Did the Hunters Get your Wolves’ Elk?

In one of Edward Abbey’s many epic books he mentions seeing a bumper sticker on the back of a gas hog, redneck rig that went something like, “Did the coyotes get your deer?” It was an unabashed show of narcissistic entitlement which spelled out just how the driver felt about nature and the need for a diverse ecosystem.

Although his type doubtless have no qualms about supporting factory farming by buying a nightly meal of meat from the local “Western Family” grocery store, when hunting season rolls around they are right there to lay claim to the wildlife as well, in the form of deer, elk, moose or pronghorn.

It don’t mean shit that apex predators such as wolves, cougars, bobcats and coyotes have nothing else to eat and have evolved over eons to live in harmony with their wild prey. Hunters think of themselves as apex predators, decked out in their best Cabella’s camouflage outfit, tearing up the land on their trusty 4-bys or 4-wheelers, hoping a deer steps out in front of them.

But as a faithful reader pointed out this morning, human hunters aren’t apex predators, they’re apex parasites (Homo parasiticus).

Personally, I’d rather “my” deer went to the coyotes and “my” elk went to the wolves, as nature intended.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson. All Rights Reserved

HUMBOLDT AND MENDOCINO COUNTIES URGED TO VOID CONTRACT WITH SECRETIVE, INHUMANE WILDLIFE SERVICES

http://www.theecoreport.com/green-blogs/area/usa/california/humboldt-and-mendocino-counties-urged-to-void-contract-with-secretive-inhumane-wildlife-services/

Indiscriminate Killing, Environmental Destruction, and Legal Violations Spark Controversy

A joint Press Release from the organizations listed below 

Screen-shot-2014-01-08-at-2.36.48-AMSAN FRANCISCO – A broad coalition of national animal and conservation groups sent formal letters to the Humboldt County and Mendocino County boards of supervisors today urging them to terminate their contracts with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services, which indiscriminately kills tens of thousands of native wild animals in California every year, including coyotes, bears, foxes and mountain lions. The letters ask the counties to undertake appropriate environmental review and ensure proper protections prior to hiring Wildlife Services to kill any additional wildlife, as required under California state law. Last year, in response to a similar letter from the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Sonoma County’s Board of Supervisors opted not to renew the county’s contract with Wildlife Services; it is now conducting a review of its wildlife policies. Marin County cancelled its contract with Wildlife Services 14 years ago and implemented a nonlethal predator-control program. As a result, the county has seen a 62 percent decrease in livestock predation at one-third of the former cost.

Since 2000 Wildlife Services has spent a billion taxpayer dollars to kill a million coyotes across the nation. The excessive killing continues unchecked despite extensive peer-reviewed science showing that reckless destruction of native predators leads to broad ecological devastation. The indiscriminate methods used by Wildlife Services have killed more than 50,000 “non-target” animals in the past decade, including endangered condors and bald eagles. The agency deploys steel-jaw leghold and body-crushing traps and wire snares, which maim and trap animals, who then may take several days to die. These devices have also injured hikers and killed pets — not only in wilderness and rural areas, but often in populated suburban landscapes. In 1998 California voters banned several of these methods, including leghold traps.Last year Wildlife Services drew national public scrutiny when employee Jamie P. Olson posted pictures on social media of his hunting dogs mauling coyotes caught in leghold traps. Another agency trapper, Russell Files, was charged with animal cruelty for intentionally maiming his neighbor’s dog with multiple leghold traps.

“California taxpayers may be shocked to know their dollars are funding a rogue agency that recklessly kills predators, endangered animals, and pets,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “We urge Mendocino and Humboldt to follow the example of counties that use more humane and more effective methods of predator control.”

“Despite growing public outcry, calls for reform by members of Congress and an ongoing investigation by the Agriculture Department’s inspector general, Wildlife Services poisoned, strangled and shot more than 2 million native animals last year, an increase of almost 30 percent over the year before,” said Tim Ream, a staff attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity’s endangered species program. “Taxpayers in Mendocino and Humboldt should follow the lead of Sonoma and Marin and stop the slaughter.”

