Even true stories about wolves sound like fables.
Last October, an animal appearing to be a gray wolf showed up on the Kaibab Plateau in Arizona, just north of the Grand Canyon National Park. At first, no one was sure what, exactly, the “wolflike animal” was, but if, as suspected, it was a gray wolf that had migrated from the northern Rockies, it would have been the first time since the 1940s one had set foot in the Grand Canyon. Although there were once an estimated 2 million gray wolves across the continent, humans hunted and poisoned them to the point of oblivion. But thanks to federal protections under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), since the 1970s, gray wolf populations have slightly rebounded. After reintroducing 60 Canadian wolves in Yellowstone in 1995, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) estimate their population is now up to about 1,500 animals across Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.
People reported sightings of the Grand Canyon creature through November and December and heard her howls across the forest. Scientists analyzed her poop and confirmed it: she was a gray wolf from the northern Rockies, 450 miles north, first collared near Cody, WY in January 2014. The itinerant, lonesome wolf seized the imagination of the nation and then the world. In a contest for school children, she was given the nickname “Echo.”
In late December, a hunter shot and killed a wolf near Beaver, Utah, thinking it was a coyote. (The state of Utah permits bounty hunting for coyotes, $50 a head.) Federal agencies refused to say whether the dead wolf was the same one from the Grand Canyon.
That is, until last week. Genetic testing by the FWS confirms Echo was shot dead.
on January 15, 2015 at 6:31 AM, updated January 15, 2015 at 9:05 AM
Criminal charges have been authorized against two Upper Peninsula hunters accused of urging hunting dogs to attack a wounded coyote and videotaping the squealing animal, court records show.
The hunters also were investigated after both allegedly videotaped a wounded coyote deliberately hit by one of the hunters’ truck, an MLive.com Freedom of Information Act request found.
Both incidents were witnessed by one of the men’s 12-year-old son, according to records.
The two men, both from Ironwood, face felony and misdemeanor charges.
One hunter, 45, faces one count of killing/torturing animals, a four-year felony. The hunter also faces four misdemeanor counts: general violation of wildlife conservation, two counts of abandonment/cruelty to an animal, and taking game from a vehicle. Penalties range from 90 to 93 days in jail.
The second hunter, 34, also faces one felony count of killing/torturing animals and one misdemeanor count of abandonment/cruelty to an animal.
The hunters have been under investigation for videotaping three hunting dogs mauling a coyote one had shot. They also were being investigated for running down a coyote with a truck, then videotaping the injured animal before killing it.
The allegations are detailed in court records MLive.com obtained in August. The documents detail videotapes that had been uploaded to YouTube by one of the men. They have since been taken down, though copies exist.
In one video uploaded Feb. 20 and titled “Hounds Fight Wounded Yote,” hunting dogs Doc, Duke, and Cooter bound through snow toward the mature coyote. Already shot and wounded, according to the video narrator, the coyote lies nearly motionless in the thigh-high drifts. Its eyes blink.
“This is going to be some live action,” the man says as he aims the video camera. “There he his. There he is. Get him, Doc. Get him. … We’re going to get Cooter in here. He’s a machine.”
High-pitched wails punctuate the wooded silence. The coyote is near death at the end.
The second YouTube video was allegedly taped by one of the hunters after his truck was used to strike the animal in the road, authorities said.
The video, called “Yota kills a Yote,” was found during a search of the videographer’s home on May 12, and was taped in Ironwood Township, records state.
“The coyote was struck with a motor vehicle on purpose and left to lay alive in the road after it was videoed for minutes before killing it,” Conservation Officer Grant Emery wrote in the sworn affidavit.
Later, in a separate document, Emery wrote, “The coyote in the video that had been run over by (the hunter’s) vehicle was lying in the road, still alive, and it takes several minutes of talking and videoing before the animal is killed,” according to court documents.
