Letter: Killing the coyotes only makes matters worse

Lynn R. Johnson | Special to the Tribune A coyote searching in the snow Tuesday afternoon for small prey at Antelope Island.

In regards to The Tribune’s editorial on coyotes:

Yes, “taxpayers should be howling” if this program continues. Apparently, in Utah and other states, there is a misunderstanding of how nature works. Removing carnivores increases the population of rabbits, which are competing with cattle and sheep for the same forage. If you refer to a study conducted in Utah regarding whether bison released in 1941 were grazing away most of the forage, you’ll see the results demonstrated rabbits were responsible for more destruction than the bison. Please refer to this article for results: https://www.hcn.org/articles/bison-cows-rabbits-utah-ranching-henry-mountains

Coyotes are the best damage control when it comes to keeping rabbits and rodents in check. Indiscriminate killing of coyotes can result in an increase of their population — if one or both of the alpha pair in a coyote pack is killed, the youngsters are free to then begin breeding, producing more pups. As long as an alpha pair stays intact, there is no breeding among the young pack members.

At some point this fact must be recognized by hunters, ranchers and anyone who is out shooting coyotes thinking they are doing any favors for anyone besides their own desire to kill something. Killing coyotes is not the answer to anything, which has been proven over many years of government and private entities involved in the wholesale slaughter of predators – it isn’t effective.

Judy Paulsen, Project Coyote, California