Regulating the Coyote Hunting/Trapping Season Would Actually Be Progress
This individual posted his photo on the Coyote Coexistence Coalition"s Face Book page on 2/26/17, one day before the Fish & Wildlife Committee was to vote on H.60. Presumably, he is demonstrating his opposition to H.60 by suggesting that he clubbed this coyote cub to death. In fact, he is offering compelling proof that we absolutely need Bill H.60. and a regulated coyote season.
2017 NEWS FLASH -- Coyotes don't get a break. They can be killed day and night, 365 days a year (even during breeding season) with no limit.
Representative David Deen introduced legislation (H. 60) in 2017 that would require the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife to prepare a report for the legislature on the scientific basis for the current open hunting season and to recommend whether a "closed season" should be implemented so that coyotes could only be hunted during part of the year.
On February 28, the Committee decided to send a letter to the Fish & Wildlife Dept. directly, rather than going through the legislature itself via a bill. The letter essentially asks for the same year long study and report, although the report will go to the Committee.
The good news is that the final letter included the recommendations made by various parties that will greatly improve the report.
To see the letter that the Committee finally sent to Fish & Wildlife Dept, go to Letter.
To see a copy of the original legislation, go to New Bill.
To see a list of members of the House Committee of Natural Resources, Fish & Wildlife who will vote on the bill, go to Committee.
For the reasons why we need a regulated season, keep reading this page.
Why We Need a Season to Limit Coyote Hunting
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department collects no data on the size of Vermont’s coyote population, nor the number killed each year. Yet the Department currently permits an open season on coyotes; they may be killed 365 days per year, night and day. There are no regulations against coyote killing contests/derbies where monetary awards are offered for the largest or smallest coyote killed. Coyotes are often call-baited by “field-agents” employed by ‘for-profit’ proprietary game-call businesses such as Foxpro (electronic calls). In turn, Foxpro profits when all too many hunters subscribe to this type of bait-hunting. Coyotes caught in painful steel leghold traps suffer for 24 hours or possibly longer, and resort to desperately chewing at the trap and their paw(s) to free themselves. They are also hunted with hounds and chased for miles until they are completely exhausted and cornered; left defenseless, only then, they are killed. Often their bodies are left to decompose as waste. Female coyotes are killed while pregnant, nursing or rearing young pups, leaving their young to starve to death.
Coyotes generally mate for life and breed in January to February. Pups are born in dens in April-Mid May. They are weaned at about 6-8 weeks, and learn to forage and hunt with both adult parents. Pups mature around nine months, but do not breed until they are two years old, unless pack leaders, the alpha pair, are killed. An open season on coyotes does not actually decrease the overall population. In fact, reckless killing induces earlier breeding and larger litters. It also disrupts the social hierarchy, which can lead to problematic behavior of younger, less experienced, pack members and more aggressive interactions with livestock and domestic pets.
Without natural predators, such as coyotes, populations of small rodents can quickly become overpopulated. "High levels of human-caused mortality of top predators can jeopardize ecosystem health in several ways as smaller predators can become over-abundant (e.g., raccoons), herbivores can become over-abundant (e.g., rabbits, ungulates), disease risks can increase, and non-native species may invade more easily (Science, 2014, 343:6167, 1241484)." Predators like coyote and fox also eat rodents. Rodents such as mice are host to deer ticks who transmit Lyme and other tick borne diseases, documented to be on the increase in Vermont.
“The coyote, our unique Song Dog who has existed in North America since the Pleistocene, is the most persecuted native carnivore in North America. The coyote is the flagship species for all misunderstood and exploited carnivores. Poisoned, trapped, hounded and killed for bounties and in contests, an estimated half a million coyotes are slaughtered every year in the U.S. — one per minute. (Project Coyote)”
Thanks to the Vermont Coyote Coexistence Coalition for generating a petition to show support for H. 60. The Coalition's aim is to educate, create awareness, and promote ethical and sustainable coexistence with coyotes/coywolves in our state.
Read Two Reports on Vermont's Coyotes
With the introduction of H.60 in 2017, the Fish and Wildlife Committee required the Department of Fish and Wildlife to produce a report on the state's coyotes. Read that report here.
Some Vermonters were not confident that the DFW report would be complete. They also feared it would just reaffirm the status quo. The Vermont Coyote Coexistence Coalition decided to produce an alternative report. There are three parts:
1. Main report here.
2. Summary of key points here.
3. Report sources here.