Eventually, the videographer handed the camera to his friend, who began taping. The first man took the revolver “and dispatched the coyote,” Emery wrote.
The cases were investigated by the law enforcement division of the Department of Natural Resources.
Arraignment of the men could happen as soon as Monday in Gogebic County District Court.
A hunter mistook a gray wolf for a coyote Sunday near Beaver, shooting and killing the protected 70-pound animal, Utah wildlife officials confirmed Monday.
The 3-year-old female wolf had been collared in Cody, Wyo., in January 2014. Wildlife officials and advocacy groups wonder if the dead animal is the same wolf that had been hanging around the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in recent months.
The hunter shot the wolf about five miles east of Beaver on the south end of southwestern Utah’s Tushar Mountains and called Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) law-enforcement officials upon noticing the collar. State conservation officers then contacted the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
“We are still investigating,” DWR director Greg Sheehan said, “but it seems initially that it was a case of mistaken identity.”
Sheehan said the hunter could face citations for killing the animal, federally protected in that part of Utah under the Endangered Species Act. The Fish & Wildlife Service will conduct the probe.
The weekend shooting is the first documented killing of a gray wolf in Utah by a hunter since officials reintroduced the animals into Yellowstone National Park and Idaho in the mid-1990s.
A 3-year-old male wolf was found dead in a leg-hold trap in Box Elder County in 2006. Another collared male wolf was found alive in a trap near Morgan in 2002 and taken back to Yellowstone.
“This is a very sad day for wolf conservation and for Utah,” said Kirk Robinson, executive director of the Salt Lake City-based Western Wildlife Conservancy. “All competent wildlife biologists already know that coyote hunting, including our state bounty program, is ineffective, and therefore a waste of money — and now we see that it is also a threat to other wildlife and to wolf recovery.”
Utah offers a $50 bounty for coyotes under the Mule Deer Preservation Act. In the second year of the program, which concluded June 30, more than 7,000 coyotes were turned in for the monetary reward.
Earlier this month, someone took a picture of what appears to be a wolf crossing Highway 14 east of Cedar City. It is possible, Sheehan said, that the wolf killed Sunday was the same animal spotted in Cedar Canyon and the Grand Canyon.
The Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity says the proximity of Beaver to the North Rim makes it likely that the dead wolf, named Echo in an online naming contest, came from the Grand Canyon area.
“It’s heartbreaking that another far-wandering wolf has been cut down with a fatal gunshot,” the center’s Michael Robinson said in a release. “This female wolf could have helped wolves naturally recover in remote regions of Utah and neighboring states. Federal authorities need to conduct a full investigation into this latest killing, which is part of a disturbing pattern.”
Biologists say the collars on the animal killed Sunday and the Grand Canyon wolf appear to be different.
In August, wildlife officials confirmed a wolf sighting in northeastern Utah’s Uinta Mountains. That animal, believed to be a large male that had been collared near Canada’s border with Idaho, has not been spotted since September. His radio collar was failing at the time and there have been no new sightings of that wolf.
Hung and Christmas-decorated coyote stirs outrage
Posted by Ted McDermott on Thu, Dec 11, 2014 at 4:42 PM
- Christine Svoboda
“I was mortified by it,” Svoboda says. “I like wildlife. I moved to Montana, because I love living among nature, and then you see sad things. It’s cruelty to animals, is what it is. It’s very disrespectful to animals.”
Sanders County Commissioner Carol Brooker, who represents the Plains area, says she doesn’t know a lot about the offending coyote, but she does know Svoboda isn’t the only one alarmed by bizarre decoration. According to Brooker, River Road is the second busiest thoroughfare in the county. Its traffic, she says, regularly includes school buses.
“It’s really unnerved a lot of people,” Brooker says.
While Brooker says there is an old ranching tradition of hanging dead coyotes to ward off other coyotes from vulnerable livestock, she doesn’t believe this to be the intention in this case.
