Coyotes and bobcats provide hunting “opportunities”

[It’d sound like a joke, if it weren’t so sickening.]

http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2017/oct/29/coyotes-and-bobcats-provide-hunting-opportunities/

By Keith Sutton

This article was published October 29, 2017 at 12:00 a.m.

Jim Spencer of Calico Rock is shown with a bobcat he killed in Saline County. Hunting these big cats can be a very challenging endeavor.

Jim Spencer of Calico Rock is shown with a bobcat he killed in Saline County. Hunting these big cats can be a very challenging endeavor.

 Among the many game animals available to Arkansas hunters, few are more challenging and exciting to pursue as our big predators, the coyote and bobcat. Seasons for both are open now through the end of February, with a daily limit of two for bobcats and no bag limit on coyotes.

Both species are extremely cautious and have keen senses, facts that make them difficult to hunt successfully. But coyotes and bobcats have a weakness hunters can exploit. When they hear the sounds of an injured rabbit, they often throw caution to the wind and charge in for what they think will be an easy meal.

Whenever a predator catches a rabbit, the normally silent cottontail shrieks in fear and pain. It will do the same if it happens to get caught in a trap, a fence, by a snake or when it is accidentally injured. Coyotes and bobcats know this sound, and a hunter who imitates the rabbit’s pitiful squealing using a predator call can bring his quarry near enough for a killing shot.

Rodents such as mice are also diet staples for predators, so modern call makers have produced short-range rodent-squeak calls, too. However, because a dying rabbit sound is loud, carries very well over a long range and is so well recognized by predators, this is the sound most used. It is effective everywhere.

Many hunters learn to use handheld, mouth-blown calls, which are inexpensive and easy to learn how to use. Others choose electronic predator callers, which play dying rabbit sounds. Both are effective.

To begin your hunt, position yourself strategically in an area known to contain predators. You should sit (not stand) so that you can see well over a broad expanse, but never on the skyline where you are easily spotted. Sit against something, not behind it.

Wear camouflage clothing (jacket, pants, hat, head and face net, gloves), and break up your outline by blending in with a tree, bush or rocky outcropping. Walk to the calling area quietly, and try to follow a direct route so you don’t wander around the area in which you intend to call and frighten your quarry.

The best times of day are around dawn and early-morning hours, and in the late afternoon up until dark. All predators also move and hunt at night. However, in Arkansas, coyotes may only be hunted during daylight hours, and dogs are required to hunt bobcats at night.

Calling is best when there is little or no wind, which is one reason to recommend the first light of day, normally a period of calm. If there is any significant air current, the call carries farthest in the direction, downwind, where you don’t want it to go. Any predator coming into the wind is going to whiff your scent. Commercial cover scents are helpful in masking human odor and should be used, but don’t expect them to be infallible. Your best insurance is to have the prevailing wind at the back of your quarry rather than yours, blowing your scent away from the animal’s keen nose.

If you will hunt on cool, overcast days or during winter months, animals are more likely to be foraging for food, and responses may be had all day long. Predator calling when snow is on the ground and wind is severe is extremely effective. This is a difficult time for the animals to find food, and their caution sometimes diminishes in direct proportion.

The firearm you choose for this kind of hunting depends mostly on your individual preference. Arkansas regulations permit bobcats and coyotes to be taken with archery equipment, firearms of any caliber or shotguns using any size shot. Because most hunters hope to sell the pelts of the animals they kill, however, they opt to hunt with rifles in the .22 class. Choices range from the .22 Hornet and .221 Fireball to the .222, .222 magnum, .223 and the .22-250, all proven fur takers. Single-shot hunting handguns are also chambered in most of these calibers and add a more challenging dimension to the sport.

When you begin calling, don’t let your enthusiasm destroy the reality of the drama you are attempting to create. Calling too loud and too long are no-nos. Call just enough to get the animal’s attention.

When a rabbit is first hurt, it can make a lot of loud noise. But as it tires, its squalling decreases in volume and frequency. Duplicate that sequence. Use a loud volume at first but not very long. From then on, use intervals of low volume, as this makes the animal less wary and more intrigued. Gradually taper your calling in length and intensity.

If you don’t get action within an hour, you should move. If a coyote is nearby, it will generally show in a hurry, within 15 minutes or less. A bobcat is more furtive. Sometimes it takes half an hour or more for one, sneaking and slinking, to make an appearance.

