If coyote bill passes, expect encounters with people, livestock and pets, F&W expert tells Senate

Photo by Thomas Shockey on Pexels.com

By Guy Page

Vermont has few coyote interactions with people and domestic animals – now. But that could change if the Legislature bans coyote hunting with dogs, a Vermont Fish & Wildlife expert told senators today. 

The Senate Natural Resources & Energy Committee delayed a vote on S281, a committee-sponsored bill restricting hunting coyotes with dogs, until after the Town Meeting break next week. 

As introduced, S281 is an outright ban on using dogs to hunt coyotes: “No person shall pursue coyote with the aid of dogs, either for the training of dogs or for the taking of coyote.” However, the draft under discussion would allow very limited coyote hunting with dogs. Hunters would need specific permission from the landowner, permission from Fish & Wildlife, could only use two dogs, and would have only a week to take action. Permission could only be re-upped one time. 

The committee agreed a new draft needed more study. Also, most of the senators said they want to hear from constituents in person next week. 

Massachusetts has brief hunting seasons for coyote. In Vermont it’s unregulated, open-season, and year-round. As a result, Vermont has few domestic pet and human interactions with coyotes, Kim Royar, Department of Fish and Wildlife Furbearer Biologist said. Banning “hazing” of coyotes with trained dogs could make coyotes “habituated” with people and their pets, she said. 

Homeowners in Massachusetts “have had continual problems with coyotes,” Royar said. “They are smart. They become habituated with people.” 

Once a coyote becomes habituated, they become threats to livestock and other animals, she said. “They haven’t figured out that cows are easy pickings. Once they have figured it out, they’re not going to change that behavior.” 

A hunted coyote population “equates people with bad things…. they don’t come into suburban areas…..so far, that doesn’t happen all that often.” But once coyotes become habituated, their unwanted interaction with humans and domesticated animals is inevitable, she said. 

Committee member Dick McCormick (D-Windsor) expressed concern that the committee would not be able to pass its trifecta of hunting legislation in time for “crossover”, the March date by which all legislation to be considered for passage this year must be passed out of committees of jurisdiction. Not to worry, Chair Chris Bray (D-Addison) told McCormick: bills to eliminate leghold trapping and S129, changing the composition and powers of the Fish & Wildlife Board if necessary can be worked into amendments of House-approved legislation, thus bypassing Crossover. 

McCormick appeared to accept Bray’s response, albeit grudgingly – perhaps mindful of recent sessions in which Natural Resources and Energy was unable to vote out long-expected bills on Act 250 reform and other high-priority issues.

Categories: Environment

Tagged as:

31 replies »

  1. Coyotes are nothing but 40 lbs, long legged rats ! Whats next ? Oh I forgot, they have already made it very plain that their next objective is bear hounds men. Next, coon hunters ? rabbit hunters ? bird hunters ? Stop it, here, and now !

    • To any who think that Anonymous’s statement is ridiculous, when I was a kid trapping was a common past time that no one ever thought anything more about than fishing, Now, 50 years and 100s of thousands of urban refugees later “The Times They Are A Changjn” !

      • Times indeed change. Information & common knowledge also changes. That’s life. I’d be more concerned and involved as a purported conservative – about the radical leftists who comprise two-thirds of the VT legislature and seek to enshrine abortion in the VT Constitution as opposed to people comprising both “natives” and those from elsewhere (as your family once was, as every single individual in VT ancestors were originally from elsewhere at some point) who don’t enjoy seeing any animal suffer needlessly.

        Fifty years ago – common “knowledge” was that animals did not possess the capability to think, to feel pain, to engage in social structures & behaviors, to learn, etc. etc. Animals acted upon “instinct” alone, or so that was what was thought.

        With the advent of research and experimentation at universities all around the world, scientists have discovered that such modes of thinking were grievously incorrect and indeed it has been evidenced that animals of all diverse species indeed do feel pain, feel fear, think, and can subsequently suffer. Hence, over the decades due to this new understanding of non-human animal intelligence, even the construction of slaughterhouses within the U.S. has been changed to accommodate the animals who are entering and to keep them as unstressed and calm as possible.

