Saturday, January 16, 2010

Coyotes

I wonder how the coyote hunting tournament is going up in Jackman. The tournament lasts from the middle of December to the end of January, and the last story I saw a couple of weeks ago on the MPBN site dutifully reported both sides of the question - comments from those zealots outraged that money would be paid to kill cute animals, and from those hunters convinced that the coyote is the main culprit in the much-reduced deer population in the north woods. At the time a grand total of six hunters had registered; one animal was killed. Perhaps the month of January will be more rewarding.

I'm sure the coyote is both reviled and misunderstood. But I don't understand either side. Why don't the zealots decry the slaughter of thousands of deer and ducks and moose and bear? Why don't the hunters protest the other factors, like loss of deer wintering yards from logging, that are pressuring the woods? I'm afraid the animal lovers don't know the first thing about real life in the wilderness. I'm equally afraid that the hunters are terribly short-sighted in their need to preserve the "Maine way of life."

Mostly though, this story illustrates the extremes in which people revel, knowing that the inevitable media storm will justify their points of view, at least to themselves.

A sidebar to the coyote story is more frightening. Maine now allows coyote hunting at night. Can you imagine? I can: guns in the dark, cats and dogs and lovers mistaken for prey, liquor liberally applied, someone nodding off at 3:00 a.m. with a loaded rifle in his hands? What can the state be thinking? Trying to emulate the streets of New York?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Night hunting has been allowed in Maine for Coyotes for many years, with not one report of an accident or an unidentified animal being mistaken. It is against the law to shoot a house pet, or a fox or a human, if a hunter does this at night, they can be prosecuted for the crime they committed. Hunters are very careful of their target, and drinking is also illegal while operating a firearm. Coyote Hunting is safe. I can't imagine a human being wandering out onto a pile of scrap meat at 2 AM and being mistaken for a 4 legged animal, either by moonlight or infrared lights being used!

Jeff Boatright said...

I'm not against hunting, and in fact come down squarely on the side of the hunters on this specific issue. However, there are many cases, including in Maine, of otherwise-uninvolved people being shot by hunters. The fact that it's against the law is of little solace to the dead.