Stand Up for Coyotes, New Hampshire’s Most Persecuted Animal
Did you know that in New Hampshire coyotes can be legally hunted 365 days a year, including the months when they are raising their young?
In addition to being hunted without respite, coyotes are also trapped and night hunted for three months of the year and are the victims of “killing contests.”
There is no limit to how many coyotes a hunter can kill, and no requirement to report these kills, unlike there is for almost every other hunted animal. New Hampshire Fish and Game may call themselves “Guardian of the state’s fish, wildlife, and marine resources,” but apparently coyotes are considered unworthy of any protection at all.
There is something perverse in the government, and society, marking a species for death, setting it outside the bounds of even our wildlife protection laws.— Dan Flores, Project Coyote
This utter disregard for coyotes is not unique to New Hampshire. Throughout the country, coyotes and other apex predators, including wolves and mountain lions, are vilified. Hatred for these animals runs deep. Farmers view them as a threat to “livestock,” and hunters see them as competition for “game” (deer, elk, and so on).
Members of the general public may be no more sympathetic toward coyotes. Media hype has many convinced that coyotes are lying in wait to snatch their pet, or even their child.
In truth, coyotes prefer to steer clear of humans. These highly intelligent animals are social creatures, as well as devoted parents. When they are not hunted, coyotes form stable packs in which only alpha males and females breed. Killing coyotes allows subordinates and outsiders to breed, leading to more coyotes, not fewer.
In fact, scientists have found that coyotes can withstand as much as a 70% annual kill rate without undergoing a decline in total population.
Although their numbers may remain stable, great harm is done when packs lose members prematurely. When senior pack members are killed, juveniles deprived of role models behave recklessly, perhaps venturing into back yards and pastures in search of food. Likewise, when mothers are killed, their orphaned pups may starve.
More About Coyotes
- Read about what effect the reduction of coyotes has on the remaining population in this classic scientific opinion written by Dr. Robert L. Crabtree, Yellowstone Ecological Research Center
- The Effects of Control on Coyote Populations: Another Look by Guy E. Connolly
- Stop Killing Coyotes by Dan Flores (New York Times, )
- Better off alive (Humane Society of the United States)
Voices of Wildlife has worked steadfastly against the persecution of coyotes.
2018 — In January 2018, VOW petitioned NH Fish and Game Department to close the year-round coyote season for the months in which they are raising their pups. Staff biologists for the Department agreed that coyotes deserved the same reprieve from hunting pressure to raise their young as is afforded to all other hunted animals. Nonetheless, the NH Fish and Game Commission voted to keep the season open, disregarding all arguments.
Voices of Wildlife subsequently took the matter to the State House, in the form of House Bill 442, a bill to prevent the hunting of coyotes from April 1 through August 31.