Be Aware of the Absurd Stupidity of Bureaucracy Affecting Predator Hunting

If you plan on an out-of-state predator hunting trip you had better do your homework because the laws across the country are about as variable as the weather.
Be Aware of the Absurd Stupidity of Bureaucracy Affecting Predator Hunting

Last spring — when I was baiting bears for an Idaho outfitter from his high country camp ­— I ran into a biologist working for the U.S. Forest Service. I figured it was a no brainer that since she was in the heart of an area that had been turned into an unrecoverable “predator pit,” by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s “reintroduction” of wolves, that she would be studying something predator related.

Ha! Should have known better!

She was tasked with studying the Pileated woodpecker. A week or so later, a biologist for the Idaho Fish & Game department stopped by camp and guess what he was studying? Bats! I’m sure the outdoor-oriented taxpayers and Idaho sportsman are elated with the wise use of their dollars in a state where the moose and elk herds have been decimated by predators and the resultant loss of millions of dollars of much needed license revenue.

Judd Cooney has pursued predators and other big game throughout the world for decades.

California is not only the land of fruits and nuts but probably has the highest percentage of anti-hunters, bunny huggers and misinformed preservationists in the country. Unfortunately, it seems that many of them are politicians and government employees. At present the California Fish & Game department has a Predator Work Group studying and working on proposals, mostly brought about by members who are anti-hunting, to place the coyote on protected status with limited seasons, bag limits and permits. All this without a shred of scientific evidence to support their stand. The main objective of the anti-hunting group is to remove hunting as a management tool and promote non-consumptive use. In other words, NO HUNTING! As one vocal opponent to the idea stated, “If this becomes law maybe they’ll live trap depredating coyotes and move them to L.A., San Francisco and Hollywood to help control the feral cat problem!

One of the last years where spring bear hunting with dogs or over bait was legal in Colorado, another outfitter and I took 80 percent of the bears taken in our county that year with only a couple of females out of a total of over 30 bears. All the bears taken by hunters had to be checked and tagged by a local conservation officer. Yet when the harvest figures came out they were heavily skewed to show far more females taken than were checked by the officers. When I questioned a biologist on this obvious discrepancy, he blithely stated that they didn’t use the officer’s “hands on,” check, but used a “computer modeling program.” Duh! Two years later the east slope liberals and anti-hunters got spring bear hunting, baiting and the use of dogs outlawed by using these skewed statistics and Colorado hunters and outdoorsman got zero help from the 100 percent sportsman’s license fee funded Division of Wildlife. The same thing happened with trapping in Colorado.

If you plan on an out-of-state predator hunting trip you had better do your homework, because the laws across the country are about as variable as the weather. In some states you can’t use an electronic call and a few consider all predators as game animals with seasons and bag limits while other exempt coyotes from protection but consider all other predators as furbearers. In a number of states, night predator hunting is strictly forbidden and while others you can night hunt but cannot use a light. In Colorado, a predator hunting acquaintance asked five different conservation officers if it was legal to hunt at night on public land. He got three responses stating it was legal, if you notified the officer where and when you would be hunting, which is actually the law. Two officers stated emphatically that night predator hunting was illegal.

In Iowa and Missouri, a landowner can check his cattle with a spotlight, but cannot hunt depredating predators with a light at night, on his own land.

Fortunately, there are some states with common sense, such as Utah, where in order to protect their mule deer population — which brings a huge amount of revenue into the state — the coyote is considered a non-game animal with no license required. In addition, the state pays a bounty of $50 for each properly documented coyote killed. Nevada and Wyoming are two other predator savvy states where coyotes are unprotected with no license required. Wyoming even includes red fox and raccoons in this category.

Be aware of the absurdity and stupidity of the laws affecting your own predator hunting. Your predator hunting future may depend on how hard you fight for wise, common sense, fact driven predator management.

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