California Lynch Mob Targeting Coyotes

In a scene all too reminiscent of something out of the movie, Mississippi Burning, a rural sheriff is urging his hate-filled, violence-prone constituents to defy federal law enforcement officers and continue their attacks on the objects of their redneck derision. This time, instead of the Deep South, the setting is extreme Northeastern California, and rather than the Civil Rights Amendment, the federal law being defied is the Endangered Species Act. The potential victim warranting protection is a wolf known as OR7, who could be caught in the crossfire of a depraved tradition know as a “contest hunt” targeting coyotes with the savage glee of an angry lynch mob.

The above analogy highlights how far we’ve come in terms of civil rights since the early ‘60s—and just how far we have to go before the country embraces the mere concept of animal rights. Try to suggest relegating any group of people to the back of the bus these days and see how many friends you make. But any asshole with an evil will (and maybe an extra shotgun or semi-automatic rifle or two to offer as grand prize for the highest body count) can legally propose a contest to kill as many intelligent, highly social—yet woefully unprotected—canines as state “game” laws allow. (And most western state game departments don’t even set a “bag limit” on coyotes.) Sadly, non-humans still have a ways to go before any but the most endangered are granted even the right to their very lives.

From Project Coyote:

For Immediate Release, February 8, 2013

Modoc County Sheriff Goes Rogue, Vows to Defy Federal Laws During Coyote Hunt

Hunt Continues Despite Public Opposition, Concerns over California’s Lone Wolf

SAN FRANCISCO — The Animal Welfare Institute, Project Coyote and Center for Biological Diversity are seeking an immediate investigation of Modoc County Sheriff Mike Poindexter for his decision to defy federal laws and advocate the violation of those laws during this weekend’s Coyote Drive 13, a coyote-killing contest in and near Modoc County.

A letter to the editor of the Modoc County Recorder on Feb. 7 by Sheriff Poindexter said he won’t “tolerate any restriction of legal hunting on our public lands” despite federal laws prohibiting or regulating coyote hunting on federal lands in and near Modoc County.  He also recommended that any hunt participant who is questioned or detained by federal enforcement officials for illegally hunting on federal lands to “cooperate but stand their ground and call the Sheriff’s Office” and that sheriff deputies “absolutely will not tolerate any infringement upon your liberties pertaining to accessing or legally hunting on your public lands.”

“Despite claiming to uphold the U.S. Constitution, Sheriff Poindexter has decided he will not enforce and is encouraging others to flout those federal laws which he opposes,” said D.J. Schubert, wildlife biologist with the Animal Welfare Institute. “This is a blatant breach of his duty as a law enforcement officer and a violation of the Law Enforcement Code of ethics.”

The groups have contacted the district attorney for Modoc County, the California Attorney General’s office, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California and a number of state and federal agencies advising them of Sheriff Poindexter’s comments and asking for urgent intervention.

“These laws are on the books to protect our public lands and the wildlife that live there. Not only does this coyote hunt put OR-7 and other wolves at risk, but now it’s also shaping up to be some kind of Wild West misadventure where the sheriff is thumbing his nose at federal laws,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer at the Center for Biological Diversity.

Poindexter’s statement comes in the wake of public outcry that generated more than 20,000 letters, emails, and petition signatures into the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the California Fish and Game Commission calling for an end to Coyote Drive 2013 and a top-to-bottom evaluation of the state’s approach to managing predators in California.

“Given the serious potential for violations of state and federal laws barring predator hunting on public lands, the threat this hunt poses to OR-7 and any un-collared wolves in the area, and the public’s clear opposition to this killing contest, the state should take immediate action to call off Coyote Drive 2013 now,” said Camilla Fox, Project Coyote executive director and a wildlife consultant to the Animal Welfare Institute.


Project Coyote promotes educated coexistence between people and coyotes by championing progressive management policies that reduce human-coyote conflict, supporting innovative scientific research, and by fostering respect for and understanding of America’s native wild “song dog.”

The Animal Welfare Institute is dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by people. AWI engages policymakers, scientists, industry and the public to achieve better treatment of animals everywhere — in the laboratory, on the farm, in commerce, at home, and in the wild.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 450,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

You can find the Stop the Coyote Contest Hunt Petition at

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

24 thoughts on “California Lynch Mob Targeting Coyotes

  1. The Modoc County sheriff sounds just like the hillbilly sheriffs’ depts here in New Mexico, which vow to cut locks if and when the forest disservice EVER stops dragging their heels and implements their travel management plan and closes some of the ATV (Asshole Transport Vehicle) roads that are eroding and destroying our public land. Why doesn’t the FBI just swoop down and haul these county clowns off to federal prison? Oh, that’s right; they’re too busy infiltrating and arresting those who are DEFENDING the earth instead of destroying it.