When a predator approaches within sight, remember that this is now a swap-out, because you, the caller, are also vulnerable, and when the animal comes close, many things can go wrong, and something usually does. In most confrontations, the predator emerges as winner.

When you spot an animal approaching, quit calling immediately. Remain motionless and silent until you’re ready to shoot. If the animal starts to move away from you, a short call probably will put him back on course, but time such calls to coincide with the moments when your target can’t see you.

If you’re spotted, be ready to react at once. You can’t shoot a coyote with a varmint call, so keep your gun in a ready position. If you have a hunting partner, all the better. Have him ready while you’re calling. When frightened, a coyote or bobcat moves out a whole lot faster than he moved in.

Predator calling know-how, at least on paper, sounds simple enough. But once in the field, application doesn’t seem so easy. The caller finds himself nagged by self-doubts. Is he calling in the proper way? In the right place? Can he really make it work?

This is the learning process every caller must go through. Experience leads to confidence, and self-confidence is the trail to success.

You can expect the unexpected from predator hunting. It offers its own brand of thrills and is a sport that challenges the outdoor savvy of the most skilled hunters. It teaches patience, tolerance and humility. And it is the only trip afield where the hunter deliberately becomes the hunted.

No, it isn’t easy. But predator hunting is fascinating, challenging and suspenseful. And once you call up a wildcat or a yodel dog, there’s no cure except to go calling every chance you get.

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Advocates say hunting coyotes is cruel – and doesn’t control the population

  • An ambassador Eastern coyote checks out its surroundings during a “creatures of the night” presentation at New Hampshire Audubon in Concord on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) ELIZABETH FRANTZ » Buy this Image


Monitor staff

Sunday, September 24, 2017

In the past four decades, coyotes have moved into New Hampshire from the west, becoming a routine part of the landscape, and now some advocates think we shouldn’t be hunting them quite as much.

Linda Dionne, who openly speaks against hunting and trapping as part of a Manchester group called Voices for Wildlife, has petitioned the New Hampshire Fish and Game commissioners to change the rules, closing the coyote season from March 31 to Sept. 1, when pups are being raised.

The group argues that allowing hunting while young coyotes are being raised is cruel and increases the chances that a litter could be left to starve. They also say the coyote’s relentless expansion throughout North America has shown that hunting doesn’t work to control a species that is traditionally seen as a nuisance.

Their request was denied in a letter from Fish and Game Executive Director Glenn Normandeau.

“New Hampshire’s existing firearms season provides landowners and farmers with maximum flexibility in dealing with possible conflicts associated with coyotes,” Normandeau wrote, giving one of five reasons he listed for not opening the rule-making process. “The protection and promotion of agricultural interests and the protection of individual property rights have often been noted by the legislature to be priority interests of the state.”

Coyotes can be hunted during the daytime all year round in New Hampshire, as is the case in most neighboring states, and hunted at night from January through March. Trapping season is limited to winter.

The Voices of Wildlife group said it would continue to raise the issue.

“The firearm’s season is for recreational hunting. Having a closed recreational hunting season would not impact the resolution of possible conflicts associated with coyotes. Nothing would change regarding property owners being allowed to use lethal measures to handle an individual conflict,” the group wrote in response to Normandeau.

“The coyote is here to stay and that is a well-known fact. As one good conservationist in New Hampshire put it, ‘We have been at war with the coyote for about a hundred years now, and the coyote won.’ What we are arguing is that it is cruel to kill coyote parents when they are rearing their young, and that it is unnecessary.”

Coyotes are, in some ways, a great success story for wildlife rehabilitation, returning an alpha predator to many ecosystems. Yet it is a success that has occurred entirely in the face of human opposition.

Coyotes are members of the canine family, along with dogs, foxes and wolves, and are not native to New England. They originated in the Rocky Mountain region of the U.S., but have been expanding throughout North America for at least a century, filling an ecological niche left by the elimination of wolves, cougars and other large predators.

The first verified account of a coyote in New Hampshire was in Grafton County in 1944, according to state records, but they only began to spread throughout the state in the 1970s and are now widespread. About 5,000 are thought to live in New Hampshire.

The coyote population can expand relatively quickly because females are willing to travel long distances from where they were born before making dens and having pups, unlike the females of many other carnivore species. This allows a breeding population to get established quickly in new territory.

More importantly, they are generalists that will eat almost anything and can adapt to life in many circumstances, from the deep woods to suburbia to the most urban of areas. Coyotes are now found all along the East Coast from Maine to Florida, even on islands like Nantucket and deep in cities like Boston and New York.