        Yet hunters themselves here claim they are either incapable or unwilling to alter their own methods or attitudes or their instruments to accommodate such knowledge. That to me, seems somewhat telling about the human animal itself and its own psyche, problem-solving abilities, & intellect when presented with “change” within its environs.

      • Ms Gaffney, You state “With the advent of research and experimentation at universities all around the world, scientists have discovered that such modes of thinking were grievously incorrect”. Are these the the same “Universities” pushing CRT and other woke agendas ?

    • Don’t let your cats out ! On the bright side, their hides are prime right now so if you don’t put too big of a hole in it it’s worth a few bucks.

      • It’s unusual that you don’t seem to possess any concept about the facts which are easily acquired right online regarding animal intelligence, and somehow confusedly correlate it to CRT. Since CRT is but a theory based upon largely fictious history and irrational “solutions” whilst animal intelligence was studied vigorously at prestigious universities such as Harvard & Yale, I don’t see any semblance of connection. Though perhaps you can elaborate, starting first, but of course, by denigrating Harvard and every single person/program associated with it.

        It could all be though that if trappers admitted knowledge of the realities of the intricate social structures and intelligence animals very obviously possess which has been scientifically verified in scientific settings, then the trapping of animals & their subsequent suffering might lose its “moral imperative” as trappers claim they are merely aiding the planet’s ecosystem and saving woodland inhabitants from certain starvation & disease by ensnaring them in leghold traps as they endure lengthy, painful deaths – including somehow the protected & unintended.species that Fish & Wildlife personnel even admit rarely get reported. And the dogs & cats too – they too are nothing more than collateral damage when one considers the selfless, courageous actions of the trappers in preventing deaths from certain starvation.

        My points are utterly meaningless to each of you and an excuse to belittle, but if I may say so once again, it appears a couple of you are about as “tolerant” as the average democRAT. At least attempt to engage/debate in civil fashion – since we each tend to criticize the left for their own insolence.

      • “prestigious universities such as Harvard & Yale,” Say no more. Game, Set, Match

    • Question for Ms Gaffney: With the newer discoveries that you allude to, just what would you change in the process of trapping a beaver for instance? I would like for you to explain that.

  2. The party that is supposedly concerned with the minority of hunters that “cruelly” hunt coyotes with dogs bred for the purpose has ZERO concern for the cruel abortion of human life up to conception. Hypocritical?🤔 It’s just a backdoor for more restrictions folks…

  3. Coyotes are canids and possess high levels of intelligence and live in highly developed social structures. They aren’t “rodents” simply because they are personally annoying to the descendants of the white settlers who immigrated to Vermont decades or centuries ago.

    The justification of having no limitations in terms of hunting other species who have inhabited parts of this this earth often longer than humans have is of the same mentality that led to the annihilation of species such as the Catamount and the wolf here in VT and species such as the beautiful Thylacine in Australia (declared officially extinct in the 1980’s) & the decimation now of their koala population.

    Hunting animals humanely for sustenance is one thing & obviously needs to be preserved for a multitude of other reasons as well. However, torturing them & having them suffer first while simultaneously endangering other non-targeted species including domestic animals/pets – is NOT necessary and it is indeed cruel and heartless.

    And I am adamantly 100% against abortion as previous posts attest, and am presently fighting actively in VT to have Prop. 5 defeated, but I respect ALL life and NO life needs to suffer in a horrific manner in order to be “controlled”. Some species are specifically no longer “controlled” precisely because of the aforementioned over-hunting.

    • I would assume that the traps that you worry about are not set in your back yard, so what are “pets doing running free in areas where there might be traps ? Vermont is not doggie and kitty Disney Land. Pets should be on leashes or fenced in yards. When my cats go out, they are on a leash, and you what ? They love it, and they are safe.