“This particular place that this is hanging, I don’t think they have any livestock,” Brooker says, adding that the animal is in a yard, not on a ranch.
According to Brooker, the Sander County Sheriff’s Department is aware of the coyote but is unable to do anything about it, since it’s on private property. As for Svoboda, she says she took photos of the hung animal in an attempt to raise awareness.
“I thought maybe I would try to just let them know that somebody knows, that somebody saw it, and maybe it’s not okay to do that,”
Vote in Poll on lower right column here:“A group of wildlife conservationists asked Cape Cod National Seashore officials to ban hunting for meat-eating predators such as coyotes and foxes on the 44,000-acre park. Do you support the ban or the hunters?”…
Conservationists call on park leaders to prohibit coyote and fox hunting
By Mary Ann Bragg
Posted Dec. 12, 2014
SOUTH WELLFLEET – A request from wildlife conservationists to ban coyote and fox hunting in the Cape Cod National Seashore will be considered by the agency’s managers in the next few weeks.
Predator Defense, a conservation group in Oregon, joined with backers, including about 30 people on Cape Cod, to ask Seashore officials in a letter Tuesday to ban the hunting of meat-eating predators within the Seashore’s 44,000 acres. The Seashore boundaries include public and private lands across the Cape’s six easternmost towns.
Meat-eating predators found in the Seashore would include Eastern coyote, red fox, river otter and fisher, and in the future, could include gray fox, bobcat and black bear, according to the Predator Defense letter.
The Seashore follows state hunting regulations except for banning all hunting from March 1 through Aug. 31 and allowing a spring turkey hunt, according to Seashore Chief of Natural Resource Management Jason Taylor. The Seashore also operates under a 2007 final environmental impact statement hunting program that manages traditional hunting practices with National Environmental Policy Act standards, such as minimizing the effect on wildlife populations and ecosystems.
“The EIS was fully vetted over multiple years, so I’m not sure why we’re talking about this now,” Taylor said Thursday. Taylor said he and Seashore Superintendent George Price would likely meet to discuss the letter within the next few weeks and craft a response. He said he supported the idea in the letter that predator species are important to maintain a balance within the ecosystem, but that the Seashore is experiencing an imbalance with too many animals because of humans feeding them or leaving trash behind.
In response, Brooks Fahy of Predator Defense and wildlife conservationist Louise Kane, of Eastham, said Thursday that the Seashore had no data to back up a claim of imbalance with coyotes.
“We’d like to meet with them,” Kane said.
For 2014, state regulations allowed coyote hunting Jan. 1 through March 8, and then from Oct. 18 through the end of the year. In 2014, red and gray fox hunting was allowed Jan. 1 through Feb. 28, and then from Nov. 1 through the end of the year. There are no daily or season hunting limits for coyotes or foxes, state records show.
The state’s trapping season in 2014 for coyote and fox was Nov. 1 through Nov. 30, and the trapping season for river otter is Nov. 1 through Dec. 15. The trapping season for fisher was Nov. 1 through Nov. 22.
Statewide, there are an estimated 10,000 coyotes, and they and fox are considered abundant throughout the state including on Cape Cod, according to state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Chief of Information and Education Marion Larson. There is not a state estimate on the number of foxes, Larson said.
On Cape Cod, there are an estimated 200 to 250 coyotes at the end of the winter, before new pups are born, according to coyote researcher Jonathan Way of Barnstable. The coyotes in Massachusetts, called Eastern coyotes, are a hybrid of a coyote and a wolf, according to Way, and he refers to them as “coywolves.” Way was one of the backers of the Predator Defense letter.
The Seashore does not maintain population studies or harvest records on coyotes or other animals hunted under state regulations, Taylor said. “What we see is basically what we observe as we do the other work on the park,” he said.
State records show 24 coyotes and two red foxes were killed in the 2013-2014 season in Barnstable County. Larson said all hunters and trappers are required to report their harvests.
Way, though, said about 100 coyotes are killed each year on Cape Cod.
