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A few weeks ago, the Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, cowardly hiding behind the euphemism, First Annual Predator Control Survey, announced a predator control contest. A killing contest is all that it amounts to, using drunken logic that killing more and more coyotes will save deer. Ironically, as the Director of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife noted in the Salt Lake Tribune, 24 January 2001, the contest will also produce more and more coyotes: "With coyote biology, if you kill 10,000 coyotes, there will be 10,000 more pups next year."

Anyway, the idea is kill a coyote in the Uintah Basin and bring these sportsmen the tongue or tail of the coyote and get a prize for the most tongues or tails.

A little digging and it was then discovered that as a taxpaying Utahn you are also subsidizing a formal coyote bounty hunt in a number of rural counties, this time, involving turning in a pair of ears for a small reward. The legislature authorized $100,000 to go to at least six rural counties as long as the counties match funds on a dollar for dollar basin. (The Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife tongue/tail contest is a private contest.)

No scientific studies have shown such bounty hunts or contests help deer. In fact, killing coyotes, based on the scientific literature, simply has no effect on deer productivity of any sort. BOTH the Utah Division of Wildlife Resource and the infamous Wildlife Services (formerly called Animal Damage Control, the archaic federal government trapping organization) stated in the above referenced Tribune article they oppose bounty hunts because they serve no purpose. In spite of that, Wildlife Service trappers routinely kill between 2500-5000 coyotes annually with recreational plinkers killing almost as many. What many independent biologists have suggested is this simply has reduced the age of coyote populations, lowered the age of breeding and increased the number of pups. So the next coyote you see will be slightly over a year old, with pups and probably dead (or missing a tongue, tail or ears) within a year.

Isn't the Olympics mascot a Utah coyote named Cooper? Maybe she should be properly shown with tongue on the ground, missing her ears and tail, limping along with a trap hooked to her back leg, with an M-44 filled with deadly poison exploding in her mouth, a helicopter and high powered rifleman shooting at her as she runs from her den where her pups were just burned up-- all legal methods of killing coyotes in Utah. They still have no protection in Utah and are but vermin!

So much for wily old coyote!

Dick Carter

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