This morning I braved going out to Antelope Island State Park knowing full well that this weekend is the “Antelope Island Stampede Festival”. Traffic is up during events like this but because it was the first day of the festival I thought I could get some photography in early in the morning before the masses started arriving. Except for the causeway to the island bird photography has been a bit slow, but the causeway is full of gulls, shorebirds and long distance views of a Peregrine Falcon.
As much as I love and am addicted to bird photography I also enjoy taking photos of other wildlife, scenery and the flora of the places I visit, so when a coyote steps into view I’m always happy to photograph them.
It is my opinion that Coyotes; like Wolves, have an undeserved “bad” reputation. In some places they are shot on sight or caught in metal traps to suffer a slow, agonizing death. I honestly don’t get it. I know they can attack pets and livestock and I feel for the owners of the pets and the for the ranchers the financial loss of the live stock.
Pets often kill the native birds and other wildlife and I believe that the estimates of bird deaths caused by domesticated pets is grossly under estimated. And it isn’t shouted from the roof tops either.
But coyotes and wolves are predators and without those predators nature is pushed out of balance. Coyotes kill rodents which include mice, voles and rats, etc., and by doing so they keep nature in balance. Earlier this year I saw a coyote hunting; and possibly eating, the chicks or eggs of a pair of Short-eared Owls. I adore Short-eared Owls and it caused me distress to watch the event but I did nothing to interfere with what the coyote was doing, it was only doing what comes natural. I had no right or business to intrude.
Coyotes and wolves help to cull out the sick and weak animals in herds of deer, antelope and elk which in turn can help to keep those herds in better health and the populations in fewer numbers thus increasing the likelihood that those healthy animals survive and thrive.
What isn’t natural are all the chemicals that are used to kill those same mice, voles and rats when they bother human beings with their presence, droppings and the diseases rodents can spread. Those chemicals can sicken the workers at the production plants and the other pets and humans who come into contact with them.
These are just my opinions about coyotes and wolves and how they are needed to keep a healthy balance in nature, I know other people feel differently.
I know that I could never shoot them with anything other than my camera. Just saying.