John's Journal...

Steve DeMers - Master Predator Hunter

Protecting Humans from Wildlife and Wildlife from Humans

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: I first met Steve DeMers of Whitehall, Montana, on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere after he’d just taken a coyote at 1,102 yards when I was hunting with Central Montana Outfitters of Great Falls, Mon. I couldn’t believe DeMers hClick to enlargead made that shot until a friend of mine, Chad Schearer, the public-relations director of Black Powder, Inc., told me, “John, I was beside him with my binoculars. I heard the report of the rifle, and after what seemed like an eternity, the coyote just fell over. It was an incredible shot.” In 1974, DeMers began hunting coyotes for their pelts. Today he hunts them for the government as a wildlife specialist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to reduce the damage coyotes do.

In his role as a USDA Wildlife Services field specialist, DeMers takes blood samples from coyotes to test the animals for bubonic plague. DeMers also has studied Asiatic influenza in ducks and geese and has worked in beaver control and at airports to keep birds from flying into airplanes.

If there’s a human/wildlife conflict, DeMers and his counterparts at the USDA Wildlife Services will resolve the problem. The Wildlife Services protect wildlife from adverse human activity, while reducing the damage and the hazards caused by wildlife. Wildlife Services’ experts like DeMers use multiple strategies to resolve wildlife conflicts.Click to enlarge

“The USDA is conducting a plague study Click to enlargeon coyotes,” DeMers explains. “Coyotes can contract the plague, but they don’t die from it. So, we take blood samples from every coyote we bag and mark a GPS coordinate on every spot where we take the coyote. This study has been ongoing for a couple of years, and we’ve identified individual coyotes carrying the bubonic plague. These coyotes probably have picked up fleas from prairie dogs that also may have the plague. If you’re skinning a coyote that has an active case of bubonic plague, you can contract it. Therefore, if you’re going to skin or handle a coyote, always wear rubber gloves.”  

To learn more about Central Montana Outfitters, visit

Check back each day this week for more about "Steve DeMers - Master Predator Hunter"

Day 1: Becoming a Consummate Long-Range Shooter and Choosing the Right Equipment
Day 2: Bigger Equipment Isn’t Always Better
Day 3: Fine Tune Your Shooting and Your Gun and Remain Consistent
Day 4: Calling Coyotes
Day 5: Protecting Humans from Wildlife and Wildlife from Humans


Entry 466, Day 5