      • I worry about anyone’s pets – or the aforementioned non-targeted and/or protected species – that have the chance to be severely injured or killed by traps, not my own pets specifically. My dogs are never out of my line of vision & within 80% or so of the time in areas across VT, dogs are not required to be leashed; they are merely required to be under their owner’s control. Therefore, residents/tourists/campers should not have to be terrified when going on hikes or going camping in VT for fear of their pet being snared in a trap (as has occurred) as they traverse the surroundings with their owner(s). Depending upon the area – pets are again NOT required by law to be leashed. I don’t own cats myself, but they certainly don’t deserve to suffer & die because they are owned by any one of hundreds of farmers who intentionally keep them outdoors often in droves roaming freely for rodent control or are exploring the areas near their property – regardless of the fact that I agree that cats should be supervised when outdoors or otherwise contained by fence or cat enclosures as you do.

        However, Vermont is a state, as every other state, where people are engaged & involved in a variety of activities such as camping/boating/hiking/skiing, etc. etc. – not just hunting. The tax revenue from tourism, outdoor activities & second home ownership has benefitted this state greatly. No one’s “hobby” or “sport” or “activity” should impinge upon any other persons in terms of making public lands a danger for them or their animals. The lands are for all to use safely and responsibly in accordance with the laws of the state – and it is well known that traps are set in areas where they are not allowed & though hunters are required to report when their traps “catch” species which are unintended, they typically do not report them.

        Let’s just agree to disagree here. We agree on just about everything else, I realize. But there is no reason, IMO, to torture any living being prior to ending their life.

      • Ms. Gaffney states “I don’t own cats myself, but they certainly don’t deserve to suffer & die because they are owned by any one of hundreds of farmers who intentionally keep them outdoors often in droves roaming freely for rodent control or are exploring the areas near their property” Would anybody else care to inform her as to how the vast majority of these cats arrive at Vermont farmers farms ? A little hint, the farmers don’t adopt, buy, or intentionally raise them.

      • Patrick, It is more than apparent that most of the posters on here cannot tolerate a different opinion whatsoever on this topic. I fear maybe some of you have been hanging out with democRATS somewhere.

        Talk about “eating your own”. This is a conservative site and I am a conservative, but I wouldn’t obviously cry my eyes out if trapping, specifically, was no longer allowed. That being stated, I am not personally involved in this “battle” at the state or elsewhere & have limited my voice to my opinion on this only on here. I personally find it much more pressing to be involved actively in the Pro-Life movement here in VT, and if I may be so bold I suggest that maybe some of you might consider becoming at least as impassioned about that battle as you are this one. But that obviously remains your decision(s).

        Thus far, it’s been insinuated that folks (my being the only one on here) who believe trapping is inhumane are pro-abortion, don’t hold the same rights to an opinion as those who were born in VT, are all transplants, that all transplants come from urban locales, this demographic have never witnessed predators taking down prey, we will likely be “terrified” by seeing more native species such as bear & coyote in our neighborhoods if trapping were to be banned, etc. So perhaps we all are guilty of the crime of exaggeration, me included.

        None of those inferences are truthful or particularly genuine yet again, I hold steadfast to my belief that trapping in particular is inhumane, cruel, allows for far too many improprieties & illegalities in terms of its usage, and ends the lives, again, of too many non-targeted and even protected species.

        But I presume we will continue to go round & round over these exact same facts and fabrications again & again, for what exact reason(s), I do not know.

        I understand and respect your right to your opinion and your voice, and I ask the exact same courtesy simply be extended to me.

      • Ms. Henry, You stated, “I fear maybe some of you have been hanging out with democRATS somewhere.” Really ? Sticks and stones. Wildlife Management is a science. and there should be no place for politics, or feelings. I am sure that there are wackadoodle wokies that agree with me just as there are conservatives that disagree, but if hunters, and trappers were polled, not that it makes any difference, but I am very sure that the overwhelming majority of us are quite conservative. Still if the wildlife managers that we employee at our Fish & wildlife Department say that a species needs to be culled to bring it into balance then it needs to be culled to bring it into balance. If the most efficient way of accomplishing this is by trapping, then they should be trapped. If the the most efficient way of accomplishing this is a limited antlerless hunting season, bring it on. See, I listen to, and trust them, as they are the ones that have been managing this renewable resource to get us to the point where we are at today.

