Letter: It’s past time to end bounty kills in Utah

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

Thank you for your coverage and editorial regarding the felony fraud investigation associated with the DWR coyote bounty, under the guise of mule deer protection. You are correct that the “science” has been suspect.

It amazes me that we are appalled by rhino, elephant and gorilla poaching and lion trophy hunting in Africa but have Utah state employees who continue to rationalize bounty hunting on coyotes, cougars and bobcats. None of these animals are being killed for meat or clothing, nor do they pose any threat to our population. This is just another form of gun “entertainment” that results in callous killing of animals that are not hurting us. We need to just leave them alone.

With habitat loss and climate change, these animals are already stressed. It is past time for DWR to update its methodology for counting/estimating our wildlife populations.

Christine B Helfrich, Millcreek