Coyotes have a natural ability to regulate their population size, and typically would have a pack of three or four adult animals and a territory of about 6 to 10 square miles, Way said. Killing through hunting disrupts the packs and territories and can lead to problems such as more pups being born and more predation of domestic animals, Way said.
“The national park is the ultimate place to have a setting where you can actually study them,” he said. “The population gets stable and they can actually act like a coyote.”
The concerns noted in the Predator Defense letter include that killing “top” predators such as coyotes can cause an overabundance of smaller predators. Hunting does not reduce predation, and killing coyotes for sport rather than to eat is unethical, according to the letter. Heavily hunted animals also show signs of higher stress, the letter stated.
— Follow Mary Ann Bragg on Twitter:@maryannbraggCCT.
HYANNIS, Mass. (WHDH) – A hunter accused of shooting a jogger twice appeared in court Tuesday while police searched for the weapon and the victim recovered at home.
Sean Houle, 47, was arrested and will face a number of charges including careless and negligent use of a weapon causing injury. He also faces other charges including unlawful possession of a primer and unlawful possession of firearm for another gun he was said to be carrying at the time.
Barnstable police said Houle accidentally shot the jogger while he was hunting for deer.
The victim, Jon Way, was hit twice with pellets from Houle’s black powder shotgun, but was recovering. The first shot hit him in the hand.
“I somehow just dove behind a small tree, but didn’t exactly figure out where it came from because it happened so quick. Once the second shot came it went right into my back. That’s when I was realized it was being shot at me, and I started yelling,” Way said.
In court Houle said he had fired at group of deer, but then he heard someone yelling to stop so he ran up to see what had happened.
“Maybe he thought I was a deer, but you don’t shoot at a deer if you can’t identify it,” Way said.
Prosecutors said police still had not found the shotgun Houle was using and said his son may have left the scene with the gun.
It was already dark outside when the shooting occurred around 5 p.m. Monday.
Prosecutors said Houle didn’t have the proper hunting license and has a history of hunting violations and multiple assault and battery cases dating back to the 1990s.
He entered a not guilty plea and was ordered held on $4,000 bail.
Dear Friend of Wildlife,
I’m probably best known to many of you as a founding member and guitarist of the rock group Queen.
Today, on Giving Tuesday I am reaching out to you as the founder of the Save Me campaign to protect British wildlife. We work year-round with concerned citizens to save badgers and foxes from being killed for sport and from being slaughtered as part of ill-advised wildlife ‘control’.
When I learned what Project Coyote was doing, I asked Camilla Fox how I could help. I’m now proud to announce that I have been appointed a Project Coyote Ambassador.
Will you join me in making a year-end donation to Project Coyote? Every dollar that you give will make a difference to the wild animals with whom we share this planet. With your support, we can make a better world for our grandchildren to inherit.
A “hunters’ rights” organization wants to hold a multi-year wolf and predator-killing derby on national public lands, including those being studied for designation as wilderness!
If approved this will be the second wolf-killing competition held in Idaho – and no predator will be safe!
If you think it can’t get worse, consider this: The proposed event would take place every winter for five years when wolves and other wildlife are most vulnerable out foraging for food in the snow and extreme cold.
Events like these are the same kinds of barbaric extermination-era tactics that drove wolves to the brink of extinction in the Lower 48 in the first place! This is not modern wildlife management, and it has no place in our society.
Please stand with us, and call on the BLM to immediately deny this permit!
A “hunter’s rights” organization has formally requested a federal permit to hold a multi-year predator-killing derby in Idaho — on national public lands!
If approved this will be the second competitive wolf-killing competition held in Idaho – and no predator will be safe!
If you think it can’t get worse, consider this. The proposed event would take place every winter for five years, when wolves and other wildlife are most vulnerable out foraging for food in the snow and extreme cold.
Please stand with us and call on the BLM to immediately deny this outrageous request!