“Marin County’s Livestock and Wildlife Protection Program demonstrates that killing wildlife is not necessary to reduce conflicts,” said Camilla Fox, Project Coyote founder and executive director, who helped develop Marin’s nonlethal program. “It has become a national model based on coexistence, community involvement and a recognition that coyotes and other predators are vital to healthy ecosystems.”

“Californians shouldn’t adopt the shoot-first, ask questions later approach taken elsewhere,” said Elly Pepper, a wildlife advocate with the Natural Resources Defense Council. “These letters call on the counties to make sure nonlethal efforts are used first to address wildlife conflicts.”

“Wildlife Services has long fostered a culture of cruelty among employees, overlooking glaring misconduct and ignoring readily available alternatives to its outdated wildlife management tools,” noted D.J. Schubert, a wildlife biologist at the Animal Welfare Institute.

Copies of the demand letters are available upon request.

ALDF was founded in 1979 with the unique mission of protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system. For more information, please visit aldf.org.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 775,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Project Coyote is a North America coalition of wildlife educators, scientists, predator friendly ranchers, and community leaders promoting coexistence between people and wildlife, and compassionate conservation through education, science, and advocacy. For more information, please visit ProjectCoyote.org.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. Visit us at http://www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

Since 1951, the Animal Welfare Institute has been dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by people. We seek better treatment of animals everywhere – in the laboratory, on the farm, in commerce, at home, and in the wild. For more information, please visit AWIonline.org

Mountain Lion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization protecting mountain lions and their habit. Visit mountainlion.org

 

How Many Wolves Died for Your Hamburger?

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephanie-feldstein/how-many-wolves-died-for-your-hamburger_b_5535494.html

by

Population and Sustainability Director, Center for Biological Diversity

06/27/2014

When you bite into a hamburger or steak, you already know the cost to the cow, but what about the wolves, coyotes, bears and other wildlife that were killed in getting that meat to your plate?

There are a lot of ways that meat production hurts wildlife, from habitat taken over by feed crops to rivers polluted by manure to climate change caused by methane emissions. But perhaps the most shocking is the number of wild animals, including endangered species and other non-target animals, killed by a secretive government agency for the livestock industry.

Last year Wildlife Services, an agency within the Department of Agriculture, killed more than 2 million native animals. While wolf-rancher conflicts are well known, the death toll provided by the agency also included 75,326 coyotes, 3,700 foxes and 419 black bears. Even prairie dogs aren’t safe: They’re considered pests, blamed for competing with livestock for feed and creating burrow systems that present hazards for grazing cattle. The agency killed 12,186 black-tailed prairie dogs and destroyed more than 30,000 of their dens.

The methods used to kill these animals are equally shocking: death by exploding poison caps, suffering in inhumane traps and gunned down by men in airplanes and helicopters.

How many of the 2 million native animals were killed to feed America’s meat habit? No one really knows. This is where the secrecy comes in: While we know that they frequently respond to requests from the agricultural community to deal with “nuisance animals,” Wildlife Services operates with few rules and little public oversight. That’s why the Center for Biological Diversity, where I work, has called on the Obama administration to reform this rogue agency to make it more transparent and more accountable. Despite the growing outcry from the public, scientists, non-governmental organizations and members of Congress, the federal agency shows no signs of slowing its killing streak.

There are two important ways that you can help rein in Wildlife Services. First, sign our online petition demanding that the Department of Agriculture create rules and public access to all of the agency’s activities. Second, start taking extinction off your plate. Our growing population will mean a growing demand for meat and for the agency’s deadly services, unless we take steps to reduce meat consumption across the country. By eating less or no meat, you can reduce your environmental footprint and help save wildlife.

D-CON: the Poison that Keeps on Killing

Text and Photography ©Jim Robertson

Text and Photography ©Jim Robertson

Earlier this month, my wife and I tried out a job as caretakers of a river front lodge in the heart of the Oregon Coast Range. It sounded idyllic, but on closer examination we found that the whole place was overrun by rats and mice. They had made themselves at home in the “trophy lodge’s” basement, attic, and furnace room and even throughout the heat ducting system (which—judging by the smell—they must have considered their own private out house).

