The fact that Utah spends a half a million dollars each year on outdated, ineffective, inhumane and ecologically irresponsible coyote bounties might be understandable if it were 1914, not 2014. ("Is coyote bounty helping mule deer?" May 9, 2014) I am a rancher who understands the value that predators add to ranch lands.
I am also on the advisory board of Project Coyote, a national coalition of scientists and educators working to foster coexistence between people and wildlife.
Coyotes and other predators keep pastures healthier by controlling rodent populations. Considering that a single coyote can eat 1800 rodents a year, this makes them a pretty formidable (not to mention free) pest control service. This also makes them pretty great neighbors when humans learn to use non-lethal methods to protect our livestock and pets.
Study after study, including one just published in the May 2014 Journal of Wildlife Management, shows that coyote predation — even at the highest levels reported — is not significant enough to cause deer populations to decline.
Utah is not protecting their mule deer with the $500,000 they spend killing coyotes. The truth is, the only thing that this bounty appears to be succeeding at is padding the wallets of coyote hunters.
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