of Death.

This coyote was found hanging from a fence post on the Mud Flat Road in Owyhee county.  Graphic.


Coyote found October 8, 2010 © <a href="http://westernwatersheds.org/">Western Watersheds Project</a>

Coyote found October 8, 2010 © Western Watersheds Project


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About The Author

Ken Cole

Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project. We do not accept unsolicited “guest” authors or advertising.

118 Responses to Ranching "custom and culture"….

  1. Rita K. Sharpe says:

    It’s rather hard for me to post a sane comment here.

  2. ProWolf in WY says:

    What is the reasoning for doing this? Is it supposed to scare other coyotes off?

    • Save bears says:

      That is the premise behind it, it is believed that hanging the corpses on the fences the rest of the coyotes will stay away and avoid the area. I see it quite often in my travels in many areas, including the mid-west and in the south, it is not unique to the western US..

    • I think Save Bears is partially right — dead coyotes are used to hopefully scare away live ones. I don’t know if it works at all. Does anyone?

      On the other hand, I have come across fences with 6 or 7 dead coyotes. This is an inefficient distribution of carcasses if the intent is scaring coyotes. A more likely explanation is an expression of extreme hostility to coyotes.

      • Save bears says:


        I have never seen an science to say it works, so really I have no idea, just that the practice is not just a western thing, I have seen in many areas of the country…I know that for some reason, canids seem to shy away from corpses of fellow canids.

        So there many be something to the practice..

      • william huard says:

        I think that is more accurate Ralph. This is our land- BAD COYOTE

      • Save bears says:

        To add, I do believe part of it is a show of power, see what I did and what I can do, death to vermin…I can say, it is not only male ranchers that do this, I know of a couple of female ranch owners that practice the same thing…

      • Save Bears,

        I did suggest to Wildlife Services, back in the day they talked with conservationists, that they might want to let a dead wolf they had killed lie and see if it deterred nearby packs.

        As far as I can tell, they never tried.

    • Tim Bondy says:

      A reason? The person who did this can only be described as an A$$hole and that’s all that needs to be said about this picture. OTOH, the person who did this should have his/her weapons taken away for life and all following generations of his family should also.

      • Save bears says:


        Doing this is not illegal, you have to be committed of a crime to have your guns taken away, and at this time, that is not the case..

      • Jon Way says:

        Just b.c it is not illegal, it does not make it right. I think that is what many are saying here. To allow people to have such hatred for another animal is not healthy (as we all know for many reasons)…

      • Save bears says:

        And how many times are you going to tell me this Jon!

        I didn’t say it is right, I didn’t condone it, I didn’t even say I like it, I simply stated a fact, that is all I did, what the hell is wrong with you people, I didn’t take a side at all on this issue…

      • Tim Bondy says:

        Save bears: No hard feelings about your reply. Still, hanging a dead animal on a fence is just plain WRONG. The person who did it shouldn’t be able to hunt until he proves he has a heart…Acceptable proof would be if he hangs his heart on the fence next to the coyote for just 12 hours.

      • Elk275 says:

        Tim the beauty of the internet is that anyone can write anything they want, but there is no way a person is going to lose hunting rights or gun rights for shooting a coyote in the west and hanging it on a fence. There is not a western state who would pass a law with the penlties that you avocate. The way things are in Congress there will not be any federal laws protecting coyotes or foxes

      • Save bears says:


        It ain’t going to happen, no way, no how, I can see you have little understanding of the ranching lifestyle, like many who comment, and until such time as you do, you will always be on the loosing side.. It is going to take far more than passing laws to change things, that is what is so sad, people just don’t realize that!

      • Save bears says:


        Sorry, I meant Tim…its late..

