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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Up to $500,000 wasted Utah taxpayer $$ doled out annually as a bounty for coyotes killed or trapped in the state.............Archaic and a no win paradigm in place in a misguided effort to "blow away" what Utah deems "varmints"..............Since September 2012, 7000 coyotes have been killed and Mule Deer populations have not increased(the stated goal of the bounty program)........Utah biologist John Shivik saids that at least three years of this type "coyote persecution" is needed to determine the impact on the deer herd population.............Mr. Shivik, I have to call you out here sir,,,,,,,,,,,,,You full well know that coyote bounties have never worked anywhere in North America as a tool to dent coyote numbers...............For the best deer footprint on your landscape,put your efforts into optimizing your rangeland, limiting development and lobbying for reductions in fossil fuel burning so that drought conditions ease back in the West(hopefully).............Dr. Robert Crabtree, founder of the Yellowstone Ecological Research Center has done the coyote bounty "homework in the Greater Yellowstone region...He states: “It cannot be over-emphasized how powerfully coyote populations compensate for population reductions"........And our friend Camilla Fox at PROJECT COYOTE emphatically states: "there is no science that demonstrates that bounty programs are effective at reducing coyote populations over the long-term"..........Time for Utah to become both economically and scientifically pragmatic and prudent--STOP THE KILLING,,,,,,,,,IT IS WASTEFUL AND JUST DEAD WRONG!

6,000 coyotes killed in
 Utah’s bounty program
By Grant Olsen, Contributor
May 6th, 2013 @ 11:14am

SALT LAKE CITY — More than 6,000 dead coyotes have been redeemed by hunters since Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources launched its coyote bounty program last September.
The DWR hopes its ambitious plan will eliminate a significant portion of the state’s coyote population, which in turn will benefit the deer herds on which they prey. Officially known as the Predator Control Program, the incentive-based program pays hunters $50 for every coyote they kill.
Other states have implemented bounty programs over the years, but rarely on this scale. Even the New York Times has taken note of Utah’s Predator Control Program, calling it “one of the nation’s largest hunter-based efforts to manage predatory wildlife.”

Can they demonstrate that the bounty hunt actually helped boost mule deer populations? I think they'd be hard pressed to show this.
–- Camilla Fox, executive director, Project Coyote

John Shivik, mammals coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, is proud of how his team worked together to start the Predator Control Program from scratch and get it “up and running so quickly.”
While few can argue that the Predator Control Program enjoyed a smooth launch, the effect it has had on wildlife is debatable. Camilla Fox, executive director of Project Coyote, says that the Predator Control Program is “ecologically reckless, economically unjustifiable and ethically reprehensible.”
According to Fox, most government agencies acknowledge that coyote bounties are not only ineffective at reducing coyote populations, but are often counterproductive. She asserts that decades of research suggests that the systematic killing of coyotes increases reproduction, immigration and survival.

Are coyote bounties a good thing for Utah?
1.  Yes
2.  No

Dr. Robert Crabtree, founder of the Yellowstone Ecological Research Center, agrees with this perspective. “It cannot be over-emphasized how powerfully coyote populations compensate for population reductions,” he says.
Fox maintains that there is “no science that demonstrates that bounty programs are effective at reducing coyote populations over the long-term.” She questions the DWR’s methods and how it will measure the program’s success. “Can they demonstrate that the bounty hunt actually helped boost mule deer populations? I think they'd be hard pressed to show this.”
According to Shivik, the DWR has been “collecting what looks like it will be excellent data to help us evaluate how effective our efforts are.” He says it’s too early to assess the program’s impact and that the biggest challenge his team faces is identifying the deer populations that are most affected by coyotes, because the DWR is “trying to be as efficient and effective as possible with our resources.”
The topic of resources brings up another criticism that bounty programs often face — that they are susceptible to fraud. When all that is required for a payout is portions of a carcass (such as paws, jaws or ears), it’s difficult for authorities to be sure the coyotes weren’t killed in other parts of the country. The DWR attempts to address this by requiring hunters to document the date and location of each kill before paying a bounty, but critics point out that the information could easily be fabricated.

