coyotes (Canis latrans) and foxes (Vulpes vulpes). While important tools for wildlife damage management, M-44s do have a draw back, namely M-44s and domestic dogs can be a lethal combination if domestic dogs happen to interact with them.
Now all legal users of M-44s want to reduce/eliminate non-target kills. In fact the label requires applicators to follow stringent and somewhat restrictive protocols in the use of M-44s. There are several strategies to prevent domestic dogs from interacting with these devices.
- Instruct the landowner to restrain his/her dogs during the time the M-44s will be in the pasture.
- Place the M-44s in areas removed from where the dogs normally roam.
Now those are common sense suggestions. But there is another option. It’s not a perfect solution but just another technique. What you do is insert capsaicin tablets in the M-44s. The dogs that bite and pull the devices will get a mouthful of bitter capsaicin. This difficult experience is enough to train dogs to avoid the devices in the future.
Note, it’s not a guaranteed solution but it can be a helpful one to offer a landowner who is resistant to restrain his/her dogs.
Stephen M. Vantassel is certified in the use of M-44s.