  2. you do realize the AWI is not opposed to legal hunting or legal farming of animals for food, and therefore has no interest in ending either one, right? they are only opposed to sport hunting, hunting endangered species, and farms violating the more than decades-old animal welfare laws.

  3. Hopefully undercover federal wildlife agents (USFWS) and other LE are on it! They should be infiltrating the hunt groups on the ground and tracking OR7 with his GPS signal. There should be little excuse for him to be killed by these lunatics. Maybe they can get the sheriff in conversation and overt actions to charge him with conspiracy. That would be sweet.

  4. Not only is this cruel and inhumane but it is also a conspiracy to have the wolf OR-7 killed and make it look like an accident.

  5. These slaughter contests must end. There’s been enough brainless and heartless mass killing of every kind of native wildlife across this blood soaked continent. Put down the guns, you criminal assholes!

  6. This is crazy. They think because they have guns and a badge they can do what they want. Someone needs to get the higher authority to show these idiots the law.Fine & jail time would be great. P.S. That Solveig is a pretty kitty. Check out her blog.

  7. This situation reminds me of an entry from The History of The Sea Shepherd,” which documents a time in February of 1984.

    Captain Paul Watson and his crew were confined to land for a period of time, in which Captain Watson launched a land-based campaign on behalf of wolves. He founded the group “Friends of the Wolf” and organized a high profile intervention against the aerial shooting of wolves in Northern British Columbia.

    In the hostile town of Fort Nelson, Captain Watson held a press conference and debated four hundred hunters and trappers in heated arguments that made the National News.

    A trapper came into the press conference room and threw two dead wolves onto the floor. He said to Watson, “What ya think of this a**hole”? To which Paul Watson answered, “I think you just lost the war, you idiot.”

    The history of the Sea Shepherd can be read by following this link:

    Many Blessings on all who take action to protect our wildlife and lend voice to all sentient, living beings who cannot speak for themselves.

    ~Gerean Pflug for The Animal Spirits, Ashland, OR, USA

    LONG LIVE OR-7 !!!

  8. It’s interesting that you would mention the film Mississippi Burning because I was planning to use that as a parallel for the war on wolves myself. But the line that struck me most is when the Do-by-the-law FBI agent tending to an attempted murder victim and said “Whats wrong with these people?” I ask the same when I look at those who harm innocence.

  9. Reblogged this on Niki.V.all.ways.My.way. and commented:
    i know, an exception to the 500 word rule, but look at the foto of that amazing kyote! wow. kyote, the “Experimenter” is very adaptive to shifting conditions and contexts. An indicator that the unknown can be handled with adeptness and measured progress through a thorough interaction with as many levels of reality as possible before continuing the game of fun or survival; Those with Coyote know, both games are the same.

  10. Why is this backward hick sheriff sticking his nose in wildlife affairs. Doesn’t he have crime to fight and arrest criminals. I mean is he so good at his job, his red neck town is crime free, so he sticks his nose where it doesn’t belong? In my town the sheriff combats criminals like drug dealers, pill pushers, child abusers and so on. He doesn’t have time to declare war on coyotes. This Country is getting worse and worse and no end in sight. I wish I could move. I am sick of these in bred hicks and their blood lust. Who is raising these people? The devil (if there is a devil).

  11. Quote from the Modoc Outdoor Recreation & Tourism:
    “Imagine a place…
    Unbound from the hustle and bustle of city life, the crowds, traffic, and noise, a place where you can let go and free your mind, body and soul. A place to kick back, relax and put your feet up. Does the image of a peaceful mountain setting appeal to your senses? How about the alluring sound of a babbling brook as the water gently trickles down stream? Respect the people, the land and its wildlife and you’ll always be invited back to the place they called, “The Smiles of God”.

    As a frequent visitor to North-Eastern California, reading this introduction to Modoc County gives a visitor a strong desire to go to Modoc and enjoy what it has to offer which is the exact opposite of what the upcoming Coyote Killing Contest demonstrates. Such contests degrade the ecological and economic importance of predators, propagate a philosophy of violence and sends a message to children that life has little value. Please STOP the predator contest.

    “What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say”.
    -Ralph Waldo Emerson

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