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Coyote Hunting Contests Ethics and Legality

Sedona AZ (September 16, 2018) – The following is a letter to the SedonaEye.com editor:

I’m baffled.

I thought hunters believed animals shouldn’t unnecessarily suffer. I thought this idea was central to their values and tradition. It puzzles me to see every predator hunting facebook page and forum I’ve visited prove the more blood you get in the photo shoot the better, the more they spin around dying on video the better, if the fur flies you better believe there’s a slow motion replay.

Is Game and Fish so desperate for hunter opportunities that they lower the bar and allow coyotes to be killed for cash and prizes? Yes, and they sure do. You can even make a side bet at the upcoming “Santa Slay Coyote Calling Tournament” for smallest dog.

The main argument in favor of killing contests seems to be there’s plenty of them to kill and it’s legal, so why not. If hunters want to shift the focus from ethics to legality that’s fine with me, it proves they’ve abandoned their ethics.

I also thought hunters were educated about the animals they hunt but more radical arguments to justify contests are that coyotes eat calves and fawns, therefore, must be eradicated. They disbelieve their own state biologists who say coyotes mainly eat rodents and killing non-offending coyotes randomly will only result in more of them. Contests can trigger compensatory breeding. Bottom line is killing contests don’t manage or mitigate or prevent, they only result in more coyotes.

Hmmmm. This bodes well for Arizona Game and Fish, doesn’t it. There is no incentive to actually manage coyotes is there.

Arizona needs to ban wildlife killing contests. If you’re an ethical hunter worried about the future of hunting maybe you should stand up for tradition and values. Distance yourself from these contests and do not be silent about it.

Tina Meredith
Phoenix AZ

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38 Comments

  1. Steven Childs says:

    Tina,

    I thought I’d respond to your article on your views on coyote hunting.

    I’m sure you’ve seen some unethical behavior online in forums and on Facebook pages. I don’t know where this isn’t the case and these folks that are bloodthirsty and relish animals suffering do not speak for the vast majority of hunters.

    Coyotes are hunted for several reasons but the most important one is population management. What you may or may not be aware of is coyotes do not have natural predators through most of their range. When you add the fact that 60 to 90% of coyote females produce litters of 4 to 6 pups annually you could see how that adds up.

    Coyote hunting contests while on the surface appear unsportsmanlike to the average citizen are far from it. Most of these contests self impose rules to keep a level playing field between participants. Not a single one of them advocate breaking Game & Fish rules. Most contests would ban you from participating for life if you are found to have broken game and fish laws.

    As far as cash and prizes go, the reduction in overall hunting participation in many western states is down. Many feel the best way to get people to come out is to incentivize participation. It is done everywhere in society. From potlucks at a church events to free samples at the Costco. It is just another tool being used to attract more participation.

    The fact is that trapping used to be an effective tool to keep coyotes wary of people and their populations under control. Many of the same groups advocating for the end of coyote hunting contests are the same groups that have severely limited or banned trapping all over the US. All you have to do is look to California as the shining example where coyote attacks on people lead the nation in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Years of reduced participation and increased regulation and an all out ban on effective traps has led us down this path.

    Please don’t become prejudiced towards an entire group of people simply because of a handful of keyboard warriors.

    Speaking of ethics. I thought people who read this should be aware you have spoken at Tempe council meetings advocating the ban on sales of kittens and puppies from stores and breeders unless they were obtained from shelters. Where, without proof you accused pet shops and breeders of being puppy mills and unethical?

    Tina, be fair and admit you are a member of animal rights group Humane Society of the US. All anyone has to do is Google search your name to find out for themselves.

  2. E Dicharry says:

    Why? Doesn’t everyone realize that is what they – the coyote killers – want? More Coyotes? Even if they are weaker and more prone to target practice, morbidity and mortality?

    “I also thought hunters were educated about the animals they hunt but more radical arguments to justify contests are that coyotes eat calves and fawns, therefore, must be eradicated. They disbelieve their own state biologists who say coyotes mainly eat rodents and killing non-offending coyotes randomly will only result in more of them. Contests can trigger compensatory breeding. Bottom line is killing contests don’t manage or mitigate or prevent, they only result in more coyotes.”