      • Tim Bondy says:

        Save bears: Yes, I have zero understanding of the ranching lifestyle and business aspects. And now I’m guessing that ranchers don’t have a clue about the non-ranching, occasional “recreationalist” like me and a fair number of folks in the west. We all share what I suspect was public land where the coyote was hung on the fence. With that said…

        Posting pictures like this coyote will eventually make it much easier to change these laws. As far as the rancher losing his right to hunt? It was more of a practical or moral suggestion than a “call to arms” to change the law.

        I guess the thing that hit me so hard was the fact that the Mud Flat Road area of the Owyhee’s where the picture was taken is my “home turf”. I know this area well from hiking and rock hounding. I’ve walked many grazing allotments and skipped over and zigzagged my way around tons of cow patties while on this public land. I’ve also come upon locked gates that ranchers have no right to lock and questioned the BLM folks. I try to understand this ranching lifestyle but when this lifestyle slams me in the head I get a little more annoyed each time.

        As you said “Save Bears” I’m on the losing end of this whole argument but that doesn’t mean I cannot make a difference when it comes to what I perceive as right and wrong. I have a pencil sharpener and I’m getting close to the point of using it…by writing my representatives. It would be easier for all parties concerned to try to find a middle ground. By this I mean the rancher must strive to understand the non-ranchers and the other way around. It’s a two way street until the lawmakers get involved. Once laws are changed, it usually means one person wins and one person loses.

        Long story shortened: Don’t hang dead wildlife from a fence. It makes it easier for the non-ranchers to effect the way ranchers do business.

      • Save bears says:


        I can’t say I disagree with any of your points, but after living in this area much of my life and working for and with government agencies in this area I won’t see much change happen during my life. And to say, I have been against public lands rancher for a long time now. I have experienced locked gates, been run off public land at gun point by ranchers, had the cops called on me more than once for “Trespassing”

  3. william huard says:

    The coyotes are put there to teach the other coyotes a lesson. Next time don’t do what’s natural, order chinese takeout or order a salad

  4. william huard says:

    I’m pretty sure the coyote will have the last laugh. When this rancher is six feet under the coyote will still be here. On his land no less, that is if in fact it is his land and not public land! WS have been trying to eradicate them for a hundred years- how’s that been going?

  5. pointwest says:

    This coyote may have been with a pack. The shooter may have hung it up so all the other pack members could see what happend to their pack-mate when the shooter came around and fired his gun in the distance. The shooter may have worried that coyotes did not understand what gunfire was or what it meant. Remember, the sound of gunfire can be a great distance away from a coyote. Coyotes may not associate the death of a pack member to the gunfire.

    If I had been hired by a rancher to keep coyotes away with a gun, it is what I would do. I would rather kill one pack member to scare the pack off than to have to kill the entire pack because the pack did not understand the meaning of distant gunfire. So my guess is that it was hung up to help coyotes associate humans and gunfire with death.

  6. Debra K says:

    I’m the one who actually took the picture (and no, I don’t care to get credit for it). The dead coyote was hanging from a fence in the middle of a lot of open space. No houses, barns or buildings were anywhere close by, so don’t see how it could deter packmates given the many other areas they have to roam.

    I’ve always viewed this lovely practice as an expression of contempt for the natural world and “varmints” by those in the livestock trade.

    • william huard says:

      And then the “livestock trade” can’t understand why people that see this contempt hate their guts

    • pointswest says:

      …so you are saying it was hung up to enrage people? …sort of throw it in animal rights activists face?

      • william huard says:

        I agree with Larry- this is done for effect, to show people who view these animals that that’s what happens to predators that tresspass on their property. These views have been festering for more than 150 years, and there is no amount of logic or reason that can change these people’s minds. In Lords of Nature you can see the more tolerant viewpoint from the head of the Minn Deer Hunting Assoc I think, who talked about a more proactive approach to living with predators instead of just killing them

      • jon says:

        What was that guy’s name William? The head guy in the MN deer hunting association? The only hunting organization that I have seen that are somewhat tolerant of wolves is the Montana wildlife federation. Then you have nuts like Don Peay who expose his kind as being the most extremist anti wolfers out there wanting to buy sheltered dogs and use them as a wolf bait just to smoke a few wolves.