Although details are still being studied, it appears that during their eastward expansion the western coyote interbred with some domesticated dogs and with red wolves, which are larger than coyotes but smaller than gray wolves. As a result, the eastern coyote is larger and distinct from the western coyote, to the point that they are sometimes considered a distinct breed.

Most states allow coyotes to be hunted all year round. Massachusetts allows coyote hunting from October to March, while Vermont and Maine allow it all year round. All states have limits on night hunting and on trapping, if the latter is allowed at all.

Out West, where the coyote’s reputation as a livestock killer persists, many states even allow coyote-hunting contests, which award prizes for the most kills in a short period.

Some biologists argue that, counterintuitively, extensive hunting is one reason that coyotes have spread so quickly throughout North America.

Chris Schadler, a conservation biologist, wildlife advocate and author of a book about coyotes called Becoming Wolf: The Eastern Coyote in New England, argued before the Fish and Game commission that year-round hunting actually increases the number of coyotes.

As she explained it, coyotes are pack animals, living in small groups that are dominated by a matriarch, usually the oldest female, who is the only female that has pups.

These packs can undergo a process known as “responsive reproduction,” in which the number of young produced increases when the pack is pressured. This is particularly true if the matriarch is killed, which indirectly gives all the other females in the pack permission to have their own litters – meaning that a successful hunt might result in a larger pack next year.

The issue of coyote hunting came up at the last legislative session, when a bill was debated that would have extended the nighttime hunting of the animals, beyond the current January-through-March limit. The measure died in committee.

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313 or dbrooks@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)

Lawsuit Challenges California’s Mismanagement of Commercial Trapping Program

September 13, 2017

Contact:

Jean Su, Center for Biological Diversity, (415) 770-3187, jsu@biologicaldiversity.org
Camilla Fox, Project Coyote, (415) 690-0338, cfox@projectcoyote.org

Lawsuit Challenges California’s Mismanagement of Wildlife Trapping Program

Public Agencies Illegally Subsidize Private Profiteering Off
Fox, Coyote, Badger Pelts
 

SACRAMENTO, Calif.— The Center for Biological Diversity and Project Coyote sued the California Fish and Game Commission and Department of Fish and Wildlife today for improperly managing and illegally subsidizing the state’s commercial trapping program.

Thousands of coyotes, foxes, badgers and other fur-bearing animals are trapped each year in California so their pelts can be sold overseas. Today’s lawsuit notes that the two state agencies have illegally diverted as much as half a million dollars since 2013 to subsidize commercial fur trapping in California.

“Commercial trapping is a cruel, destructive practice that shouldn’t be subsidized by California taxpayers,” said attorney Jean Su, the Center’s associate conservation director. “It’s wrong that a handful of trappers slaughter our wildlife for private profit while the state foots the bill. These animals are far more valuable as essential species in California’s web of life than as skinned pelts shipped to Russia and China.”

In 2015, conservationists celebrated the Fish and Game Commission’s decision to ban the commercial trapping of bobcats, whose pelts are some of the most lucrative on the international fur market. But more than a dozen other furbearing animals still experience cruel trapping under the state’s mismanaged trapping program.

California law requires that the states’s costs of managing a commercial trapping program must be fully recovered through trapping license fees. The state spends hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on wardens, biologists and administrators to oversee and enforce trapping regulations, yet license fees cover only a tiny fraction of the program’s total costs. Taxpayers foot the bill for the shortfall.

Since the fee-recovery mandate became effective in2013, the commission and the fish and wildlife department have illegally diverted upwards of half a million dollars to subsidize commercial fur trapping in California.

“The illegal subsidization of the state’s commercial trapping program violates not just the letter of the law, but the will of the California people,” said Camilla Fox, executive director of Project Coyote. “An overwhelming majority of Californians do not support commercial trapping.”

In the 2015-2016 license year, approximately 200 trappers purchased commercial licenses. Of those, 50 reported killing the nearly 2,000 animals trapped for fur that year, according to a department report. To ensure undamaged pelts, trappers often kill animals through strangulation, gassing and anal electrocution.

If the illegal subsidy of trapping licenses is eliminated, trapping license fees would have to be set at a level that few if any trappers would likely be willing to pay, resulting in a de facto end to commercial fur trapping in California.

“It’s shocking that California still permits the inhumane slaughter of our wildlife for fur,” Su said. “It’s time the state is held accountable for its poor management of a program that benefits only a few.”

