The War on Predators

Why Fish and Game Agencies Can’t Manage Predators

George Wuerther writes an insightful piece about Fish & Game departments failure to manage predator species like other wildlife across the country.

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  1. Jay-k Avatar

    When wolves killed numerous coyotes in Yellowstone there was not an outcry to defend them because they were saving antelope fawns? When man kills coyotes to save deer faws that is a bad thing? I am finding it difficult to understand the standard.

  2. John d. Avatar
    John d.

    Good article.


    Wolves kill coyotes because they are territorially aggressive toward other canids and to defend the carcasses of downed prey, they were not ‘saving’ anything.

    Humans kill coyotes for fun or out of boredom because the species is seen as trash for anything other than a pelt and teeth that can be sold for personal profit.
    There’s the difference.

  3. Jay-k Avatar

    Hey John d, The article talks about how less coyotes means more of a certain prey base. What I find disturbing is the author promotes wolves killing coyotes to enhance a species but when man kills coyotes to enhance a different species it is not good. Besides antelope when grown dont have a natural predator anymore because the chetah is extinct. The whole predator prey thing will never be right will it.

  4. John d. Avatar
    John d.


    The consequence of more prey is a by-product of instinctive territorial behaviour, not an intentional ambition. Wolves were the animals keeping coyotes in a specific area in the U.S. until their extermination to boost ungulate numbers for human hunters in the early 1900’s.

    Perhaps its because when humans kill coyotes they do it with abandon and intentionally exact extreme cruelty in the name of ‘fun’. Shall I reference the Coyote Tournament in Challis?

  5. Jeff N. Avatar
    Jeff N.

    Jay – K,

    First, cheetahs are not extinct…see Africa.

    Secondly, “The author promotes” wolves killing coyotes? No, wolves kill coyotes period, without promoting. It’s called “a natural, instinctive process” and if pronghorns benefit that is part of the process. However, some hunters “promote” killing coyotes in order to feed their desire to have more deer to kill.

  6. Brian Ertz Avatar


    i think the idea behind George’s reference to coyote/wolf dynamics is that natural systems check and manage themselves for rich diversity of wildlife better than Livestock surrogates at fish and game departments do.

  7. Jay-k Avatar

    Jeff N,
    I guess I dont see how it is good for wolves to eliminate competition and in effect benefit antelope while on the other hand if fish and game does the same thing to benefit (DEER) it is bad. Lumping livestock growers into the equation is not warranted in this instance.—- In my opinion controlling numbers of predators is not going to ruin the environment, wolves kill coyotes for the same reason people kill coyotes, eliminate the competition.

  8. Ryan Avatar

    Perhaps its because when humans kill coyotes they do it with abandon and intentionally exact extreme cruelty in the name of ‘fun’. Shall I reference the Coyote Tournament in Challis?


    While your on your high horse, which is more cruel, a well placed bullet or a long chase followed by getting your guts ripped out while your still alive? Just checking seeing as how were all equal and man, both doing the exact same thing eliminating competition. Which is less cruel?

  9. John d. Avatar
    John d.

    Ryan and Jay-k

    Please read the comment thoroughly, I don’t like repeating myself three times.

  10. John d. Avatar
    John d.


    The gut ripping thing? Okay. I’ll play ball with you on that.
    The disembowelment process causes shock, extensive blood loss and the animal dies very quickly.

  11. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    That is a very good article. I particularly liked the section about how hunters do not have the same effects as predators. I also like the fact that they are also exposing the disgraceful practice of aerial gunning without being sensationalist.

  12. Ryan Avatar

    Okay John D. Seeing as how I have called in Coyotes and killed them, they come running in expecting a meal, most of the time they never even know what hit them. A 52gr ballistic tip causes massive internal bleeding and leads to a near instainious death. No long chases, no fighting to the death Etc. On a strictly humane argument, the bullet generally wins. Now if want to discuss ethics, I can see some ethical issues with coyote killing contests.

  13. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    I think the point we can make is that most animals very rarely die peacefully in their sleep like humans. Whether it is a bullet or predation, death does not come peacefully to most animals.

