Drop the coyote bounty

The recent online ‚ÄĚpredator hunting seminar" offered by the Utah Department of Natural Resources in which you can learn to call, shoot and trap coyotes adds fuel to the fire of an already out-of-balance wildlife management system. Many people who live in Utah are unaware that our state is only one of two that offer a cash bounty to hunters using our tax money to kill coyotes.

Late last fall, I walked up a canyon outside of Salt Lake City, and I saw a coyote pair sitting in yellow, swaying grass on a hill glowing in the setting sun. They looked peaceful and curious, not threatening; it was a joy to see. It then occurred to me that any hunter could kill one of these coyotes on a whim, no permit necessary, and be rewarded with money by the state of Utah.

It is time to amend the Mule Deer Protection Act of 2012 and repeal the coyote bounty. Coyote hunts should be regulated like any other native predator in this state with a permit. Paying people to kill as many coyotes as you can does not improve deer numbers, reduce conflict or encourage ethical treatment of wildlife. Please pressure your legislators to repeal the coyote bounty.

Walking in the same area a month later, I noticed a shriveled shell of an animal. On closer inspection, it was one of the coyotes. It was missing its lower jaw and had its ears cut off for the bounty. It was then disrespectfully discarded by the roadside. Utah, we can do better for our native wildlife.

-- Erin Smeeding, Murray

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