Battle rages over predator control

Dead Coyote

Conservation groups want ban on toxic weapons

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services uses various traps and poisons to keep predators like this coyote away from livestock. But advocacy groups want two of the devices that rely on toxic agents banned from the landscape.

MONTROSE – Come springtime, the coyotes lurking on Ernie Etchart’s sheep ranch, their minds fixed on a fresh meal of newborn lamb, face a deadly distraction.It’s the alluring stink of rotten meat, smothered on the end of a spring-loaded device staked into the soil near Etchart’s fence line. Any coyote that sniffs it out and takes a bite gets an unwelcome surprise: a burst of sodium cyanide powder.

The toxin mixes fast with saliva, forms a gas and penetrates the lungs. Breathing quickens, the animal convulses, collapses and dies, often within just a couple of minutes.

Click here to read the full story by Todd Hartman, in the Rocky Mountain News.

PHOTO: Darin McGregor, Rocky Mountian News

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2 responses to “Battle rages over predator control

  1. I’m coming over from the other discussion … The rancher interviewed in this article believes that the predators are putting family businesses out of business. Etchart has 3,000 sheep, and that’s he seems to be saying some ranchers are unable to sustain predation hits:

    “Gosh, if you’ve got a coyote that keeps coming and coming, and everything they do is at night, it’s difficult to pick them up,” Etchart said. “The more we get restricted, the harder it is to make a living. That’s why you see children in family farms and ranches” leaving the business behind.

    And a bit later:

    “Environmental groups such as Sinapu and others that scrutinize grazing leases and protect wildlife “are going to use any tactic, any ploy they can to get what they want,” Etchart said. “They want to create a hardship so we’re forced out of business.”

    Also, from the other discussion, Ralph said people need to recognize that wolves outside of Yellowstone have an easier life than wolves in. I understand the reasons, but what is the implication we need to recognize? Is it that the wolves will now start to correct for our inadvertent 100 years of selection for the more harming coyotes?

  2. These chemicals are stored in Pocatello just a mile from my house in a rickety old building next the the railroad tracks.

    This obscure building seems like a real danger to the community as well as the use of the poisons for wildlife.