      • jon says:

        sb, you do know Tim Aldrich?

      • Save bears says:

        I don’t know if I do or not Jon,

        I have met a lot of people over the years, but don’t always remember all of the names.

  7. Barb Rupers says:

    When I was young, hawks were hung in similar fashion on fences in the Palouse country.

  8. Nancy says:

    I’ve always viewed this lovely practice as an expression of contempt for the natural world and “varmints” by those in the livestock trade.

    Sad picture Debra, but I agree with your thoughts. I can recall a dead coyote or two hanging from fenceposts here in my area.

    We humans have tried the same approach when it comes to drunk driving and drug abuse. The billboards and commercials seem to have the same results – little or no impact. With animals its all about feeding the body, with many humans, its all about feeding an artifical addiction.

    • pointswest says:

      I lived in Idaho for 25 years and worked on farms and ranches and was an avid outdoorsman and upland game hunter and fisherman. I’ve traveled all over the back roads of Idaho and southwestern Montana and eastern Washington State. I honestly do not recall a specific incident of seeing a coyote hung on a fence like this. It seems vaguely familiar, however, as if I may have seen one once or twice from a distance. So this practice is not very common in the Northwest in my experience.

      One important difference between this and a billboard for drunk drivers is that billboards are typically along busy highways or in towns where many people see them. I know I have never seen a coyote hung up like this near a busy highway nor in a town. So I personally have doubts that the intended audience is human. If a coyote were hung up near a town or highway, my first guess would be that it was some kid or hotshot proud of his trophy and he wanted everyone to see it.

      Maybe times have changed, but when I lived in Idaho, no one cared about animal rights advocates. They were few and far in between and most people viewed them and nut cases to be polite to but otherwise ignore. I’m sorry but it is true.

      This dead coyote hanging on the fence probably has nothing to do with animal rights advocates and probably has nothing to do with humans. The intended audience is probably other coyotes.

      I will ask (to anyone reading) why do you take this as some message to you personally?

      • JB says:

        “I personally have doubts that the intended audience is human.”

        I disagree. If the “intended audience” was coyotes, then the animal should have been left where it died, placed near grazing sheep, or on a game trail, not a fence along the road.

        I have seen this practice before (in the West and Midwest) and I think it is intended to send a clear message to people in the community; that is, “it is your duty to kill coyotes.” This type of message helps establish what psychologists call “norms”, which can be loosely defined as cultural expectations regarding what behavior is appropriate. In this case, the message sender is asserting that the appropriate behavior is to kill coyotes.

      • pointswest says:

        Then why was it more common prior to the 60’s when no one cared about coyotes other than ranchers and when there were fewer people in the West?

        And I will reiterate, if the intended audience is human, why not hang them in towns or along busy highways like a billboard. Has anyone on this blog ever seen a dead coyote hung in/near town or along a busy highway?

      • JB says:

        The answer to both of your questions is the same–the norm is only relevant to the ranching community. No rancher would expect that someone from in town would come out to their land and shoot coyotes. However, if you were interested in getting rid of coyotes you certainly would want your neighbors to know that you were doing your part [while suggesting that perhaps they were not doing theirs].

  9. The coyote wasn’t hung on the fence to warn off other coyotes, it was displayed along a road for its impact on human observers.
    Profilers of serial killers will tell you that the killers started out on animals and then moved to humans. The person that killed this coyote should be a suspect if any children in the area go missing.
    Some of the comments by some of the anti-wolf folks, on how to kill wolves, fit the same pattern.

    • Layton says:

      “The coyote wasn’t hung on the fence to warn off other coyotes, it was displayed along a road for its impact on human observers.
      Profilers of serial killers will tell you that the killers started out on animals and then moved to humans etc………etc………..etc……..etc”

      Wow, a little sensationalism with your green koolaid this morning??

