ODNR proposes permit to shoot coyotes
[Reprinted from original]
In perhaps their most brazen move to date the Ohio Division of Wildlife now wants to charge you $15 to shoot a coyote. What some have claimed as a blatant grab for your wallet, ODNR now wants to establish the coyote as a game animal and fur bearer and require hunters to purchase a fur taker permit before you can legally take a pot shot at a passing coyote, even if it is chasing a deer or the neighbor’s cat.
From a press release dated Jan. 16 the proposed hunting regulation submitted to the Ohio Wildlife Council for approval reads, “Requiring a fur taker permit for coyote hunting and trapping and adding to the furbearer season”. In doing so Wildlife is unwittingly adding an unwanted layer of protection to the coyote.
The coyote is not native to Ohio and made its way into the Buckeye State in the late 1970’s. It was during the mid-80’s near Peebles that the first reported losses to livestock due to coyote predation were reported in Adams County. At the time the only response the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture could muster was organizing hunts in Adams County to eliminate the predators.
You would think this proposal would fall flat on its face before the Wildlife Council, but strong forces are at play here particularly by the Ohio State Trappers Association (OSTA). Although trapping has fallen on hard times in Ohio, losing over 50 percent of its trappers from 2009 through 2019, it is the OSTA who is behind ODNR’s push to get this into law.
The coyote, long regarded as a varmint, has taken root in rural countrysides, alongside suburban dwellings and dark urban alleys. Reports of coyotes attacking dogs and pet cats are commonplace. More recently the brazen pack animal has taken to attacking humans and several stories of fending off the varmint with bare hands have made headlines more than once. By some estimates 60 percent of fawns born during spring become prey to coyotes. Some studies have shown that come winter over 50 percent of a coyote’s diet is deer.
Reports of coyotes coming into turkey calls during spring turkey season are common and more than one turkey hunter has busted a sneaky coyote looking for a turkey dinner. Deer hunters regularly take pot shots at coyotes while in a stand or blind. Those same turkey and deer hunters will now be required to purchase an additional $15 permit to legally take a passing shot at the wily critter. I suspect if this becomes law a lot of otherwise legal hunters are going to “leave ‘em lay” and thus turn normally law-abiding sportsmen and women into law breakers.
The one justification ODNR uses is a fact sheet that indicates coyote populations have leveled off during the past 10 years and remain stable. That information is generated from a survey ODNR conducts annually called the “Bowhunter Observation Record” in which randomly selected bowhunters record how many deer seen and how many fur bearers were observed. While that study may reveal coyote population trends, it certainly must reveal the near total extinction of the grey fox and the red fox, which is barely holding on these days as a result of coyote predation. This top of the food chain predator has decimated the groundhogs and wreaked havoc on ground nesting birds. Even yard dogs are not secure and letting a small pooch out to pee can have deadly consequences as many homeowners has viewed in horror their frisky pup being carried away by a couple of hungry coyotes.
Coyote packs usually range from three to five animals. Coyote breeding occurs January through March. Litters are born April through May and can contain 1-12 pups. Most coyotes are gray, though some show a rusty, brown, or off-white coloration. The coyote stands about one and a half to two feet tall and is between 41 to 53 inches in length. Males of this species are larger than the females and weigh anywhere from 20 to 50 pounds.
The coyote is a nocturnal animal, active during the nighttime hours. However, when it is less threatened by man, it will hunt and move from place to place during the day. The coyote will hunt in unrelated (non-family) pairs or large groups. Coyotes are omnivorous and typical foods include small mammals, vegetables, nuts, and carrion. In spring newborn fawns are particularly vulnerable. Unchecked, they will eat livestock, sheep and chickens. Cats and dogs are also on the menu in more suburban areas.
The resistance to this idea has been growing and an online petition (https://www.change.org/p/odnr-keep-ohio-s-coyote-season-open) has already gathered nearly 25,000 signatures.
According to the January press release, Ohioans are encouraged to comment on the proposed changes and may do so online at wildohio.gov. In person remarks can be made at the weeklong open house at any Division of Wildlife district office March 2-6.
The Ohio Wildlife Council is an eight-member board that approves all Division of Wildlife proposals. Contact the Ohio Wildlife Council at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please be constructive in your comments and provide any facts or data that supports your argument as they have a tough decision ahead.