NPR: Coyote Advocates Demand End to Aerial Gunning

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All Things Considered, July 6, 2007 · Environmental groups want the government to stop shooting coyotes from airplanes and have filed a petition with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program demanding an end to the practice.

A Deadly Plane Crash

The petition comes on the heels of a fatal plane crash involving two agency employees who were pursuing coyotes on June 1 in South Central Utah. The coyotes had been preying on a rancher’s sheep.

The deaths of pilot Joseph Harris and gunner Glen Stevenson have drawn attention to the government’s practice and prompted animal protection and environmental groups to question the merit of the government’s aerial gunning program.

“Predator control is out of control when people are dying,” says Wendy Keefover-Ring of Sinapu, a group dedicated to protecting carnivorous animals and their habitats. Sinapu is the Ute Indian word for wolves.

A Cruel Practice?

Keefover-Ring is also concerned about the targets of the government’s aerial gunning program, which she calls cruel and, worse yet, ineffective.

“The federal government has been working to kill coyotes for the last 100 years using traps, poisons and guns, and the result has been they’ve actually expanded their range threefold,” Keefover-Ring says.

But the government insists that the aim of its aerial gunning program is not to kill all coyotes.

“We’re trying to resolve localized problems of wildlife predation or wildlife conflicts,” Bill Clay, USDA deputy administrator for Wildlife Services, says.

In rural areas, most of those conflicts are between coyotes and sheep. The USDA says ranchers lost about $11 million worth of lambs and sheep to coyotes in 2005.

So after a brief pause to review safety procedures and inspect the agency’s airplane fleet, pilots and gunners are back to hunting coyotes from the air.

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8 responses to “NPR: Coyote Advocates Demand End to Aerial Gunning

  1. Thats so sick that people are putting the balence of earth at risk by killing animals…..

  2. I´m sure Marion only the creatures, namely WOLF, again WOLF, once more WOLF, bear, coyote (in the order of your atipathy – did I forget any? Maybe WOLF) that are are problem for YOU and similar short sighted people.

  3. All living creatures or just those that are a problem for other people and not you?

  4. Brenda Hodges

    GOD PUT THESE ANIMAL’S HERE FOR A REASON! LEAVE THEM ALONE!

  5. So if they get rid of the coyotes they might not feel the need to put species like sage grouse on the endangered species list!

  6. Mary M. Ross

    In rural areas, most of those conflicts are between coyotes and sheep. The USDA says ranchers lost about $11 million worth of lambs and sheep to coyotes in 2005.

    So after a brief pause to review safety procedures and inspect the agency’s airplane fleet, pilots and gunners are back to hunting coyotes from the air.

  7. It is amazing that the livestock industry is willing to kill thousands of animals, spend tens of millions of dollars, and put human lives at risk just to increase the bottom line a little bit… I think if someone died needlessly like this for something as meaningless as me earning a little extra money I would never be able to live with myself.

  8. Way to go! Stop this non-sense, especially the use of our tax $.