The state of Utah appears to have declared war on their coyote population.
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Their motive is to help reduce livestock losses and bolster a dwindling mule deer population.
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There’s no doubt mule deer populations are on the downhill slide, even in some parts of Kansas. Here, it’s said they’re being forced out by more aggressive whitetails. In other states things, like major loss of habitat and competition with livestock and elk are being blamed.
There’s no doubt that coyotes kill fawns, and sometimes adult deer. Back when I first began deer hunting few considered coyotes a threat to Kansas deer. But with time ‘yotes have evolved into effective predators of whitetail and mulies. Some friends have video of two coyotes taking down a full-grown doe, with one holding the animal’s throat while the other frankly started eating the deer alive. That’s just nature, though. Animals eat other animals.
And people have a right to protect their livestock. A good friend in Elk County lost calves last year to coyotes. He saw them working cows with newborn calves and happened upon coyotes feeding on very fresh kills. In days of good beef prices every dead calf is like a loss of $500 or more for the rancher. Friends in Oklahoma lost more than a dozen young goats to coyotes within the past 12 months, too.
Can’t really blame the coyotes, though, meat is meat.
Still, in these days of politically-correct politicians, and so many people living in a Disney-fied world, seemingly favoring animals over humans, it’s surprising to see a state government take such action as upping the bounty paid for coyote ears. (Wow, $50! I can remember when Leavenworth County paid $2 for a set of coyote ears.) You have to wonder if that will lead to some sort of black market for coyote ears taken in other states. You have to wonder if money paid for dead coyotes will put much of a dent in the population.
I do know that high fur prices lead to lower populations of things like raccoons, beavers and bobcats.
It will be interesting to see if the new laws do lead to more mule deer in Utah.