  3. Brian Wilson says:

    Killing contests like this are an abomination, and should be outlawed in Arizona. It’s an embarrassment that Arizona Game and Fish takes a “neutral” position on such a bloody “sport”.

    This letter makes a good point. Where are all the so-called “ethical” hunters?

  4. Vincent Jones says:

    A person who goes out to kill wildlife in large numbers, when it has nothing to do with his own personal survival, then uses cued up recycled justifications to try to sell his mass murder as a public service is, simply put, a sociopath. The people who support his actions, are no better.

  5. Erin Becker says:

    Tina, you nailed it! THANK YOU for writing this excellent piece. I hope the ones who need to read it, read it, and then think about following science and ethics, instead of testosterone.

  6. Steven Childs says:

    Not a big surprise other members of HSUS are coming to the support of the writer. The comments used to write this with claims of being unethical and killing creates more all directly taken from the Humane Society/Project Coyote toolkit produced earlier this year.

    The claim that killing coyotes creates more is exaggerated and ignores several important factors affecting coyote reproduction.

    Coyotes are monoestrus meaning they go into heat once a year.

    60 to 90% of coyote females produce litters of 4 to 6 pups and 0 to 70% of yearling females produce litters of 4 to 6 pups annually.

    If killing coyotes created more, then explain why study after study shows that coyote population densities are on average twice as high in urban environments where they are not killed?

    Simple. Food is the predominant controlling factor of coyote populations and coyotes are omnivorous.

    The idea that killing coyotes sends them into a mating free for all or that these contests remove enough coyotes to cause density dependent effects are simply unproven.

    All HSUS and Project Coyote has are unproven theories. Instead, like usual they resort to emotional pleas and vilifying those whom they don’t understand or simply don’t agree with.

  7. Adrienne Bishop says:

    I couldn’t agree more, Tina. These barbaric events have nothing to do with conservation OR population control. It is merely spree killing. They should be outlawed in Arizona. I sincerely believe that these events give all hunters a bad name, even if they don’t participate. Ethical hunters…we need you to stand up and make your voices heard in opposition of these atrocities!

  8. M Mallon says:

    The chamber of commerce in Sedona is responsible for the killing of coyotes ..
    Not really but I love to blame them for everything.

  9. Mary C says:

    Has your or a neighbors cat or small dog ever disappeared? You can probably thank a coyote for keeping the domestic pet population down.

    Have you ever kept chickens because you like fresh organic free range eggs? Were you happy to see a coyote or two in your yard with a chicken in their mouth after having jumped your 5′ fence? The fact that she was your favorite hen and used to jump up on your lap and let you per her should not have prevented a coyote from having dinner.

    Did you ever find a pile of colorful feathers where your friendly colorful peacock used to roam? You can thank a hungry coyote.

    I’ve had all of the above happen.

    Get a life, coyotes are predators and they have almost NO natural predators. Hunting is necessary. It’s far more humane than poison or traps.

  10. Steven Childs says:

    I think I’ve made my point. Those who are opposed to coyote hunting and coyote hunting contests base their views solely on emotion.

    Not one single person in support of banning coyote hunting contests are able to dispute any of the scientific data I have provided. Just emotion.

    Its not a surprise when you look at states that consistently have attacks on people and pets are in the same areas where hunting is not allowed and trapping has been severely restricted or banned. Coyotes only know one thing… exploit the weakness of other animals for their survival. Its not a value judgment, just a fact.

    Society has a long track record of making bad decisions when we give in to emotion while avoiding important facts.

  11. @steve child’s says:

    Sounds a lot like what heppens to the tea party bunch on SE when talking about all things government…

    ALL emotion zero facts

  12. M Mallon says:

    To whoever used my name, the Chamber of Commerce and greed is responsible for the killing of Sedona as a great place to live. Uninformed, emotion based and lied to voters allowed it to happen.

    Karma will even the score. Like when your cat ran outside and never came home because a coyote needed dinner.