Today’s lawsuit targets the California Fish and Game Commission and Department of Fish and Wildlife for failing to raise license fees to the levels adequate to recoup the entire commercial trapping program’s costs, as mandated under law. If the illegal subsidy of trapping licenses is eliminated, trapping license fees would have to be set at a level that few, if any, trappers would likely be willing to pay, resulting in a de facto end to commercial fur trapping in California.

Recognizing the ecological importance of carnivores, the Center and Project Coyote use science-based advocacy to defend these magnificent animals from persecution, exploitation and extinction. Find out more about the Center’s Carnivore Conservation campaign here and aboutProject Coyote’s Predator Protection Programs here.

Alberta: Coyote gets stuck in car’s grille after being hit on highway – released…

AIRDRIE, Alta. – An Alberta woman says she was shocked when she found a
coyote she thought she’d struck and killed on the highway stuck in the
grille of her car.

Georgie Knox was driving to work in Calgary from her home in Airdrie last
week when the animal darted in front of her vehicle.

She says she heard a “crunch” and thought she’d run the animal over and
killed it.

But when she stopped at a traffic light near Calgary’s Foothills Hospital, a
construction worker pointed out the young coyote was lodged in her grille
and alive.

Knox called provincial fish and wildlife officers to help.

They managed to remove the animal, found it had only suffered minor injuries
and released it in the foothills west of Calgary.

Knox told CTV she felt bad when she realized the coyote had been embedded in
her grille for almost 35 kilometres at highway speeds.

“I felt horrible when I realized I took him with me all the way from
Airdrie. I thought he must be suffering and was going to die, so I was very
upset.”

She was astounded at the outpouring of concern.

“It was amazing just to see all kinds of people come together to save this
pup’s life. The construction workers, 311 dispatchers, (Calgary Police
Service) and finally the Wildlife Enforcement Department.”

Her story has gone viral on Facebook. It’s been shared tens of thousands of
times.

Knox said her experience has sparked a discussion about whether people
should be stopping to check on a wild animal they have hit on a busy
highway.

http://www.torontosun.com/2017/09/12/coyote-gets-stuck-in-cars-grille-after
being-hit-on-highway

Court Rules Monterey County Federal Animal-killing Contract Violates Law

Decision Likely Halts Program That Kills Coyotes,
Bobcats, Mountain Lions
 

Contacts:

Camilla Fox, Project Coyote, (415) 690-0338, cfox@projectcoyote.org
Collette Adkins, Center for Biological Diversity, (651) 955-3821,cadkins@biologicaldiversity.org
Amey Owen, Animal Welfare Institute, (202) 446-2128, amey@awionline.org
Natalia Lima, Animal Legal Defense Fund, (201) 679-7088, nlima@aldf.org
Kimiko Martinez, Natural Resources Defense Council, (310) 434-2344, kmartinez@nrdc.org

SALINAS, Calif.— The California Superior Court has ruled that Monterey County’s contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program to kill predators and other native wildlife violates state law. The decision responds to a lawsuit filed by animal protection and conservation organizations.

The court concluded that Monterey County violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by failing to analyze the environmental impacts before renewing the controversial program, which has shot, trapped and snared thousands of animals in the county in recent years.

“This is a decisive victory for California’s wildlife and for science as it sends a clear message to USDA Wildlife Services and to entities contracting with them that they must look at the impacts of killing thousands of animals to both target and non-target animals as well as to the environment,” said Camilla Fox, founder and executive director of Project Coyote.

The court’s ruling finds that Monterey County’s contract renewal with Wildlife Services violates CEQA because the county wrongfully claimed an exemption from the Act. The court found “no evidence” to support the county’s claim that its contract for predator control could not result in “significant environmental change,” so the county must now analyze the environmental impacts of the program.

“This decision is a major victory for Monterey County’s coyotes, foxes and other wildlife,” said Collette Adkins, an attorney and biologist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “All the latest science shows predator control is expensive, ineffective and inhumane. We hope the court’s decision spurs the county to realize that business-as-usual wildlife killing is no longer acceptable.”

Monterey County’s previous contract authorized Wildlife Services to kill hundreds of coyotes, as well as bobcats, mountain lions and other animals every year without fully assessing the ecological damage or considering alternatives. For example, from June 2014 to June 2015, Wildlife Services killed 105 coyotes, three mountain lions and two bobcats in the county. Over the past six years, Wildlife Services has killed more than 3,500 animals in Monterey County using traps, snares and firearms.