An example of this kind of fraud reportedly occurred in Canada when Saskatchewan offered a coyote bounty. To collect the $20 bounty, hunters were required to remove the paws from every coyote killed and give them to authorities. As a result, piles of dead coyotes were found in other parts of the country with their paws cut off. More than 70,000 coyotes were killed as part of Saskatchewan’s bounty program and it’s impossible to know how many were killed elsewhere and then illegally redeemed in the province.
Fox points to these past problems as proof that bounty programs are a waste of money. “These programs are very often fraught with illicit activity,” she says. “I would ask: How many of the coyote body parts turned in for the $50 bounty were actually killed in other states?”
Despite these lingering questions, Utah’s Predator Control Program has received enthusiastic support from many local hunters. You can learn more about the program and register for the bounty by visiting the official website at

Some question effectiveness
 of Utah's coyote bounty
By Miranda Collette
May 10th, 2014 @ 9:52pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Mark Worden, the owner of Utah Predator Callers, has been hunting since the age of 10. While in Box Elder County last October, he killed two coyotes in just 14 minutes.
It could have been a $100 experience if he had chosen to cash in with Utah's coyote bounty program.
Under the 2012 Mule Deer Protection Act, Utah taxpayers provide the program with a $500,000 annual budget, offering hunters a $50 bounty to kill coyotes. However, two years later, mule deer populations have not increased. State wildlife officials say the program will work, but opponents of the program question its legitimacy.
Humane Society of Utah spokesman Carl Arky said it is impossible to blame low deer populations on coyotes alone. He believes coyotes are just a convenient target.
"I don’t see where this is going to work. It doesn’t make sense. It didn’t make sense two years ago and it still doesn’t make sense. They’ve killed 7,000 coyotes, and the deer population hasn’t gone up," Arky said.
Worden echoed the viewpoint of the Humane Society and questions the effectiveness of the bounty.

It is a waste of time and money for the purpose it is being done. ... Coyotes do account for some (fawns) that have died, but I don't think that's the main issue for the deer herds.
–Mark Worden, Utah Predator Callers

“It is a waste of time and money for the purpose it is being done. A coyote is an animal of opportunity that is going to take an easy meal," Worden said. "Coyotes do account for some (fawns) that have died, but I don’t think that’s the main issue for the deer herds.”
Experts from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources disagree and say the program will work if given more time.
John Shivik, the division's mammal program coordinator, said the program should be in place at least three years before any conclusions can be made.
“The more years the better,” Shivik said. “There’s so much variability in nature. I wouldn’t look at it too seriously until the end of the third year.”
Troy Davis, a wildlife technician for the Division of Natural Resources, said scientists are not afraid to say, “I don’t know.” When it comes to science, trying to pinpoint why a species is declining is not suitable for short-term guesswork.
“It’s complex,” Davis said. “People want quick answers, but those aren’t necessarily the best answers.”
The controversy over the program is also centered on its half-million-dollar budget. According to data provided by the DWR, since July 2013, the program has put $355,950 into hunters' pockets and sent 7,119 coyotes to their graves.

The bounty, which enticed more than 600 new hunters to register for the program, could be just enough to tip trappers' moral compasses, said Arky, who wonders if hunters are killing coyotes outside of Utah but collecting money from the state.
"We’re spending taxpayer money, and how do I know that it wasn’t easier for (hunters) to go somewhere in Nevada or Idaho? There’s no way to know," Arky said. "There are probably more cost-effective ways of doing this."
The DWR has one record of fraud on file. On Jan. 28, 2013, three adolescents attempted to turn in 11 coyotes for $550. However, the volunteer biologist who processed the scalps noticed that some of the ears had been notched and teeth had been taken from the lower jaw.
According to the report, scissors had made the cuts and the coyotes had already been turned in for a profit. No charges were filed against the youths, even though they tried to double dip into the state's pocket.
Davis said the DWR has taken some steps to minimize fraud by requiring registration and location information at check-in.
“Honestly, the guys that do the data collection in the region know many of these hunters personally," he said. "A lot of these interactions are governed in that way. Now that doesn’t cover the entire spectrum, but that’s one of the things that’s beneficial in the system.”
The DWR provides a chart on its website showing that a majority of hunters turn in one or two coyotes at a time. However, records also show that on several occasions hunters have walked away with more than $1,000 after turning in coyotes.

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