    • To Ms. Gaffney, when the coyote hunting with dogs is banned and they no longer respect the barking of your domestic dog, don’t complain when they eat your cat, kill your chickens or watch you on the hiking trails. And when this descends to bear hounds being banned, you can join your friends in MA who haves bears on their porches, in their dumpster and killing Fido in their yard. When it finally trickles to rabbit hounds, don’t complain when your garden is ravaged. People in rural areas live in wild animal territory. But we have had successful ways to help deter dangerous and nuisance interactions over time. Respectful hunters and trappers will remain as such. The idiots that don’t follow laws now for ethical hunting and trapping will also remain as such. ps, I’m married to a 30+ year hunter safety instructor, hunter and trapper. Don’t throw everyone in one category please.

      • I won’t complain – I do not fear the animals that I share this planet with and I do not believe that attempting to annihilate entire species for the “betterment” of our collective lifestyle is wise – doing such in the past has had nothing but negative impacts upon the ecosystems we live amidst. I have been very close up with both bear & with coyote (amongst other species) over the decades & give them their space & have yet to have any issue. My yard is securely fenced & I own extra large guardian breed dogs – dogs once used to bait/track large predators. I enjoy the coyote choruses I hear at nightfall and thereafter; it is melodious & wild.

        Perhaps if “hunters” had not thought it best to annihilate previous predators such as wolves & large wild cats (to “protect” people & their non-native livestock) the balance of nature would have been sustained. Even the black bear in this region was eradicated decades ago, but has returned. Yet we learn nothing – some of you believe “taking out” yet more species shall be the ticket this time around; it never shall be.

        And again, I reiterate – I’m NOT opposed to hunting & fishing – I’m opposed to trapping specifically for the reasons I have already reiterated over & again. So I ask that you and the others on here also in turn respect my personal opinions as well here & not throw me into a category wherein I’m accused of being anti-hunting in general, anti-fishing, and even pro-abortion(!) as per one poster. accused. I did not relocate here (decades ago) from a metropolitan area, and my husband also hunted in years’ past. I am against trapping alone and respect & admire all species including snakes, cougars that pass through, & wolves; I do not fear them. Now, mosquitos are an entirely different story: I’m all for trapping mosquitos! Those teeny tiny springs are very difficult to handle though, I presume.

      • Ms Gaffney, Where did anybody say they were in favor of “attempting to annihilate entire species for the “betterment” of our collective lifestyle” ? Hunters and trappers are the most respectful protectors of wildlife you will ever come across. Hunters and trappers are responsible for bringing back many species from the brink of extinction. I know, many antis are going to claim that species have been driven to extinction by sport, or subsistence hunting. That’s poppycock ! The passenger pigeon, and other species so oftenly used as an example were driven there by commercial hunters and even more often by elimination or changes to habitat. The Bald Eagle is a great example of our money being used to bring back a species. I hope that you know that hunters had absolutely nothing to do with their decline, that was caused by the indiscriminate use of DDT. Did you know that in 1900 there were only around 100,000 Whitetail deer in North America ? There are now more than 32 million. Did you know in 1900 there were also only about 100,000 wild turkeys in North America ? There are now about 7 million. Did you know that in 1907 there were only 41,000 Elk in North America ? there are now about 1,000,000 ! Did you know that as recently as 1950 there were only about 12,000 Pronghorn Antelope in North America ? There are now about 1,100,000 How much have non consumptive user contributed ? Very little, most is raised by the Pittman/Robertson and Dingell/Johnson acts which are taxes levied on sporting equipment proposed and passed by sportsmen and women on ourselves, which raised $813,000,000 in 2013, the latest year for which figures are available, as well $796,000,000 raised on average by our hunting and fishing licenses every year. So what have you folks done lately for the animals that you seem to hold in such high regard ? Complain ?