“It is appalling that Wildlife Services, a little known federal program, uses taxpayer dollars to slaughter millions of wild animals annually,” explained Tara Zuardo, a wildlife attorney with the Animal Welfare Institute. “We applaud the court in this case for calling out Monterey County for violating state law and recognizing the significant environmental impact of Wildlife Service’s unnecessary and inhumane slaughter of wildlife in the county.”

“We are pleased with the court’s decision and willingness to enforce this important environmental statute,” said Katherine Henderson, the lead attorney representing the conservation organizations.

“Wildlife Services should be under close scrutiny for its track record of indiscriminate killing and subjecting countless animals to painful deaths,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “The individual coyotes, foxes, bobcats and others killed annually by Wildlife Services are integral components of the environment, and the government cannot recklessly kill these species without carefully assessing the potential ecological consequences of their deaths.”

A Monterey County resident joined with Animal Legal Defense Fund, theAnimal Welfare Institute, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Natural Resources Defense CouncilProject Coyote and the Mountain Lion Foundation to file the lawsuit that led to this victory. The conservationists were represented by Katherine Henderson, Christoher Mays and Mary Procaccio-Flowers of the law firm Wilson Sonsoni Goodrich & Rosati.

Background

Last year, Wildlife Services reported that it killed 1.6 million native animals nationwide, including 3,893 coyotes, 142 foxes, 83 black bears, 18 bobcats and thousands of other creatures in California. Nontarget animals — including family dogs and protected wildlife like wolves, Pacific fisher, and eagles — are also at risk from Wildlife Services’ indiscriminate methods.

Peer-reviewed research shows that such reckless slaughter of animals—particularly predators—results in broad ecological destruction and loss of biodiversity. The program’s controversial and indiscriminate killing methods have come under increased scrutiny from scientists, the public, and government officials.

#

The Animal Legal Defense Fund was founded in 1979 to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. To accomplish this mission, the Animal Legal Defense Fund files high-impact lawsuits to protect animals from harm; provides free legal assistance and training to prosecutors to assure that animal abusers are punished for their crimes; supports tough animal protection legislation and fights harmful legislation; and provides resources and opportunities to law students and professionals to advance the emerging field of animal law. For more information, please visit aldf.org.

The Animal Welfare Institute is a nonprofit charitable organization founded in 1951 and 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. For more information, visit awionline.org.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places: biologicaldiversity.org.

Project Coyote, a national nonprofit organization headquartered in Northern California, is a North American coalition of wildlife educators, scientists, ranchers, and community leaders promoting coexistence between people and wildlife, and compassionate conservation through education, science, and advocacy. For more information, visit ProjectCoyote.org.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 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. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, Montana, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

For 30 years, the Mountain Lion Foundation has worked with member volunteers and activists to further wildlife policies that seek to protect mountain lions, people and domestic animals without resorting to lethal measures. For more information, visitmountainlion.org.

Why killing coyotes doesn’t make livestock safer

https://theconversation.com/why-killing-coyotes-doesnt-make-livestock-safer-75684

Few Americans probably know that their tax dollars paid to kill 76,859 coyotes in 2016. The responsible agency was Wildlife Services (WS), part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Its mission is to “resolve wildlife conflicts to allow people and wildlife to coexist.” This broad mandate includes everything from reducing bird strikes at airports to curbing the spread of rabies.

Controlling predators that attack livestock is one of the agency’s more controversial tasks. WS uses nonlethal techniques, such as livestock guard dogs and fladry – hanging strips of cloth from fences, where they flutter and deter predators. But every year it also kills tens of thousands of predators, including bears, bobcats, coyotes, foxes, hawks, cougars and wolves.

However, there is no clear evidence that lethal control works to reduce human-predator conflict. In fact, it can even make the problem worse. At the same time, research shows that predators play key roles in maintaining healthy ecosystems. As a conservation biologist specializing in human-wildlife conflicts, I see growing evidence that it is time to reconsider lethal control.

Warfare on the range

Coyotes have been a target ever since European explorers first arrived in their territory centuries ago. Nonetheless, their range has expanded from the western plains across most of the continent.

The most common reason for killing coyotes is to reduce predation of livestock, such as sheep and calves. In a 2015 USDA report on sheep losses, ranchers reported how many of their animals died in 2014 and how they died. Twenty-eight percent of adult sheep losses and 36 percent of lamb losses were attributed to predators. Of those animals, ranchers stated that 33,510 adult sheep (more than half of total predation losses) and 84,519 lambs (nearly two-thirds of all predation losses) were killed by coyotes.