      This is something that has been done for generations to try and get the other coyotes in the area to move away– nobody accuses them of being stupid.

      Does it work?? Who knows?? But to link this to serial killers and missing children is FAAAAAAARR OUT to say the least. Tinfoil hat anyone?

      • ConnieJ says:

        Larry’s comments have merit. We should all be very suspicious of anyone who can inflict such pain and suffering on another living creature – – and then brag about it.

      • Harley says:

        Layton! Long time no see! Good to see your post.

    • pointswest says:

      If the audience is human, why aren’t they hung in towns or along busy highways?

      I will repeat that lived in the Northwest for 25 years and was out in the country all the time an never saw this. In most areas, ranchers loved coyotes because they controlled jackrabbits and ground squirrels.

      Elk, I can remember in about 1975 that coyote pelts from eastern Idaho (where the pelts are especially thick because of the cold) the market was up to $250 per pelt. This was when the minimum wage was like $2.50 per hour and you could buy a new car for $3,500. However, pelts were only valuable in the fall and winter. By January, the started to “rub” and their value would drop by to almost nothting. The rule was, the pelt needed to come in a month that had a “ber” in it…Setember, October, November, or December.

      From what I can remember of the 70’s and 80’s most did not killy coyotes as vermin because they controlled vermin.

    • Ryan says:

      YGTBFK right..
      I know a shitload of serial killers by your standpoint. You should probably tip off the FBI to my where abouts as well. I don’t hang em on fence posts, but I don’t let em walk either.

      • william huard says:

        “I don’t hang em on fenceposts, but I don’t let em walk either”. Wow Ryan- I see you have grown as a human being!

      • Ryan says:


        I don’t know how I am going to sleep at night knowing you don’t think highly of me.. 🙂 I’ve been shooting and hunting coyotes since I was 6 years old. Probably not going to change my habits anytime soon.

      • jon says:

        William, just tragic that good parents who taught you to respect wildlife, not kill it for sport were hard to come by even back then.

    • jon says:

      Larry, I just checked your blog out. You take magnificent pictures of wildlife.

      • william huard says:

        I really don’t even know what to say. The first time I saw a video of a coyote being ripped apart by dogs, with a bunch of hunters standing there enjoying the spectacle, I had a hard time sleeping for a few days. I would hear the cries of that animal and it would fill me with rage. What can you even say about people that think it’s OK to treat anything like that. I feel sorry for them because they are pathetic.

      • jon says:

        They are vile and disgusting human beings William!

      • Save bears says:

        I don’t agree with killing for fun, but this practice of calling others vile is really getting old…

      • Save bears says:

        At times I feel like we are in a religious zealot forum…the issues are real and they are important, but do you really think you are going to change or solve anything by calling people derogatory names, if you do, then you are no better than those you condemn!

    • Mike says:


  10. Cody Coyote says:

    I just hope that isn’t Uncle Durwood in the photo …I haven’t heard from him in a while.

    Facetiousness aside, there’s not much difference between this photo, a lynching, and the Meth Project billboards and commercials.

    if there is a proven value of deterrence to other coyotes by doing this, would somebody who knows please chime in ? Where I live, the only coyote ” packs” we see are the young adult littermates before they break up and go their separate ways as loners just before breeding season. All that communal howling are brothers and sisters, near as I can tell. I think hanging ’em on the fence is a message from one human to another using the coyote as medium and message.


  11. Elk275 says:

    Ever since I was young boy in the late 50’s, I have seen dead coyotes hanging from fences and never really thought anything about it. Then came the late 70’s and early 80’s and coyote pelts started selling for between $100 and $150, since then I have never seen a coyote hanging from a fence. Coyotes now sell for around $25 for a good quality pelt. I guess growing up with dead coyotes hanging from fences was part of the scenery. Sorry people but that’s the way it was.

