Utah’s Bounty Program on Coyotes is just plain stupid

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There is an article about the coyote bounty program in the Salt Lake Tribune that has me ticked off, or should I call it the ignorant name the state gave it, “Mule Deer Preservation Act”.

This is the article: Utah bounty hunters kill 7,041 coyotes in a year

This is a quote from the article:

“When you are dealing with coyotes, it is hard to tell exactly what impact is happening because we do not know their population,” said Leslie McFarlane, mammals program coordinator for DWR.

We do not know their population?

Isn’t it just plain stupid to exterminate when you don’t have population numbers but instead go by the complaints, real or fictional, that come into the DWR without verifying that there actually IS a problem linked to those complaints?

The state spent $140,000 to fund 14 coyote-removal contracts in the recent budget year, resulting in a net cost of $593 per animal. The year before, three hired guns were paid $45,000.

Five hundred and ninety three dollars per coyote removal?  That $140,000 dollars would be better off spent on educating the children of Utah, especially in a state where many families have well over the national average of children per family. The $500,000 used for the bounty program could help a lot with the education of those kids too.

Governor Herbert announced this Bounty Program on coyotes, umm excuse me, “Mule Deer Preservation Act” during a time when the mule deer population was actually INCREASING not decreasing. Facts are facts Governor. This was just a BS program and you know it. I seem to recall that he announced it at a press conference held in a sports venue too. Pandering much are we Governor Herbert?

It is a well known fact, not superstition or hyperbole, that when apex predators are removed from the environment through extermination that the natural balance goes out of whack. Deer and elk populations exploded when wolves were removed which led to starvation, chronic wasting disease and more which caused the populations of deer and elk to plummet. In the case with coyotes rodent populations explode when coyotes are removed. Those rodents cause far more damage than the coyotes do but hey, DCon will make a killing. Literally. I guess then the state will hand out big bucks to contractors to get rid of the rodents.

And while the state is sanctioning and paying for coyotes to be removed they are also paying contracts out to have deer removed killed because they are a problem for some homeowners. Yep, kill the same creatures they think they are trying to protect with the “Mule Deer Preservation Act”

Plain stupid.

Scientific studies have proven that killing the coyotes just increases their population because the ones that are left have more young and with less competition they increase even more.

Oh but wait, I think I live in a state that ignores science. I live in a state that boasts about the natural wonders and wildlife in advertisement to draw tourists in.

Yeah, why not put the photos of those dead coyotes and crows in your commercials, billboards and the handouts located at the visitor’s centers located just inside the state line? Let the tourist see the blood and guts that are spilled in this state.

Why not be transparent about the real reason for this bounty?

Please don’t think I hate hunters, I don’t. I respect the ethical hunters.

But I do despise killing just for the sake of killing which is exactly what this coyote bounty and the crow hunt is about. Those folks aren’t hunters at all.

Ignore the science and we will ALL pay. Probably sooner than later.



  1. CJ Oakley October 23, 2014 at 1:01 am

    How appallingly short-sighted. Agree with everything you so eloquently said in this article Mia.

    What can be done to change this?

  2. Larry Jordan October 22, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    Thank you for posting this, yet another idiotic idea from a state “wildlife” department, Mia. You have precisely stated what most conservation biologists know, killing predators disrupts the balance. The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation needs to be re-thought. This is an interesting article from scientists from Michigan State University: http://www.newswise.com/articles/scientists-call-n-american-wildlife-conservation-flawed

  3. SkyHawker4 October 22, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Mia well said-totally agree. Human interaction has destroyed the whole balance of nature. Whenever we mess with the natural course of predator food sources natures balance is destroyed.

    • Utahbooklover October 22, 2014 at 12:34 pm

      So true. For those who haven’t seen it, I recommend Lords of Nature, a 2009 documentary narrated by Peter Coyote which explores the beneficial impact of top predators including how farmers and deer hunters in Minnesota have adapted to life with Wolves.

  4. Dennis October 22, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Agree completely…you should consider submitting this as an editorial to the SL Tribune.

  5. Lynn October 22, 2014 at 8:45 am

    It seems in Utah intelligent designs rules and Gov. Herbert and the other “intelligent” politicians will see personal benefits; the companies also will benefit monetarily. Coyotes and all apex predators are precious and more beneficial to the environment than these shortsighted politicians and greedy companies will ever be. This is more than just plain stupid; it is morally bankrupt and horrifying. This does go on throughout this country and needs to be halted somehow.

    Anyway, Mia, your photograph is beautiful and so are coyotes!

  6. Ron Dudley October 22, 2014 at 7:40 am

    I couldn’t agree more, Mia.

  7. John Randall October 22, 2014 at 7:31 am

    Well said Mia.

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