Domestic sheep killed by a coyote in California. CDFW/Flickr, CC BY

According to the American Sheep Industry Association, about UD$20.5 million of ranchers’ losses in 2014 (roughly one-fifth of their total losses) were attributed to coyotes. Importantly, however, these numbers were based on self-reported data and were not verified by wildlife professionals. External review would be useful because even experienced ranchers may have trouble determining in some cases whether a sheep was killed by a coyote or a dog (dogs are second only to coyotes in reported predation on livestock), or died from other causes and later was scavenged by coyotes.

To keep coyotes in check, WS employees set neck snares and other traps, shoot coyotes on the ground and from planes and helicopters, arm sheep with collars containing liquid poison and distribute M-44 “bombs” that inject sodium cyanide into the mouths of animals that chew on them.

As in warfare, there is collateral damage. M-44s killed more than 1,100 domestic dogs between 2000 and 2012. Scientists have also criticized WS for unintentionally killing numerous animals and birds, including federally protected golden and bald eagles, while failing to do any studies of how its actions affected nontarget species. Early this year the American Society of Mammalogists called for more scientific scrutiny of the policy of killing large predators.

How effective is lethal control?

It is understandable for struggling ranchers to blame coyotes for economic losses, since kills leave tangible signs and killing predators seems like a logical solution. However, a widely cited 2006 study called coyotes scapegoats for factors that were more directly related to the decline of sheep ranching in the United States.

The author, Dr. Kim Murray Berger, who was then a research biologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society, built and tested a series of statistical models to explain the declining number of sheep being bred in the United States. She found that variables including the price of hay, wage rates and the price of lamb explained most of the decline, and that the amount of money spent on predator control had little effect.

Other research indicates that even if predation is one factor in ranchers’ economic losses, lethal control is not the best way to reduce it.

Warning in area baited with cyanide traps, Sandoval, New Mexico (click to zoom).Killbox/Flickr, CC BY-NC

One 2016 analysis reviewed studies that compared lethal and nonlethal strategies for controlling livestock predation. Lethal methods ranged from civilian hunts to government culls. Nonlethal methods included fladry, guard animals, chemical repellents and livestock protection collars. The review found that nonlethal methods generally reduced livestock predation more effectively, and that predation actually temporarily increased after use of some lethal methods.

Why would predation increase after predators are killed? When pack animals such as coyotes, dingoes and wolves are killed, the social structure of their packs breaks down. Female coyotes become more likely to breed and their pups are more likely to survive, so their numbers may actually increase. Packs generally protect territories, so breaking up a pack allows new animals to come in, raising the population. In addition, some new arrivals may opportunistically prey on livestock, which can increase predation rates.

These findings extend beyond the United States. A three-year study in South Africa found that using nonlethal methods to protect livestock from jackals, caracals and leopards cost ranchers less than lethal methods, both because less predation occurred and because the nonlethal methods cost less.

In Australia dingoes occupy a similar ecological niche to coyotes and are similarly targeted. In a recent case study at a cattle station, researchers found that ceasing all lethal and nonlethal predator control reduced predation of cattle by dingoes as the social structure of the resident dingoes stabilized.

Even research by USDA supports this pattern. In a recent study, researchers from several universities, USDA’s National Wildlife Research Center and the nonprofit advocacy group Defenders of Wildlife analyzed wolf predation rates for sheep producers on public grazing lands in Idaho. Predation was 3.5 times higher in zones where lethal control was used than in adjacent areas where nonlethal methods were used.

A USDA biologist installs fladry to deter predators on a ranch near Jackson, Wyoming. Pamela Manns, USAD/Flickr

A high-stakes placebo

Overuse of subsidized predator control is comparable to primary care doctors overprescribing antibiotics to human patients. Patients often demand antibiotics for common colds, although doctors understand that these infections are caused mainly by viruses, so antibiotics will be ineffective. But receiving a prescription makes patients feel that their concerns are being addressed. Lethal control is a high-stakes placebo for the problems that ail ranchers, and misusing it can increase problems for ranchers and the ecosystems around them.

Human-wildlife conflict is a complex issue. Often, as some colleagues and I showed in our recent book, “Human-Wildlife Conflict,” the real problem is confrontations between humans about how to deal with wildlife.

