Target: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Goal: Encourage cohabitation with coyotes instead of killing coyotes
The current coyote hunting season in New York ranges from October 1 to March 31 for the 2012-2013 year. There are no bag limits and hunters are not required to report a coyote harvest. Over 60,000 hunters participate in coyote hunting and over 3,000 trappers trap coyotes during the season. Based on research from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) itself, as well as research from organizations such as the Humane Society, which proves that coyote hunting has no effect on controlling coyote populations or decreasing the predation of livestock, the DEC should implement educational and informational programs about how to live responsibly with coyotes rather than encouraging senseless killing of the species by coyote hunting.
In 1990, New York legislators sought to pass a bill that would have allowed for year-round hunting of coyotes in New York. In response to public outcry against the bill, the DEC conducted an investigation into the role that coyotes play in relation to New York wildlife, livestock, and people. In this report, the DEC states that coyote hunting is not an effective method of population control, that coyote hunting does not impact the deer population positively or negatively, and that coyote hunting does not limit or eliminate predation of livestock.
The Environmental Conservation Law allows for “problem coyotes” to be killed at any time during the year outside of the hunting season should they be found to be destroying private property (i.e., killing livestock). This is the only time when killing coyotes has been found to be effective, as it is an immediate response involving the one coyote that is responsible for the wrong. However, this method is only a short-term solution as coyotes are territorial and as soon as one is removed from an area, another will move in to claim the territory. The DEC listed six other methods of preventing coyote predation on livestock which are MORE effective at preventing coyote attacks than killing the “problem coyotes.” These methods include using electric fences around pastures, utilizing guard dogs, utilizing donkeys and llamas to guard the livestock, confinement of livestock at night to smaller pastures protected by electric fences, or a combination of these methods.
Based on the fact that the DEC was able to provide more effective solutions for protecting livestock against coyote predation than killing the coyotes simply by conducting research on the issue, it is safe to assume that most complaints about coyotes (which easily become excuses for hunting them) can be solved with similar research and educational programs about coyote behaviors and lifestyle. If citizens were more informed about coyote behaviors and how to avoid unwanted contact with the species, certain measures could be taken–such as using locking garbage can lids and not letting pets roam outside at night–to prevent unwanted contact with coyotes. By signing this petition, you can help urge the DEC to promote educational and informational programs about coyotes and how people can responsibly share the land with them, rather than promoting senseless coyote killing.
Dear New York State Department of Environmental Conservation,
In 1990, you conducted research into the impact of coyotes on New York wildlife, livestock, and people. Based on those findings, you worked to limit the coyote hunting season from October to March rather than have a year-round hunting season. As part of the investigation, you found that killing coyotes is not an effective method of protecting livestock against coyote predation. Rather, you cited six other, more effective methods of protecting livestock found as a result of research into coyote behavior and lifestyle.
In addition to finding more effective and humane solutions for dealing with coyote predation of livestock, your research found that killing coyotes during the hunting season is not an effective method of population control, going so far as to state that reproductive rates were even seen to increase when populations were heavily hunted. If not for population control, why is hunting coyotes legal at all?
Based on the success of your own research in finding more effective methods than killing coyotes of preventing unwanted coyote behavior, I urge you to promote educational and informational programs about coyote behavior and lifestyle, rather than encouraging killing coyotes during hunting season. I urge you to educate citizens on ways in which they can responsibly share the land with coyotes, rather than hunting them without just cause or reason.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Bill Weaver via Flickr