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Aizona's coyotes and enviro-whackos

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Liberty Belle

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The Dakota's aren't the only ones dealing with predator problems and problems with the kind of whacky folks hunting guru Tony Dean pals with.

Aerial gunners kill 200 coyotes
Federal action is meant to cut calf predation

By Tony Davis
ARIZONA DAILY STAR
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 01.29.2006

ELGIN — The federal government took to the air to kill 200 coyotes in Southeast Arizona over the past three weeks, in response to ranchers' concerns they were eating calves.

Wildlife Services, a federal program formerly known as Animal Damage Control, wrapped up aerial gunning Friday.

It hunted on private and public land, including national forest land, used by 10 to 15 ranchers in Cochise and Santa Cruz counties, said a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which runs the program.

A rancher from the Elgin area said every calf lost to a coyote ultimately costs him $500 to $650 that the calf could have fetched at market if it lived to maturity.

"I have seen coyotes attack my calves three times," said Rex Dalton, who has ranched for two years near Elgin on 8,000 acres of private, state and U.S. Bureau of Land Management land. "I've also seen others with their tails or noses chewed off."

But environmentalists were upset that the government gave no advance public notice of the latest shootings, which they call inhumane and ineffective.

"There was no public awareness and no public alert, even though the Coronado National Forest is known as a recreational use area," said environmental activist Matt Skroch, executive director of the Sky Island Alliance.

"Who do these people work for — the federal government or ranchers?" he asked.

On Friday, a small plane that appeared to be working for the program flew around and swooped close to the ground on private and federal land across the eastern edge of the San Rafael Valley in Santa Cruz County.
The sound of gunshots came twice from the plane's general area, both times after the plane was heard throttling back its engine. Wildlife Services spokeswoman Teresa Howes said she doesn't know if that plane was one of theirs.

Howes said the agency does not issue press releases on this activity "because we do work for private owners."
Ranchers pay the aerial program's entire $200-an-hour cost, for renting aircraft and for staff time, she said.

The general public should have a say, countered an ecologist for the Tucson-based environmental advocacy group Center for Biological Diversity.

"The burden to show that this is necessary falls on the government," said Daniel Patterson. "There was no transparency. This is disturbing."

The program has received little publicity in Southern Arizona in recent years, although it had been conducting aerial gunning in Cochise County regularly over that time, Howes said. It started aerial control in Santa Cruz County this year.

Aerial gunning is the least expensive and most efficient way to kill and remove coyotes, Howes said. It gives wildlife-control agents more precision in making sure they don't hit other wildlife, she said.

"When you see something from the air, you can directly remove it. It's the least invasive," Howes said. "You can see it better.

"It takes a lot of skill," she added. "There are a lot of guidelines and regulations that a pilot must adhere to."

The 200 coyotes represent 1 percent or less of the area's entire coyote population, and new ones will arrive in dead coyotes' territories within months, Arizona Game and Fish officials said.

Even within ranch country, the program is controversial.

Rancher Mac Donaldson, whose Empire Ranch near Sonoita lies north of where the predator-control activity was occurring, said he typically doesn't kill predators or have them killed because he doesn't think it's necessary.

Coyotes are a minor threat to calves, mostly taking weak or dying ones, he said.

San Rafael Valley rancher Ross Humphreys said he has avoided coyote attacks by arranging to do calving in the summer, when coyotes have more food choices. He can do that only because he operates on private land, he said. Federal-land ranchers must get their calves born early in the year because of how their grazing permits work, he said.

"We don't have a predator problem," Humphreys said.

Elgin-area ranchers Scott and Kathy Martin disagree.

The coyotes are "heavily concentrated everywhere — they are thick right now," Kathy Martin said Saturday. "I go on walks in the morning, I see them all the time. They like to hang out close to our houses … For the most part, they don't viciously attack unless they are rabid, but we'd kind of like to reduce the concentrations."

Dalton said coyotes have eaten about 10 of his calves per year, out of a total herd of 200.

"Calf losses are only part of the problem," he said. Coyotes can keep calves from going to water or spots where food supplements are kept, he said. The coyotes can also affect cattle breeding and where ranchers move them.

"There are some beneficial uses of coyotes," said Dr. Gary Thrasher, a veterinarian who was at Dalton's Rose Tree Ranch Friday. "They keep rodents down and rabbits down. It's a matter of keeping them in balance."

No documentation was available Friday of how many calves coyotes had killed, but Howes said the federal program has confirmed calf losses due to coyotes in Southeast Arizona.

The coyote-killing is supported by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, which says it helps shield pronghorn antelope fawns from predators.

Officials said coyote killings at a crucial time for young antelope give fawns a better chance of survival.

When adult coyotes are removed, it temporarily thins out the population. Coyotes that move in as replacements are younger and less strong at first, said John Millican, a wildlife manager for Game and Fish's Sierra Vista office.

In such cases, antelope fawn survival, normally less than 20 percent, can jump to as high as 80 percent and last year reached 46 percent in the area near Elgin south of Arizona 82, he said.

Nonetheless, the Sky Island Alliance will push for a new environmental analysis of the effects of the hunts, including the potential impact on jaguars that could live in the region, said its director, Skroch.

● Contact reporter Tony Davis at 806-7746 or [email protected]
http://www.azstarnet.com/dailystar/news/113500
 

Liberty Belle

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Another newspaper - same hunt.