This means that we need to choose prevention and mitigation methods carefully. If cultural values and prevailing community attitudes are not taken into account, attempts to change ranching practices could increase hostility toward predators and make it harder for conservation groups to work with ranchers.

Federal employees at Wildlife Services are under tremendous pressure from the agricultural industry. And farmers and ranchers often act based on deeply rooted traditions and cultural attitudes. It rests with wildlife professionals to use current and well-grounded science to address human concerns without harming the environment.

The ugly sides of coyote hunting

Another View — Christine Schadler: The ugly sides of coyote hunting

The recent article in the Union Leader about coyote baiting lifts the curtain on the world of coyote killing. In this recreational activity, a hunter can leave bait such as the dead pigs and chickens mentioned. Coyotes scavenge whatever they can, and unwittingly become target practice for the waiting shooter.

There is no hunt involved, no fair chase and no biological justification for this — just killing a useful predator, sorely needed to control rodent and deer populations. Why is this allowed? Ask the wildlife managers at New Hampshire Fish and Game and you will learn that since the coyotes will quickly replace any members removed, they are infinitely replaceable and therefore are in no danger of becoming extinct.

This is hardly justification.

Resilience characterizes the coyote, a trait for which it should be admired. Instead, it is the trait that causes coyotes so much trouble. The coyote is the predator we cannot control. Decades of extermination effort has yielded only hundreds of thousands more coyotes and a remarkable expansion in their range. Biologists understand the power of unleashing this responsive reproduction characteristic but at Fish and Game agencies, unlimited killing of coyotes is tolerated to appease the hunters who wish to kill for the sake of killing.

Ask one of these hunters why they kill coyotes and they will quickly respond, as did Mr. Toomey, the baiter, that coyotes have no predators and would get out of control if they weren’t constantly taken.

Of course, in nature, everything has predators and in the case of coyotes, it is disease. Mange, distemper, rabies, Parvo virus, tularemia, canine hepatitis and even porcupines all take their toll on coyotes. Meanwhile coyotes, a major predator of rodents (which make up 62 percent of their diet,) help to control the spread of Lyme disease.

As New Hampshire Fish and Game turns a blind eye to the reality of coyote killing, as discovered by the young man in Plaistow, they allow cruelty to pups, orphaned when their parents are killed, to a slow death by starvation. Yes, coyotes can be killed during their breeding and denning season, day and night in this state. Ask a wildlife manager at Fish and Game about this and you will be told that there aren’t that many taken to really make a dent in the population, but this is not the point.

First, no one is keeping track of the numbers of coyotes killed by hunting, baiting and denning (killing pups while in their den), and hunters are not required to report what they have killed. Secondly, the ethics of killing coyotes 365 days a year and at night from January through March are not part of the management decision-making.

The eastern coyote, like predators in general, regulates its own population naturally in several ways. When pack structure, crucial to self-regulation, is impacted by hunting, the young breed. Normally two thirds of all females never breed due to brief estrus cycles (just one week per year.) Also, vigilant parents do not tolerate their young breeding on their territory. Only the breeding pair breeds, period.

As long as no one asks too many questions, irresponsible hunters will continue to kill, kill, kill coyotes. Now that New Hampshire Fish and Game needs $1.5 million from the General Fund, our voice must be heard in defense of wildlife. The hunter, giving fair chase, holding ethical standards and using that animal for food, has every right to continue.

Christine Schadler is the Vermont and New Hampshire representative for Project Coyote.

Coalition of Scientists Condemn “Georgia Coyote Challenge” State Sanctioned Coyote Slaughter Commenced March 1

ATLANTA, Georgia – In a letter to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), eighteen scientists with Project Coyote condemned the state agency-sanctioned “Georgia Coyote Challenge,” stating, “This purported management tool is nothing more than a wildlife killing contest (WKC), tempting participants to kill coyotes for a chance to win a lifetime hunting license.”

The Georgia Coyote Challenge (GCC) started yesterday, and has already come under intense public criticism and scientific scrutiny. Project Coyote’s letter, written by some of the most preeminent wild canid ecologists in the country, states, “The Georgia DNR argues that the Georgia Coyote Challenge is important for achieving management objectives for other species, especially game species. There is no credible evidence that indiscriminate killing of coyotes or other predators effectively serves any genuine interest in managing other species.”

“For a state agency whose mission is to ‘sustain, enhance, protect and conserve Georgia’s natural, historic and cultural resources’ to sponsor such a program is reprehensible,” states Dr. Chris Mowry, Project Coyote Science Advisory Board member, founder of the Atlanta Coyote Project, and co-author of the letter. He adds, “The Georgia Coyote Challenge is both inhumane and unwise.”

