Editor: Don Martin’s choice of words “creeping incrementalism” by the anti-hunting community is just a bit cynical. What Arizona Game and Fish Department is being asked to consider is a ban on wildlife killing contests throughout our state.
As an Arizona resident and gun owner, I have no problem with hunting or hunters who follow the Hunter’s Code of Ethics. I have a huge problem with unprincipled and bored hunters who organize killing contests so they have something to do with their buddies during the off-season.
Contest organizers and participants consistently claim they are curtailing the killing of fawns by coyotes. Killing of fawns is part of nature for coyotes and most predators. Unlike contest hunters, coyotes are not “thrill killers.” Coyotes kill to eat and fawns are easier to take down, as coyotes are typically solitary hunters.
The real reason these “hunters” object to coyotes killing fawns is the fawn will not be available to hunt and shoot as an adult. Killing contests also increase rather than reduce coyote litter size because there is more available food. This also provides more “kills” during contests.
There are numerous ways to protect against livestock predation even on large ranches. All one has to do is Google non-lethal predation ranch management or contact organizations that promote the same.
No one is saying ranchers and the public cannot protect against coyote predation. At the same time, pet owners need to be responsible pet owners, especially when coyotes have been reported in their area.
No one is saying “ban all hunting.” Banning hunting is certainly a headline grabber but is far from the truth of banning wildlife killing contests.
Coyotes play an incredibly important role in the balance of our ecosystem. They help ranchers, farmers, country- and city-dwellers by controlling rodent populations.
Our Arizona wildlife is not here for their contests, amusement, prizes and killing. Arizona wildlife is here for all to enjoy.
Linda Bolon, Project Coyote