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.
Two men face felony charges for allegedly ordering hunting dogs to attack a wounded coyote. Video of the attack was uploaded to YouTube.
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.
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