  14. Brian Ertz Avatar

    I think a good point is brought up by John d. –

    The wanton infliction of pain on sentient beings by humans, a species that has conscious moral agency (i.e. We have the cognative ability to process abstract thought, and in doing so have developed systems of morality that recognize needless pain to be bad) is something entirely different than when an animal acts within a natural system and pain results. Wolves, or other predators, aren’t abstractly aware of moral or immoral conduct – the act is an innate actualization of their teleological presence – it has evolutionary benefit. The same cannot be said for the Culture of Death – killing coyotes for fun does nothing to benefit human survival.

    IMO – the act of hunting or otherwise using an animal is different than wanton killing. Respect and recognition of the value of the life taken, and the pain inflicted, can be a part of that. Pain isn’t inherently bad – wanton infliction of pain that serves little more purpose than ego is wrong. There can be a level of sympathy, perhaps even empathy, involved and the act of hunting can be a humbling exercise in escape from ego and even reverance for life & the natural systems upon which it depends.

    That recognition of value, the reverance for life & diverse natural systems, could be a part of “management” but the way in which predators are “managed” demonstrates a willing absence within these Fish & Game departments. They use science not to appreciate wildlife and wild systems, to enable them in a way that would allow for benefit to everyone (hunters, wildlife watchers, recreationists, wild systems) – but to maximize commodified production of game as a purely economic endeavor for a small subset of participants. That engenders a very particular approach to predator “management” that is not conducive to the type of conservation protections and mechanisms that are absolutely necessary for viability (particularly with the wolf) given the socio-political threats posed from state legislators, private associations, etc. at the state and local levels & the Livestock Culture of Death that fuels such antagonism.

  15. John d. Avatar
    John d.


    Depends where the bullets hit, in any case they bypass the natural selection process which involves chasing and wresting down prey – not all hunts are successful, though the carnivore/s don’t complain about it, most are lucky to not get kicked in the ribs, gored by antlers or stepped on.
    Wolves kill coyotes out of territorial instinct, not because they want a pelt to sell.

    For a person that claims he knows a lot because he kills things, you don’t seem to have a lot of understanding about predators and their behaviour.

  16. Virginia Avatar

    Brian and John d. – thank you for once again promoting the value and reverence for the life of coyotes. Ryan’s brutal description of his unfair method of calling in coyotes to make them think they are coming in for a meal and his 52gr ballistic bullet disgust me and I feel that he should be posting this somewhere else – maybe on one of the pro-killing blogs. The majority of people who read and write on this blog appear to me to have reverence for the lives of all wildlife and this includes coyotes.

  17. Ryan Avatar

    John D,

    You wanted to discuss the curelty factor, I’m not an unedcuated redneck like you’d like to believe. Wolves remove coyotes for much the same reasons humans do. To remove competition, I just find it funny that if a Human does it its a horrible thing, but if a wolf does it its a perfectly fine endeavor. If all species are equal like you say, then there should be no problem with either species doing it.

  18. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Coyotes are not flat out competition for humans. Their effects are mixed. They do kill a fair number of sheep, but one can easily argue that the loss of sheep is more than made up by the large number of rodents they eat.

    Of course if sheep farmers had their way they would have Wildlife Services poison or shoot the coyotes and then poison the rodents. This was the actual policy 40 years ago — the sheep farm as a lifeless place.

  19. jimbob Avatar

    Jay-K I think you missed the point. If wolves are killing coyotes then that is a natural act. At least the government doesn’t then step in and kill all of the wolves, bears and lions, too, leaving no predators. There is still a top predator, or several, in the ecosystem. When man kills they are trying to reduce or kill off ALL predators, leaving nothing but hunters to perform their role in the ecosystem, which as George W. points out does not work.

  20. John d. Avatar
    John d.


    I shall not repeat myself to you. From what you have conveyed I see very little similarity between persons such as yourself and natural predators.

  21. Ryan Avatar

    Thats a pretty astute observation. 🙂 I dont see what that has to do with this conversation. So are you saying that as a species humans are held to a higher moral standard than other species?

  22. John d. Avatar
    John d.

    Swing and a miss Ryan.


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Brian Ertz