Letter: Hunting contests damage ecosystem

To the editor:

A local gun store recently held a coyote hunting tournament in which 37 coyotes were killed over three counties. Organizers claimed that the contest was held due to hunters complaining about the declining deer population, but what these hunters do not know is that coyotes do not impact deer populations.

In an article posted to the pro-hunting website Bowsite.com, whitetail biologist C.J. Winand writes, “Do coyotes negatively effect (sic) our deer herds? The answer is generally NO! In fact, in the big woods with an average deer herd and normal precipitation, I doubt whether it’s even measurable.”

Before claiming that Mr. Winand is an “anti” or anything of the sort, understand that he is a staff writer for “Bowhunter” as well as “Deer and Deer Hunting” magazines.

Since it’s clear that killing coyotes will not protect the deer population, what do such killing contests actually accomplish? The truth is they do a lot of harm, and not only to the coyotes who are killed but also to the local coyote population and local farmers.

Hunting contests interfere with the natural predator/prey relationship that is vital to a well-functioning ecosystem. Killing coyotes initially creates unnaturally large populations of mice and rabbits, which then become a problem for agriculture interests.

Coyote hunting then increases the population of coyotes, because when hunting drops their numbers unnaturally low, they begin to breed faster than they can be killed. And by targeting the largest and strongest coyotes, hunting contests leave the smallest, weakest and sickest animals to breed. This grows the population, weakens the species and encourages the spread of sickness and disease. Killing contests are not based upon any degree of science — they are nothing more than an exercise in bloodlust.

When one considers the effect hunting has on wildlife and habitat, it is clear that the sport is nothing less than an absolute disaster and one that has no place in an ethical society.

To learn what you can do to eliminate the problem of sport hunting forever, visit AbolishSportHunting.com.

Joe Miele

The Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting

New Paltz, New York