Letter: Hunters have too much influence in Utah politics

Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune l-r Utah Division of Wildlife Resources predator management specialist, Jeff Cowlishaw, Tyler Peterson, 13, and his father Kelly Peterson watch as predator control program manager Xaela Walden documents coyote remains brought to her by the Petersons who shot the coyote in Box Elder County last week. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources predator-control program provides a $50 incentive for hunters to kill and properly document every coyote that they kill in Utah. Despite its success, the program is getting an overhaul to reign in criminal abuses and obtain better data to help officials assess what the program is accomplishing in terms of protecting mule deer and controlling predators. INFORMATION-> We are meeting Xaela Walden, Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Thanks to the Salt Lake Tribune for your editorial denouncing Utah’s $50 bounty on coyotes. The bounty program should be repealed by the state Legislature in its next session. From the corruption the bounty system engenders to the waste of taxpayer dollars, the bounty is inexcusable. People have been trying to kill off coyotes for over a century. One might think that we as a society would have figured out by now that extermination programs don’t work because coyotes increase their reproduction to compensate.

At a deeper level, the coyote bounty reflects the corruption infecting our state’s wildlife policy due to the undue influence of hunting and agricultural industry lobbies. As long as we allow those two special interests to control wildlife policy in Utah, the public interest, science and ethics will continue to be ignored to our detriment.

Ask legislative candidates if they are willing to abolish the coyote bounty as well as the egregious coyote-killing contests.

Bob Brister, Salt Lake City