The barren, wind-swept buttes surrounding this small ranching town will offer scant places for coyotes to hide this weekend, as some 180 hunters from across the country converge for a "calling" contest to see who can shoot the most coyotes over three days.
Part predator control, part economic development ploy, the annual event began five years ago in a bid to pique outside interest in Baker, by way of a $6,000 purse funded by entrance fees, local businesses and the Baker Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture.
While organizers see success in the event's rapid growth, the increasing popularity of such contests is prompting a backlash from animal-rights groups and even some hunters, who contend that the shooting events trivialize the sport by turning it into a cash-fueled spectacle.
First off, does the headline give you any feel for how the reporter feels about this? Coyote killing contest, not Coyote hunt, not coyote calling competition, coyote killing contest. Quite a bit of bias right in the headline if you ask me. It really makes me question the story in its entirety just by the headline.
Do I have a problem with this? Not a bit. Does it do anything about coyote losses to stock? Not so sure. I'm sure it helps some but the coyote populations are so mobile that more will move in very quickly to take up the slack in the ecosystem. I know it's cheaper than the Government coming in and shooting them via Animal Damage Control (ADC) but I don't know that it is any more effective.
People might criticize this type of hunting but they have never seen calves tore up by coyotes or attacking a cow having a calf. Ranchers disposing of coyotes are following the very basic function of taking care of their animals by protecting them. By having a competition to hunt coyotes is no different than the rancher hiring someone to deal with the coyote problem which puts the rancher in the position of "taking care of his animals" by providing basic protection. People who criticize this just don't understand this, all we as ranchers want to do is protect our animals. Nothing worse than to see a calf killed by a coyote. You feel liked you failed in your job somehow. Would you rather people fund this sort of thing out of their own pocket or have all taxpayers do it via ADC?
What's the old saying, walk a mile in the other persons shoes before you criticize them. Criticism of this hunt falls under this category. Hunters are providing a service to the ranchers which is helping to protect the animals in our care. Our chances of hunting the coyote into extinction is slim to none so that is not a problem. Protecting our domesticated animals is our problem.
We only understand that which already within us. Henri Frederic Amiel