    Karma, it’s what’s for dinner.

  13. Ruthanne Penn says:

    Killing contests are disgusting! I’m an animal lover and it doesn’t matter at all if my emotions are involved. I’m also a gun advocate and believe they are the most important tool for self defense. Using guns to kill animals for sport is despicable! Emotional yes, and I spread the word and vote.

  14. Anonymous says:

    looks like the communists have taken over the democrats of the red rocks.

    get ready to have all those low paid workers move into your house

  15. Kate says:

    Well said Tina! It is time we all stood up for our wildlife. Killing games send a very savage message to children, that its okay to engage in these heinous practices. Well it is not.

    We also need to be conscientious caretakers of our companion animals and other animals that share our lives. If the coyote gets in the hen house, one needs a better hen house. We need to take common sense precautions. Leaving food outside, garbage or compost not properly contained, dogs off leash, cats not kept indoors, etc. all contribute to setting the stage for problems.

    I encourage AZ Game and Fish to rethink how it ‘it manages today for wildlife tomorrow”. And we as good wildlife stewards for our state need to have our voices and concerns heard. There are communities across the country who are changing their approach. Need a good example of a community, https://www.marinij.com/2018/07/23/marin-voice-lets-learn-to-live-safely-and-peacefully-with-coyotes/

    One needs to have the will to change their behavior and thought processes. Let’s walk the high ground and be a model for compassionate coexistence for wildlife.

  16. Sherrie Murasky says:

    Thank you, Tina Meredith for your letter. Most people don’t know these contests exit. They send a message that killing is fun and animals are disposable. Responsible hunters kill to eat. They waste nothing and thin out the weak in the heard to help maintain a healthy population. Killing contests are a cheap exploitation of human power and weaponry over defenseless animals. It’s not sport, just massacre.

  17. Steven Childs says:

    Just to make a point and mind you this isn’t conclusive.

    The author claims that coyote hunting contests do not control coyote populations and only serves to have the population increase.

    Can she explain why in the second year of a coyote hunting contest in Georgia the per hunter success rate fell by 14.9%?

    During the 2017 challenge period, 83 hunters turned in a total of 195 coyotes. In 2018 215 hunters removed 431 coyotes.

    Although more coyotes were removed in the second year, the per hunter success rate dropped 14.9%. This implies a reduction in the overall coyote population density.

  18. Brandon Burr says:

    What a wonderfully written article about the cruel, unnecessary wildlife killing contests in Arizona. Killing is not conservation. Anyone who believes killing is conservation must also believe murdering humans is ethical. Humans are the most dangerous, irresponsible, overpopulated predators on earth.

    “I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to support any act of killing in the world. We should consume in such a way that helps to reduce the suffering of living beings. And that way we can preserve compassion in our hearts.” -Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist teacher, peace activist, vegan

  19. Mary C says:

    @Kate,
    So my free range chickens, in my own fenced yard, need to be in a chicken prison because a coyote can jump my fence? I hope the same for you, as there are human predators, may you stay in a cage so you can be SAFE.

    Also, don’t go hiking in the wilderness surrounding Sedona. Mountain lions think YOU are food. Stay in your safe cage.

  20. Gretchen says:

    @dana V

    You post as if your needle is stuck in place… Over and over with the same nonsense…

    Just like your hate of the chamber and your No No No on Homerule..
    Oooops

  21. @Mary C says:

    Bite it Mary. Like your chickens would hang around if they ran free and the local dogs would kill them just the same as the coyotes.Shall we hunt them too?
    Build a better henhouse, nature is acting just as God created with the exception of man.
    Got any chicken poop for sale? It makes great smelly fetilizer, I hope you feed your chckens organic. You are what you eat!

  22. Wendy Jenks says:

    Steven, this is not based on emotion, but FACTS and SCIENCE, something you seem to struggle with. I encourage you to read the plethora f scientific literature that rebuts every claim you’ve made. Please READ the literature; don’t summarily dismiss them because they challenge your biases, and don’t make assumptions based on titles–each of these sources delves into coyote biology in detail and will help you to understand that your knee-jerk response to killing coyotes is a far more emotional response than wishing to protect these valuable keystone species.