Authorities kill 200 coyotes after complaints from ranchers
Sunday, January 29, 2006 7:03 PM PST

ELGIN, Ariz. (AP) - Over the last three weeks, federal authorities have killed 200 coyotes in southeast Arizona after ranchers complained that the predators were eating calves.

The hunting, which wrapped up Friday, was conducted from aircraft as part of a program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It took place on private and public land used by 10 to 15 ranchers in Cochise and Santa Cruz counties, the Arizona Daily Star reported Sunday.
Rex Dalton, who has ranched for two years near Elgin, said every calf lost to a coyote ultimately costs him $500 to $650 that the calf could have fetched at market if it lived to maturity.

‘‘I have seen coyotes attack my calves three times,'' Dalton said. ‘‘I've also seen others with their tails or noses chewed off.''

Environmentalists were upset that the government gave no advance public notice of the latest shootings, which they call inhumane and ineffective.

Teresa Howes, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said the agency doesn't issue news releases on this activity ‘‘because we do work for private owners.''

Ranchers pay the aerial program's entire $200-an-hour cost, for renting aircraft and for staff time, she said.

The general public should have a say, said Daniel Patterson, an ecologist for the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental advocacy group.

‘‘The burden to show that this is necessary falls on the government,'' Patterson said. ‘‘There was no transparency. This is disturbing.''

The federal Wildlife Services program has received little publicity in southern Arizona in recent years, although it had been conducting aerial gunning in Cochise County regularly over that time, Howes said.

It started aerial control in Santa Cruz County this year.

Aerial gunning is the least expensive and most efficient way to kill and remove coyotes, giving wildlife agents more precision in making sure they don't hit other wildlife, Howes said.

The 200 coyotes represent 1 percent or less of the area's entire coyote population, and new ones will arrive in dead coyotes' territories within months, Arizona Game and Fish officials said.

No documentation was available Friday of how many calves coyotes had killed, but Howes said the federal program has confirmed calf losses due to coyotes in southeast Arizona.

The hunting is supported by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, which says it helps shield pronghorn antelope fawns from predators. Officials said coyote killings at a crucial time for young antelope give fawns a better chance of survival.

When adult coyotes are removed, it temporarily thins out the population.

Coyotes that move in as replacements are younger and less strong at first, said John Millican, a wildlife manager for Game and Fish's office in Sierra Vista.

In such cases, antelope fawn survival, normally less than 20 percent, can jump to as high as 80 percent and last year reached 46 percent in the area near Elgin south of Arizona 82, he said.

http://www.mohavedailynews.com/articles/2006/01/30/news/state/state1.txt
 

Ranchero

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Many people say they have a lot of coyotes, but they are not a problem. Well that's not the case here, we have coyotes that have evolved into some very adept killing machines. These coyotes are behaving like the wolves of Yellowstone. Good news for the Arizona ranchers I'm sure their calf crop will be much better this coming year.
 

Mrs.Greg

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We have alot of coyotes in our area,the only time we've had problams with them is if they cross with dogs and start running in packs but even then that hasn't happened for a few years! Our coyotes couldn't defend themselves against a mama cow!
 

Aztumbleweed

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we haven't lost any calves to coyotes yet this year we had a good wet winter last year so an abundance of other stuff for them to eat. We had lost a couple to a lion (he won't take any more) When the rabbits get thinned some more then I expect to have a few problems.
 

Liberty Belle

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This is from a news story out of Ithaca, New York. Funny the Humane Society and all the whackos weren't out in force against these guys.

Ranchero - I've spent some time in your area and can relate to the problem you have with coyotes. Maybe you should invite some of these guys to bring their guns, their coyote calls and their money to help with your predator problem?

How far are you from either Guaymas or Obregon? We have friends in a little village called Agarista (not sure of the spelling?) and we just love both the area and the people who live there.

Varmint hunt raises $2,100

Even though the first Gator's Pub Coyote and Fox Hunt drew an impressive entry of hunters over the weekend, the targeted varmints were relatively safe.

A total of 196 hunters paid the $20 entry fee for the event, headquartered at the pub on Route 96 in Candor, but only killed four coyotes and 19 foxes. The entry fee was divided equally between the prize list and two conservation organizations — the Southern Tier Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, gleaning $1,050, and the Ruffed Grouse Society, getting an identical check to be divided between two area chapters.

“No problems at all in town (weigh-in station was at the Pub in downtown Candor) or in the field,” noted Tioga County Environmental Conservation officer Mike Wheeler, who was rightly concerned due to the night hunting and controversial nature of the hunt. “And nobody from Ithaca (protesters) carrying signs.”

Cousins Jason and Lynn Baciuska of Afton won $950 and a Howa bull-barreled .243 rifle with a Leupold scope for turning in two coyotes and six gray foxes. Second place, which paid $620, went to Keith Andreasen of Apalachin while Jason Nash of Dryden was third and earned $300. Both entered three gray foxes. The biggest coyote each day also won cash, with a 34-pounder taken by Fred Maki II of Van Etten winning Sunday and a 33.5-pounder entered by Van Etten's Cory Savino won Saturday. Gator Pub proprietor Henry Krauss confirmed that the event will return next year, although the date may change to provide hunting closer to the full moon.
January 31, 2006

http://www.theithacajournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060131/SPORTS/601310318/1006
 

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