Letter: Stop the senseless slaughter of Utah predators

Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune l-r Tyler Peterson, 13, talks with Utah Division of Wildlife Resources predator management specialist, Jeff Cowlishaw and predator control program manager Xaela Walden documents coyote remains brought to them by Peterson, 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

Regarding your recent editorial: Utah taxpayers have been subsidizing coyote slaughter since 2012. $50 bounties are paid annually from the Mule Deer Protection Act (SB245). As it turns out, fraudulent claims were paid out of taxpayer money!

The fund tops at $750,000 annually. The number of documented coyotes slaughtered since 2012 is an annual average of 14,892, for a total of 74,460 harvested as of 2017. The majority of Utah taxpayers abhor this slaughter of wildlife, yet it continues.

Coyotes are killed by trapping, shooting and poisoning with no end in sight because of this ethically indefensible and fiscally foolish bill. “Coyote hunting contests” are held “for entertainment”; even youngsters participate in this. Taxpayer money is being squandered for the “entertainment” of a minority, while peer-reviewed science proves mule deer decline is rooted in lack of adequate food sources, caused by climate change and human development, not predators.

Causes of coyote deaths include predation, disease, weather, hunting, trapping, poison, automobiles and rampant “predator control” by the state of Utah. Coyotes are useful predators eliminating vermin that damage agriculture and other property. Predators have a place in healthy ecologies. Stop this senseless slaughter and the squandering of tax money!

Maria Roberts, Park City