Do Coyotes Eat Corn? Our Experience and Tips

by Derrick | Last Updated: March 18, 2023

Yes, coyotes are known to eat corn. While their diet mainly consists of small mammals, birds, and insects, they are opportunistic and eat various foods, including fruits, vegetables, and grains. Corn is a common food source for coyotes in areas where it is grown or available, and they have been known to eat both the kernels and the stalks. However, it’s worth noting that while coyotes may eat corn, it’s not a significant part of their diet, and they generally prefer to hunt and scavenge for meat.

Does Corn Work Good To Bait Coyotes?

Corn can be an effective bait for coyotes, but it may not work in all situations.

Coyotes are opportunistic and will eat a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, and grains, and they have been known to eat corn.

However, whether or not corn is an effective bait for coyotes depends on a few factors, including the availability of other food sources in the area and the time of year.

During the fall and winter months, when food is scarce, corn can be a useful bait for coyotes. They may be more likely to investigate an area where they smell or see a food source, and if they find a pile of corn, they may return to that location in search of more food.

However, in areas with abundant food, such as in agricultural areas where crops are plentiful, corn may not be as effective as a bait.

Coyotes’ Favorite Food Sources

  1. Small mammals: Rodents such as mice, rats, voles, and gophers are among their preferred prey. They also prey on rabbits, squirrels, and other small mammals.
  2. Birds: Coyotes may hunt ground-dwelling birds like quails and pheasants and occasionally catch birds in flight, such as pigeons and doves.
  3. Pets and livestock: Unfortunately, coyotes have been known to prey on small pets like cats and dogs, as well as attack and kill livestock, such as chickens and sheep.
  4. Carrion: Coyotes will scavenge on the carcasses of dead animals like deer, elk, and livestock, especially when fresh food is scarce.
  5. Insects: Insects like grasshoppers, beetles, and crickets provide an additional source of protein for coyotes.
  6. Reptiles and amphibians: Coyotes will eat snakes , lizards, frogs, and other reptiles and amphibians when they can catch them.
  7. Fish: In areas with accessible water sources, coyotes may prey on fish or scavenge for dead fish along shorelines.
  8. Plant-based Foods: Coyotes also consume plant-based foods, such as fruits, berries, and nuts, depending on the season and availability.
  9. Garbage: In urban or suburban areas, coyotes may scavenge through trash cans and dumpsters for food scraps.

It is important to note that the availability and preference for these food sources may vary depending on the coyote’s habitat and the time of year.

So as you can see, plant-based foods, including corn, are way down on the list of preferred foods of coyotes.

What Wild Animals Commonly Eat Corn

With all of this said, if you have corn out, or you have planted corn, and something ate it overnight, let us look at what wild animals that commonly eat corn include:

  1. Deer: Deer, especially white-tailed deer, are known to consume corn in both its immature and mature stages, sometimes causing significant damage to crops.
  2. Raccoons: Raccoons are opportunistic eaters that are fond of corn. They often raid cornfields, eating the kernels directly from the cob.
  3. Squirrels: Squirrels, such as gray squirrels and red squirrels, also eat corn. They typically consume the kernels and may carry cobs away to eat in their nests or store them for later consumption.
  4. Birds: Various bird species, including wild turkeys, crows, and blackbirds, consume corn by pecking the kernels from the cob. They may also eat corn seeds from the ground.
  5. Rodents: Field mice, voles, and rats eat corn by gnawing on the kernels which may cause damage to the plants in the process.
  6. Insects: A variety of insects, such as corn earworms, corn borers, and cutworms, also consume corn, causing plant damage.
  7. Wild hogs: Feral hogs will eat corn if they come across it in the field or if it’s available in nearby wooded areas.

Many of these animals are attracted to corn due to its high nutritional value, including carbohydrates and proteins. While some of these animals are considered pests because they cause damage to corn crops, they are all part of the natural ecosystem and play a role in maintaining a balance in the environment.

How To Keep Coyotes and Other Animals From Your Corn Plants

To keep coyotes and other animals away from your sweet corn plants, you can employ various strategies. It’s essential to understand that no single method is foolproof, but combining several techniques can increase the effectiveness of your efforts. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Fencing: Install a sturdy fence around your cornfield or garden. For smaller animals, a 4-foot high wire mesh or chicken wire fence should suffice. However, for larger animals like coyotes , consider installing a 6-8 foot high fence, preferably with an outward angle at the top to deter climbing. Electric fencing can also be an effective deterrent.
  2. Netting: Install bird netting over your corn plants to protect them from birds and other small animals.
  3. Repellents: Use commercial or homemade animal repellents around your cornfield. You can apply odor-based repellents, such as garlic, predator urine, or ammonia, to create a scent barrier that may deter animals from entering the area. Taste-based repellents, like hot pepper spray, can be applied directly to the plants to make them unpalatable to animals.
  4. Scare devices: Use scare devices, such as reflective tape, motion-activated sprinklers, or noise-makers, to frighten animals away. You can also hang aluminum pie plates or CDs from strings around your corn plants to create noise and reflection, which may deter animals.
  5. Predator control: Encourage the presence of natural predators, such as owls or hawks, to help control rodent populations. You can install nesting boxes or perches to attract these predators.
  6. Keep a clean garden: Clean up fallen fruits, vegetables, and seeds to reduce the available food sources for wild animals. Also, keep pet food and garbage securely stored to avoid attracting animals.
  7. Companion planting: Some plants, like marigolds, are believed to repel certain pests. Plant these around the perimeter of your cornfield or garden to create a natural barrier.
  8. Lights: Install motion-activated lights around the perimeter of your garden or cornfield. Sudden bursts of light can scare away nocturnal animals, like coyotes.
  9. Trapping and relocation: For smaller pests, consider using live traps and relocating the animals to a more suitable habitat away from your corn plants. Check with your local wildlife authorities before attempting this, as it may be illegal or require a permit in some areas.

Remember that a combination of these methods will likely be more effective than using just one. Additionally, be prepared to adapt and adjust your strategy as needed since animals may become accustomed to certain deterrents over time.