Project Coyote scientists also point to the DNR’s contradictory position on organized coyote killing programs, citing the Georgia Deer Management Plan (2015-2024), which was prepared by the DNR and states: “Coyote bounties [are] viewed as an ineffective tool. … [Wildlife Resources Division] and [the Georgia State] General Assembly oppose coyote bounty programs.”

“Project Coyote’s science advisory board has exposed the DNR in a shameful contradiction,” stated Camilla Fox, Project Coyote Founder and Executive Director. “The DNR’s own research clearly shows that indiscriminate coyote killing is ‘ineffective’ and yet here they are promoting a statewide incentivized coyote kill fest that has no legitimate wildlife management purpose whatsoever.”

“We are also very concerned about the public safety threat the Georgia Coyote Challenge poses to people and pets,” Mowry stated. “Encouraging thousands of Georgians to shoot as many coyotes as they can—sometimes right outside of city limits—is a recipe for disaster.”

“Aside from the ecological insanity and public safety concerns of the Georgia Coyote Challenge, it is ethically indefensible,” stated Fox. “Coyote pups born this spring will be orphaned and left to die a slow and painful death when their parents are shot. This kill fest should be halted immediately.”

Project Coyote led a successful effort to end the killing of coyotes, bobcats, foxes and other animals for prizes and other inducements in California in 2014. The non-profit organization is part of a coalition in New Mexico currently pushing legislation through the state legislature that would ban coyote killing contests statewide.

READ PROJECT COYOTE’S LETTER TO THE DNR here.

WATCH PROJECT COYOTE’S FILM TRAILER “Unfair Game: Ending Wildlife Killing Contests” here

WATCH a video about coyotes in Georgia with Project Coyote Science Advisory Board member Chris Mowry here.

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Project Coyote is a national non-profit organization, comprised of a coalition of scientists, educators, ranchers and citizen leaders promoting compassionate conservation and coexistence between people and wildlife through education, science and advocacy. We work to change laws and policies to protect native carnivores from abuse and mismanagement, advocating coexistence instead of killing. We seek to change negative attitudes toward coyotes, wolves and other misunderstood predators by replacing ignorance and fear with understanding, respect and appreciation.


Copyright © 2017 Project Coyote, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
P.O. Box 5007, Larkspur, CA 94977

The Latest: Panel OKs Measure to Ban Coyote-killing Contests

http://www.usnews.com/news/new-mexico/articles/2017-02-16/the-latest-panel-oks-measure-to-ban-coyote-killing-contests

Legislation aimed at banning coyote-hunting competitions in New Mexico has cleared its first legislative hurdle.

Feb. 16, 2017, at 1:04 p.m.

The Latest: Panel OKs Measure to Ban Coyote-killing Contests

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on wildlife bills pending in the New Mexico Legislature (all times local):

11 a.m.

Legislation aimed at banning coyote-hunting competitions in New Mexico has cleared its first legislative hurdle.

The majority of the Senate Conservation Committee gave the bill a do-pass recommendation during a packed hearing Thursday. The measure must win approval from two more committees before reaching the Senate floor for a vote.

The bill sponsored by Democrat Sen. Jeff Steinborn of Las Cruces would outlaw coyote-killing contests after a number of recent competitions drew anger from animal rights advocates. The bill would not prevent landowners from hunting the predators on their property.

Ranchers and outfitters from around the state argued that the contests can be a tool for managing packs of coyotes that threaten cattle and sheep.

Supporters of the legislation called the practice barbaric and questioned whether there were any scientific benefits.

___

10:31 a.m.

A Senate committee has tabled a proposal to significantly shift the mission of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.

The legislation sponsored by Democrat Sen. Jeff Steinborn of Las Cruces would give the department the authority to manage all wildlife as a public resource rather than managing game animals and fish for recreation and food as currently provided under law.

The measure also would give the gubernatorial appointees of the Game Commission authority over all wildlife rather than just game species.

The department argues that the legislation would effectively add another 6,000 species to the list of animals it’s responsible for managing, costing millions of dollars more each year.

Game and Fish Director Alexa Sandoval called the measure an unfunded mandate, noting that the department’s work is funded by sportsmen through licenses and other fees.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.

Coyote hunting ban would end under NC Senate bill, but some fear for endangered red wolves

http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article132861439.html