Letter: What science backs coyote killing contests?
Kudos to Vermont Rep. Paul Lefebvre for standing up for wildlife and offering legislation to protect eastern coyotes/coywolves from hunting contests and eventually establishing a season on them. What I want to know from the article is, what kind of science does Vermont Fish and Game use to justify vilifying eastern coyotes with year round seasons and allowing hunting competitions, with "sportsmen" killing coyotes for fun and even out of pure hate? Is the only "science" that Vermont wildlife officials use is to justify their hyper pro-hunting ideology are data that says that populations won't go extinct with a certain level of hunting? How do they know populations are "abundant and healthy"? Is that their opinion, or do they have data beyond how many are killed (sorry, "harvested") each year? What about the social-science data that overwhelmingly finds that the public does not condone trophy hunting and killing contests? What about the hundreds of scientific publications that says that predators are vital to maintaining ecological health? There is no way that wildlife agencies can justify that legal year-round slaughters promotes ecological health. What about the science showing predators maintain and limit their own numbers through their territoriality? What about the compassionate coexistence paradigm and the data that shows that eastern coyotes and other canids are social, sentient, family-oriented animals? Surely they are hurt by the loss of family members in these needless hunts. And lastly, what about the data that shows the eastern coyote is a coyote-wolf hybrid that has native wolf genes and is only about 60-65 percent? Surely these inconvenient facts or "science" are ignored by a biased agency that caters to a small minority of people.
The time is ripe for revising wildlife laws and these abhorrent killing contests show the true colors of who our wildlife agencies cater to (hint: it isn't the general public). In fact I know first-hand as I've lost my research career in Massachusetts for defending these predators: http://www.easterncoyoteresearch.com/researchobstructiontestimonial/.
Founder, Eastern Coyote/Coywolf Research
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