Had the lodge owner even hinted at the “rodent situation” (as he later put it) ahead of time, we would never have moved our cats and dog in without first asking if there had been any poisons used around there. Well, it turns out there had—someone put fresh d-CON in all the heating vents, and who knows where else around the “estate.”

Among the sinister side effects of d-CON is that it kills slowly and stays in the victim’s body, allowing them to wander far from the source before a predator or scavenger consumes them, spreading the poison to an entire food chain. Needless to say, we gathered up our companion animals and got the hell out of there.

But about a week after we got back home, our worst fears were realized. One of our adopted cats, Caine, a gray tabby in the prime of his life with a black belt in the art of mousing, started showing the tell-tale symptoms of d-CON poisoning. He refused to eat or drink and slept round the clock. His lethargy grew more pronounced until he eventually tuned everyone else out, as though preparing to pass on. If we hadn’t rushed him to the vet, where he received IV fluids and an emergency injection of vitamin K to counter-act the lethal anti-coagulant agent in the poison, he would have died like so many other wild and domestic animals (including people) before him.

The problem is so extensive that the manufacturers of d-CON recently agreed to stop production of this particular rodenticide.  Though it’s now banned in California, stockpiles still exist in stores throughout the rest of the country. And this insidious gold-standard—this household name in “pest control”—has surely found its way to all corners of the globe by now and will keep doing its damage for years to come. How many cats, bobcats and cougars, dogs, coyotes, mink, ermine, opossum, raccoons, owls, hawks and eagles will suffer a drawn-out death from this pervasive poison before the sale of d-CON is completely discontinued?

In a way, Caine was one of the lucky few. Most rodent-eaters don’t have companion humans who care about them enough to nurse them back to health.

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Man shot while coyote hunting

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/crime-and-courts/2014/06/01/man-shot-coyote-hunting/9839329/

by Sharyn Jackson

An 18-year-old man was shot Saturday night in Black Hawk County while coyote hunting with three others, according to a release from the Black Hawk County Sheriff’s office.

Four individuals who were hunting coyotes returned to a residence southeast of Hudson. According to the release, “one of the subjects had pointed his shotgun in the direction of another subject and the gun discharged.”

Alex Lee Bratten, 18, of Jesup, was shot in his right shoulder. Bratten was transported to Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo with a serious injury and then transported to University of Iowa Hospitals in Iowa City. The injury is not life-threatening, police said.

The case remains under investigation.

Read or Share this story: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/crime-and-courts/2014/06/01/man-shot-coyote-hunting/9839329/

Who Should Read Exposing the Big Game?

Imagine you’re a hunter and you just bought a copy of Exposing the Big Game to add to your collection of books and magazines featuring photos of prize bull elk, beefy bison and scary bears (the kind of animals you objectify and fantasize about one day hanging in your trophy room full of severed heads). This one also includes pictures of “lesser” creatures like prairie dogs and coyotes you find plain ol’ fun to trap or shoot at.

You don’t normally read these books (you’re too busy drooling over the four-legged eye candy to be bothered), but for some reason this one’s burning a hole in your coffee table. So you take a deep breath and summon up the courage to contemplate the text and its meaning. Several of the words are big and beyond you, and you wish you had a dictionary, but eventually you begin to figure out that Exposing the Big Game is more than just a bunch of exposed film featuring the wild animals you think of as “game.”

This book actually has a message and the message is: hunting sucks!

You don’t want to believe it—the notion that animals are individuals rather than resources goes against everything you’ve ever accepted as truth. But reading on, you learn about the lives of those you’ve always conveniently depersonalized. Finally it starts to dawn on you that animals, such as those gazing up at you from these pages, are fellow earthlings with thoughts and feelings of their own. By the time you’ve finished the third chapter your mind is made up to value them for who they are, not what they are. Now your life is changed forever!

Suddenly you’re enlightened and, like the Grinch, your tiny heart grows three sizes that day. The war is over and you realize that the animals were never the enemy after all. You spring up from the sofa, march over to the gun cabinet and grab your rifles, shotguns, traps, bows and arrows. Hauling the whole cache out to the chopping block, you smash the armaments to bits with your splitting maul. Next, you gather up your ammo, orange vest and camouflage outfits and dump ‘em down the outhouse hole.

