While in a conversation at the post office the other day, the lady behind the counter mentioned that she and her husband were going squirrel hunting the next day. I wished her luck and mentioned that my son and I were going to try to get out and do some coyote hunting as well during the weekend.
A scowl immediately took over her once half-smiling face, and her demeanor dramatically shifted from pleasant to disgruntled. She also verbally informed me that she did not appreciate that we hunted coyotes and would prefer it if I did not speak of it again, mentioning that she could prove why coyotes should not be hunted. She couldn’t prove it, and I knew it. Otherwise she would have done so.
Out of respect for her choice (regardless of how uninformed she was on the topic), I chose to drop the conversation. But really? I figured that since she said she was going hunting that the door was wide open on the topic, that we were on the same playing field. I guess not, and it placed me in a situation I had not been in before. You just do not run into many people who are angry about hunting coyotes.
She has her beliefs on why coyotes should not be hunted. I am not buying them, however, but she certainly is entitled to her opinion. What I got out of it was that she felt like coyotes are like dogs and therefore should not be hunted. True, the two may be related, but there is a difference, a big one. There are not tons of wild dogs roaming around. If there were, believe me, they would be hunted too.
So, why do we need to hunt coyotes? The reasons are varied. I mean, I do not eat coyote meat, so I cannot sit here and say that I always eat what I kill, nor can I tell you that it is for the pelts. Yes, I do sell or donate the pelts of the coyotes that I get; however that is not my reason for hunting them. And I do not really want to say it is for sport because the term sport hunting can conjure up negative images and fuel the fire for anti-hunters, even though I do enjoy the challenge that hunting a coyote represents. Regardless of why we choose to hunt coyotes, the real reason behind the need to do so is for management of the species.
In his article, “Sooo, Why Hunt Coyotes?” author Duane Fronek wrote, “I believe animals are on this earth for man to manage and consume whether that consumption is eating or putting a fur on your back.”
I agree with Mr. Froneck. The bottom-line here is that the species needs managed. Just as deer, rabbits, and other wild game populations are managed through regulated hunting seasons and natural predation, so must coyote numbers be managed. Key in on the part of natural predation. Game animals such as deer and rabbits are preyed upon by coyotes, yet coyotes have no real predators within the animal kingdom, which is exactly why man must step in and prey upon the coyotes. We hunt the animals that coyotes prey upon, don’t we? Then what makes coyotes so special that they shouldn’t be hunted?
In addition to managing coyote populations, by hunting them, we are also helping out other game animal populations at the same time. If you enjoy rabbit, deer, and bird hunting, then you should fully support hunting coyotes, whether you personally hunt them yourself or not.
Now I know that nearly all of you reading this agree with hunting coyotes and that it really need not be defended. But for the few of those who may feel as the young lady at the post office did, we will probably never convince them or change their minds on the subject, but being able to understand why we hunt them may help us to better explain it when faced with a similar situation.