Letter to the Editor: Coyotes aren’t the problem

Sources: Pinedale Roundup, WY
Coyotes aren’t the problem
Posted: Thursday, Mar 10th, 2016

Last week, upon reading John Fandek’s letter, I was stunned. 
A while back, we saw a low-flying red and white plane repeatedly going up and down and circling over our willow pastures on Middle Piney Creek. At the time, we had a herd of horses in these willows.
I did some research and discovered that the plane belonged to the USDA Wildlife Services. They were either shooting coyotes or driving them out of our willows onto the BLM to shoot them. This Wildlife Services is out of control with their random aerial shooting of coyotes. No one had our permission and we would not have given it. Not only because of the horses but this ranch does not approve of coyote slaughtering. We also do not appreciate renegades in planes flying over our property at a close enough proximity to affect what is happening on the ground. Isn’t this serious trespassing or worse?
We do not have a coyote problem on our ranch. Never have we felt that we have lost our animals to coyotes. We hear all kind of stories but we have not experienced depredation from coyotes, and if we do, we will take care of it ourselves. So far, the cycles of nature take care of the coyote and its prey’s equilibrium. 
Aerial shooting is funded by taxpayers and it is very expensive and not well supervised. The Predator Control Board engaged these “professionals” through the USDA Wildlife Services. How professional are people that do not know or care if they are targeting private land. Where is the landowners’ or public’s say in this procedure? 
I agree with John about the coyote hunting contests – basically that they are appalling. I am under the understanding that the Predator Control Board does not put this yearly contest on but does help fund it (with tax money attained from the county commissioners). It is apparently a private deal known only by word of mouth and in the bars. It is not generated by ranchers, but by “sportsmen.” Killing as a contest is appalling, especially with no rules or regulations –participants have even been seen running down coyotes with snow machines.
Coyotes are only doing what God created them to do. How can it be sport to torment them? Coyotes do more good than harm to our ecosystem and we need to get along with them until one can honestly, in their hearts, feel something has to be done. At that point, it should be handled at a rational scale and not by contests, nor by hired “professionals” haphazardly flying around taking it upon themselves to think that everyone appreciates the mass killing of animals.

Tara Miller, rancher
Big Piney

Featured imaged by Ron Neibrugge Photgraphy

Demonstrators oppose Idaho wolf kills

By Steve Bertel

Feb 15, 2016

BOISE – Dozens gathered on the steps of the Idaho Statehouse Monday afternoon to show support for wolf recovery in Idaho and opposition to Idaho’s Wolf Depredation Control Board and the recent aerial gunning of wolves in the “Lolo Zone” by the USDA Wildlife Services and Idaho Fish and Game Department.  
Demonstrators – from the Defenders of Wildlife and Friends of the Clearwater groups — want an end to what they called Idaho’s “wasteful Wolf Control Board and the termination of the USDA Wildlife Services aerial gunning program in the Lolo Zone on the Clearwater National Forest.”
The Idaho Fish and Game Department recently announced the completion of an aerial gunning exercise by the USDA Wildlife Services that resulted in the killing of 20 wolves in that area, according to the groups.
The Wolf Control Board is now requesting an additional $400,000 for further wolf “control” actions in 2016.
Demonstrators said, last year, a total of 72 wolves were killed with money from the Wolf Control Board. The Board was awarded $400,000 in 2015. That equates to roughly $5,500 per wolf “control,” the groups said.
The Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board was created two years ago within the Office of the Governor. It is tasked with “directing and managing funds” for the purpose of wolf depredation control within Idaho The law enacted in 2014 is based on the recommendation from the Fish and Game Advisory Committee to Governor Otter addressing wolf depredation funding in Idaho.

Calls to the State Fish and Game Department were not immediately returned.