    Bangs, E., & Shivik, J. A. (2001). Managing wolf conflict with livestock in the northwestern United States. USDA National Wildlife Research Center-Staff Publications, 550.

    Blejwas, K.M., Sacks B.N., Jaeger M.M., McCullough D.R. (2002). The effectiveness of selective removal of breeding coyotes in reducing sheep predation. Journal of Wildlife Management 66, 451-462.

    Brainerd, S. M., Andrén, H., Bangs, E. E., Bradley, E. H., Fontaine, J. A., Hall, W. & Wydeven,

    A. P. (2008). The effects of breeder loss on wolves. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 72(1),
    89-98.

    Bjorge, R. R., and J. R. Gunson. (1985). Evaluation of wolf control to reduce cattle predation in Alberta. Journal of Range Management 38:483-486.

    Collins, G.H., R. B. Wielgus, And G. M. Koehler. (2002). Effects of sex and age on American black bear conifer damage and control. Ursus 13:231–236.

    Connolly, G. E., and W. M. Longhurst. (1975). The effects of control on coyote populations: A simulation model. Division Agricultural Science, University of California, Davis, Bulletin 1872.

    Côté, S. D., Rooney, T. P., Tremblay, J. P., Dussault, C., & Waller, D. M. (2004). Ecological impacts of deer overabundance. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, 113-147.

    Coulson, T., Milner–Gulland, E. J., & Clutton–Brock, T. (2000). The relative roles of density and climatic variation on population dynamics and fecundity rates in three contrasting ungulate species. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences, 267(1454), 1771-1779.

    Crabtree, R. L., and J. W. Sheldon. (1999). Coyotes and canid coexistence. In Carnivores in ecosystems: The Yellowstone experience, ed. T. W. Clark et al., 127–163. New Haven: Yale University Press.

    Ellis-Felege, S.N., Conroy, M.J., Palmer, W.E., & Carroll, J.P. (2012). Predator reduction results in compensatory shifts in losses of avian ground nests. Journal of Applied Ecology 49, 661–669.

    Forchhammer, M. C., Stenseth, N. C., Post, E., & Landvatn, R. (1998). Population dynamics of Norwegian red deer: density–dependence and climatic variation. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences, 265(1393), 341-350.

    Gipson, P.S. (1975). Efficiency of trapping in capturing offending coyotes. Wildlife
    Management 39, 45-47.

    Haber, G. C. (1996). Biological, conservation, and ethical implications of exploiting and controlling wolves. Conservation Biology 10:1068-1081.

    Knowlton F.F., E. M. Gese, Jaeger M.M. (1999). Coyote depredation control: An interface between biology and management. Journal of Range Management 52, 398-412.

    Linnell, J.D.C., Odden J., Smith M.E., Aanes R., Swenson J.E. (1999). Large carnivores that kill livestock: do problem individuals really exist? Wildlife Society Bulletin 27, 698-705.

    Parker, K. L., Barboza, P. S., & Gillingham, M. P. (2009). Nutrition integrates environmental responses of ungulates. Functional Ecology, 23(1), 57-69.

    Peebles, K. A., R. B. Wielgus, B. T. Maletzke, And M. E. Swanson. (2013). Effects of remedial sport hunting on cougar complaints and livestock depredations. PloS ONE. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079713.

    Ritchie, EG, Elmhagen B, Glen AS, Letnic M, Ludwig G, McDonald RA. (2012). Ecosystem restoration with teeth: what role for predators? In: Trends Ecol. Evol. 27(5):265-271.

    Sacks, B.N., Blejwas K.M., Jaeger M.M. (1999a). Relative vulnerability of coyotes to removal methods on a northern California ranch. Wildlife Management 63, 939-949.

    Sacks, B. N., M. M. Jaeger, J. C. C. Neale, and D. R. McCullough. (1999). Territoriality and breeding status of coyotes relative to sheep predation. Journal of Wildlife Management 63:593-605.