    • Coyotes are not native to vermont. Without hunting their numbers will rapid expand and they will surpass their carrying capacity. They will starve to death and disrupt the healthy ecosystems of native fauna. Strategies in place are aimed at promotion of maxium species diversity. Maybe these law makers and activists are against species diversity and science.

  4. Okay, there’s coyotes- and there are coyotes. While we rail against the four legged version, the two-legged coyote has habituated himself comfortably in the statehouse. Guy’s last two paragraphs are telling- Senate Natural Resources and Energy committee Chair Bray is unconcerned about procedure and legislative process. He’ll just attach what he wants to another easier bill…
    This attitude is not one of a honest representative, doing their job for their constituents. Like so many others in Vermont’s House and Senate, this is language one would use as a ruler, full of political hubris for Vermont’s Constitution and Vermont’s residents. This kind of political deceit is exactly what’s gotten Vermont into the sad state it’s in. To continue to accept this condescension and lack of regard for the constituent is appalling. To continue to vote these elitist socialists into office is beyond madness.

    • Bray and most likely others have figured a way to thumb their noses at the procedures that previous legislatures have lived within. I only hope that the bills that these clowns chose to attach theses to are voted down along with them.

  5. I wonder if these coyote lovers have ever seen a sheep (which had been properly fenced) that had been torn open by coyotes.

    • No. But I do know I “love” both the coyotes AND the sheep and know they both deserve respect, protection, and the right to live as nature intended within their habitats.

      But I’m wondering if these coyote haters have ever seen a domestic cat or someone’s beloved dog writhing in agony in a trap only shortly thereafter having to be humanely euthanized by the heartbroken owner? A quick search on the web will recount for you such incidents and no – the dogs (in particular) were not running free – they were merely feet or yards from their owner’s side in any area where leashes are not legally required.

  6. Tom, Ms. Galdenzi of the “animal rights” group Protect Our Wildlife, will probably tell you that is the farmer’s fault for not having proper fencing. Whatever ! The problem is, and this is probably the only thing I agree with her on, is that this is just a coyote, being a coyote. The remedy to problems like this is where I vehemently disagree with her, and her ilk. Just letting predators do what they do without human intervention to “educate” and control them is not the answer.

    • What is my “ilk” exactly(?) as I’m a vocal and politically active conservative in VT having served on a Planning Commission, initiating petitions, involved in Pro-Life activities & active member of local political clubs. My “ilk” is that I respect ALL living beings and all living beings deserve respect. I guess just cuff me. But it’ll never alter my view as I’m as tenacious as are each of you in my convictions.

    • Unfortunately, the reality of animal intelligence is also science, and “feelings” as a matter of fact, enter into every single scenario & circumstance that human beings involve themselves in. Emotions are the drivers of our behaviors in everything we engage in, as any medical professional will attest to. As far as “politics” go here, my personal “feelings” are not politically motivated whatsoever, especially since I am not remotely involved in this cause in any way other than simply exercizing my own right to free speech. I will continue to remain adamantly against causing any animal to (yet again) suffer a prolonged, painful death in the name of “environmental righteousness”. And lastly, during the vast majority of points in history, there were no Fish & Wildlife departments extant, and yet still the earth managed to rotate on its axis and fish swam in bodies of water.

      Again, we differ in opinion greatly on this issue, but for some very odd (or maybe not so odd) reason, my opinion cannot be tolerated whatsoever. And that is ultimately what is tragic here.

  7. “Ilk” defined, “a type of people or things similar to those already referred to,” So are you a supporter/follower/believer of Brenna Galdenzi ? (Protect Our Wildlife, or POW)

    • I am not at all familiar with that individual, therefore I cannot state whether I am or am not a supporter/follower/believer of hers. Chances are….I would likely agree with some & disagree with some others, as I’m an independent thinker.

      And btw, I didn’t need the definition of “ilk” nor did I ask for it, I asked specifically what “ilk” you were referring to, which I believe by my query was straightforward.

Leave a Reply