Returning to the book, you now face the animals with a clearer conscience, vowing never to harm them again. You’re determined to educate your hunter friends with your newfound revelations and rush out to buy them all copies of Exposing the Big Game for Christmas…

Or suppose you are a non-hunter, which, considering the national average and the fact that the percentage of hunters is dropping daily, is more than likely. Avid hunters comprise less than 5 percent of Americans, while you non-hunters make up approximately 90 percent, and altruistically avid anti-hunters represent an additional 5 percent of the population. For you, this book will shed new light on the evils of sport hunting, incite outrage and spark a firm resolve to help counter these atrocities.

And if you’re one of the magnanimous 5 percent—to whom this book is dedicated—who have devoted your very existence to advocating for justice by challenging society’s pervasive double standard regarding the value of human versus nonhuman life, the photos of animals at peace in the wild will provide a much needed break from the stress and sadness that living with your eyes open can sometimes bring on. As a special treat cooked up just for your enjoyment, a steaming cauldron of scalding satire ladled lavishly about will serve as chik’n soup for your anti-hunter’s soul.

So, who should read Exposing the Big Game? Any hunter who hasn’t smashed his weapons with a splitting maul…or any non-hunter who isn’t yet comfortable taking a stand as an anti-hunter. The rest of you can sit back and enjoy the pretty pictures.

______________________________________________________________

The preceding was an excerpt from the book, Exposing the Big Game: Living Targets of a Dying Sport.

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Welcome to Hell, Coyote Hunters

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Hundreds of killing contests have taken place all over the USA…Here is a description of a killing contest that just happened in Michigan — This pic and the description are on a public forum.

What is a “tagged coyote”? A tagged coyote is one that was previously trapped, marked in some way and then released, and killed for a prize.

“Just a few weeks ago the “Call of the Wild” Predator Round Up was held near our cabin in Luzerne Michigan. The hunt began at 7:00 p.m. Friday night and ran till 12 noon Sunday. Seventy three (73) hunters signed up comprising 33 different teams. Several teams used coyote dogs and others worked various “sets” while calling. The hunters with the dogs had the advantage, but the first “yote” turned in was by a father and son team who called the 29.7 pound female within range of a flat shooting 223″ …..
“Ma Deeters (local bar/restaurant) was the starting point of the hunt, and the Best Hardware store was where the successful hunters displayed their success. There were around $1700.00 dollars in prizes with anyone bringing in a tagged coyote receiving a $1000.00 dollar bonus. Knight and Hale (game calls) donated many of the prizes handed out. First coyote, biggest, (41 pounds) ugliest, and longest awards were all given out at the culmination of the hunt. Two of the dog teams garnered most of the awards.
On Sunday afternoon there were eleven (11) coyote and one fox hanging on the game pole at the hardware store. There was an additional prize to any team that brought in the “trifecta” of predator hunting (a coyote, fox, and bobcat.) No one collected that award this year, but one team came close.”

Interview With Project Coyote: Compassionate Coexistence with Predators

Compassionate Coexistence with Predators

March 3, 2014

Hosted by Eli Weiss

Camilla H. Fox
Dr. Robert Crabtree

Episode Description

Coexisting with America’s Song Dog, with Camilla Fox and Robert Crabtree America’s Song Dog, the Trickster, of mythological status to Native Americans; Clever and intelligent, they are critical players in ecosystem health, yet they are the most persecuted. Today I welcome guest experts from Project Coyote: Camilla Fox, Founder and Executive Director and Dr. Robert Crabtree, Scientific Advisory Board member. We learn from Fox and Crabtree why our model of predator management in the form of “coyote killing contests’ and extreme exploitation is not, and will not work- particularly for our Wile E Coyote. We continue hot on the heels unveiling the barbaric practices of our USDA’s secretive killing agency ‘Wildlife Services’, using our tax dollars, on public and private land, to indiscriminately and overkill our wildlife, especially the carnivores – coyotes, wolves, bobcats, and other animals under the mantel of managing human-carnivore conflict toward agricultural and livestock interests.

Listen here: http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/76154/compassionate-coexistence-with-predators