    Sæther, B. E. (1997). Environmental stochasticity and population dynamics of large herbivores: a search for mechanisms. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 12(4), 143-149.

    Smith, M. E., Linnell, J. D., Odden, J., & Swenson, J. E. (2000). Review of methods to reduce livestock depredation II. Aversive conditioning, deterrents and repellents. Acta Agriculturae

    Scandinavica, Section A-Animal Science, 50(4), 304-315

    Stahl, P., Vandel J.M. (2001). Factors influencing lynx depredation on sheep in France: Problem individuals and habitat. Carnivore Damage Prevention News 4, 6-8.

    Treves, A., Naughton-Treves L. (2005). Evaluating lethal control in the management of human-wildlife conflict. pp. 86-106 in R. Woodroffe, S. Thirgood, A. Rabinowitz editors. People and Wildlife, Conflict or Coexistence. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

    Treves, A., R. L. Jurewicz, L. Naughton-Treves, R. A. Rose, R. C. Willging, and A. P. Wydeven. (2002). Wolf depredation on domestic animals: control and compensation in Wisconsin, 1976-2000. Wildlife Society Bulletin 30:231-241.

    Treves, A., K. J. Kapp, and D. Macfarland. (2010). American black bear nuisance complaints and hunter take. Ursus 21:30–42. doi: 10.2192/09gr012.1

    Vucetich, J. A., Smith, D. W., & Stahler, D. R. (2005). Influence of harvest, climate and wolf predation on Yellowstone elk, 1961-2004. Oikos, 111(2), 259-270.

    Wielgus, R. B. And K. A. Peebles. (2014). Effects of wolf mortality on livestock depredations. PLoS ONE 9(12): e113505. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0113505.

    Wallach, A.D., Ramp, D, & O’Neill, A.J. (2017). Cattle mortality on a predator-friendly station in central Australia. Journal of Mammalogy 98, 45–52.

    Wilmers, C. C., Post, E., Peterson, R. O., & Vucetich, J. A. (2006). Predator disease outbreak modulates top-down, bottom-up and climatic effects on herbivore population dynamics. Ecology Letters, 9(4), 383-389.

  23. Mary C says:

    “Bite it”

    You can always count on the most intelligent responses from anonymous brainless progressives. The power goes off and you will be eaten by a coyote. The world will be a better place. I hope the coyote does not get indigestion while feasting on your carcass.

  24. Mike H says:

    Where do you bleeding hearts think the meat you eat comes from? It sounds like you would prefer the horrors of factory farms so the predators like coyotes get to roam free. Life without civilization, and people doing unpleasant jobs is “nasty, brutish and short.” Nature is unforgiving. Go tour a factory farm, see the flies, s*** and animal abuse. I spoke to a woman on line, I told her I had chickens. She said she would love to take a basket and collect eggs. I asked her about cleaning the s*** from the hen house or killing and cleaning a chicken, I never heard from her again.

    Take your paxil, prosac or other SSRI happy pill and go for coffee. WHEN this free s*** system comes down, it won’t be “sharing is caring”. Read your history. Look at Venezuela today, people eating out of garbage cans and killing zoo animals.

    Enjoy the garbage, the coyotes will fight you for it.

  25. @mike h says:

    Yea ok Mike..
    You take yourself and your thoughts way to serious..
    That was quite a “story”
    And by “story” I mean “story”

  26. Steven Childs says:

    Just to make a point and mind you this isn’t conclusive.

    The author claims that coyote hunting contests do not control coyote populations and only serves to have the population increase.

    Can she explain why in the second year of a coyote hunting contest in Georgia the per hunter success rate fell by 14.9%?

    During the 2017 challenge period, 83 hunters turned in a total of 195 coyotes. In 2018 215 hunters removed 431 coyotes.

    Although more coyotes were removed in the second year, the per hunter success rate dropped 14.9%. This implies a reduction in the overall coyote population density.

  27. Steven Childs says:

    @ Wendy Jenks

    None of those studies you posted refute any of my claims.

    We’re not talking about wolf predation, population density models etc.

