Vote bill down, and learn to live with coyotes

I strongly urge Pennsylvania’s sportsmen to withhold their support of HB1534.

This is an act of legislature which, if passed, will place a bounty on coyotes. This is a feel-good bill that will achieve the exact opposite effect of its intentions.

In the past, bounties paid on predators have proven ineffective in reducing populations. Hunters and trappers usually only removed enough animals to stabilize population numbers, keeping the species healthy.

When we allow predator populations to increase, competition for food becomes intense, and the health of the animal rapidly declines, making it highly susceptible to diseases and viruses.

A scrawny, hungry coyote will probably produce only four or five pups, many of which will unlikely reach maturity.

In contrast, a fat, well-fed coyote, of which Pennsylvania will have an ample supply if HB1534 is passed, is probably going to produce 12 or 14 pups, the majority of which will reach adulthood.

The bounty also does nothing to spurn coyote migration from bordering states. A coyote is capable of traveling 200 miles or more a year, and many would surely be drawn to the greater food supplies and lesser competition that Pennsylvania would afford.

If we are serious about reducing coyote populations, the proper course of action is to quit harvesting them completely. Their population would rise, and the health of the animals would decline, making them more vulnerable to diseases and viruses which are certain to decimate their numbers. Rabies, distemper, parvo and mange are ruthlessly effective at reducing predator populations.

Funds targeted for bounty payments would be much more wisely utilized for gameland acquisitions, or wildlife enhancement efforts.

Good wildlife habitat will support robust populations of both prey and predators, a win-win for everybody.

Indian legend tells that the coyote will be the last living animal on the earth. They obviously respected the animal’s ability to survive.

Like him or hate him, the coyote is here to stay. If we are wise, we will learn to live with him.

Any attempt to eradicate it will prove to be a harsh lesson in futility.

Joe Krug