    Instead of addressing my comments directly, you post a ton of studies that not only do not refute the facts I presented, they are irrelevant to the subject.

    Making wildlife decisions on hysterics, emotion and studies taken out of context ends up causing more problems. Just admit you hate hunting, don’t understand it and think it should go away simply based on your feelings.

    Facts don’t care and are not swayed by your feelings.

  28. Mike H says:

    @Steven Childs,

    You can’t reason with people that value their feelings as much as logic. Voting for Home Rule “Feels” good, so they did. Voting for unnecessary funding for non profits “Feels” good, so they vote accordingly. Killing predators “Feels” bad, so they go with their feelings. They are idiots, and their vote cancels yours and mine.

    Facts and logic are strangers to them. Ask them about the Kardashians.

  29. Spinsters lament says:

    Instead of being good at the thing they can be good at, like being a wife and mother, they choose to be terrible at something no one wants and no society has ever needed. Feminism is the wrath of the unloved and unwanted woman.

    If I was ever to find myself single again, I can’t imagine even dating. Most of the women I work with seem incredibly unpleasant outside of work. The stay-at-home mother types I see at church or my son’s High School activities seem nice – but most of them outweigh me.

    So some men hunt. Having, in effect, killed traditional masculinity in the western world, the feminist women (or should I say “womyn”?) now complain loudly, asking “Where have all the cowboys gone?” Hypocrisy doesn’t even begin to describe it…. But don’t shoot the coyotes !

    All of this reminds me of something I’ve noticed when dealing with feminist women. The best thing is to dominate them. It is not only the best approach in the moment, but it opens a door for them to escape the torment of modernity. In the company of feminists, I often begin talking about repealing the 19th Amendment. I’m polite, but firm. The results are always positive. The reason is, modern women, like our feminist hero, are living lives of bitter isolation, an isolation from who they are as women. They are looking to escape it.

    They also say ” How dare you hunt those innocent creatures !” Just tell them you are saving birdies.

  30. Nancy Gilberg says:

    I viewed a meme recently which read, “When children kill animals for fun, we call it the making of a sociopath. When adults kill animals for fun, we call it sport.”

    How twisted is that?

    This is a letter that needed to be written and which all must learn from. And you’ll notice the one gentleman who has obsessively posted the most comments here – as he does on every coyote letter nationwide – is the person who feels the most threatened that his killing rights might be diminished. Do not be swayed by his mansplaining, his gaslighting, and his jabs at your ability to combine logic, facts, and healthy, empathetic emotion into appropriate and ethical decision making.

    Thank you for speaking up for coyote.

  31. M Mallon says:

    “mansplaining, his gaslighting, and his jabs at your ability to combine logic, facts, and healthy, empathetic emotion into appropriate and ethical decision making.”

    When you disqualify someone by saying they are “mansplaining”, just because they are a man, you also disqualify yourself. How would you “feel” if I said you were womansplaining?

  32. Womansplaining says:

    Womansplaining

    If you recall Jack Nicholson’s character in the movie As good as it gets. When asked by a woman how he writes women so well, Nicholson responds ” I just think of a man, then I take away reason and accountability.”

    Womansplaining, evidenced in many of the comments above.

  33. Nancy Gilberg says:

    When a man utters these words to a female wildlife enthusiast who has clearly researched her subject: “What you may or may not be aware of is coyotes do not have natural predators through most of their range.” When a man continuously mocks others for their membership in other groups (HSUS, Project Coyote, etc.) which he chooses not to follow — in fact he googles the writer in order to mine for info he can mock. When a man accuses a woman of being “too emotional” and not scientific enough…

    MANSPLAINING is the label that fits.

  34. Womansplaining says:

    @Nancy Gilberg

    Projection is where you think someone else is feeling or behaving in a particular way when actually they’re your feelings or behavior. Negative transference is similar to scapegoating and blame shifting.

    Have we learned anything ?

  35. Jim Jim Joseph OOBME says:

    worthy read x commentary

  36. I10reader says:

    coyotes aren’t dogs, they’re wild animals

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