    • william huard says:

      Trappers up until recently sold coyotes and foxes across state lines to hunting clubs down south so these “hunters” could allow their dogs to rip them apart for enjoyment and dog “training”. Trappers would make over 100.00 per coyote. This is why people get enraged when people exploit our natural resources with no regard for animal welfare- it’s outrageous. I agree with Larry people do this to coyote to extend their anti-predator sentiment- period

      • Layton says:

        I’d like to know more about this William, can you point to a place that would confirm what you say?? NO JON, I DO NOT SUPPORT THE PRACTISE (if there is one)

        Anything I have read about these so called “training” things they do with their dogs is done with something that is defenseless and can’t hurt the dog. Wouldn’t seem to me that a coyote would fit that description.

      • william huard says:

        Layton- go on the internet and put in wildlife penning. The Indiana dept of nat resources was the first state to try to put a halt to this practice. The Trappers fought it tooth and nail. Just 2 months ago Penning was banned in Florida by their Conservation Commission. Project Coyote has plenty of stories on this subject. In Florida some of the people that were arrested were found to have blocked the escape route for the coyote in the training pens, to ensure a gruesome death for that animal.

      • Ken Cole says:

        Wow, that’s really disgusting stuff I found at http://www.trainingnottorture.org/

      • jon says:

        Coyote and fox penning were just recently banned in Florida. People will speak up and write their state politicians when they see barbaric “activities” like this going on. There is no room for these kind of “activities” in the 21st century. If this goes on in other states which I am sure it does, it will only be a matter of time when it’s banned in those states as well.

    • william huard says:

      Lets be clear here, just because people in a few western states have grown up with this type of treatment as ordinary- MOST PEOPLE in this country find this behavior depraved and sick. That is a fact!

      • Save bears says:


        As I said yesterday, it is not just a western practice, I have seen it in many areas of the country..

      • jon says:

        William is indeed correct on this. Rural americans grow up very different than most. They hate wildlife specifically the ones that eat elk, deer, and moose, they hate government until the government comes along offering to help them and give them jobs. They don’t like being told what to do. The majority in this country would frown upon activities that some rural americans engage in like shooting wildlife for sport (wildlife killing contests where you win money and prizes) and hanging dead animals up to show off. There was a story not too long ago where some girl in some state found quite a few dead coyotes layed out in a line near thr road and her and others from that state were quite sickened and disgusted by it.

      • william huard says:

        Save bears-
        What you are saying maybe true. There are however, many states that view coyotes as having a role in an ecosystem. In my state 2 years ago there was public comment period to increase a hunting season on coyotes by 5 weeks. No animal deserves to be viewed as vermin, to be shot on sight-

      • jon says:

        William, I believe today is much different than say 80 to 100 years ago. Some people are starting to understand that you are not going to ever stop coyotes from entering their neighborhoods, so the logical step is to try and co-exist with them and some people don’t mind doing that because they understand that the coyotes deserve a place on this earth and should have the right to live out their lives. Don’t expect people from rural areas to understand this.

      • pointswest says:

        I think a coyote is more like to be killed at the hands of humans in Los Angeles County, California than in Fremont County, Idaho.

        Jon, William, you do not represent MOST PEOPLE in the US. Please stop spewing your deranged little dreams that you are someone’s representatives. You are not! The things you write are way out in left field in general and often are delusional or are out-and-out misinformation. WE ALL KNOW IT!!

  12. Brian Ertz says:

    ‘Custom & Culture of Death’ is right .


  13. Robert Hoskins says:

    Did anyone notice that the fence post is upside down?


    • Debra K says:

      Robert, as I took the picture, I noted the fence post being upside down. I figured it had been expressly placed like this to better display such “trophies.”

    • SAP says:

      I put t-posts in rocky ground before; sometimes the ground is so rocky that the “fin” on the bottom won’t fit between the rocks. Note that the post is bent at the “top,” indicating a person may have driven it partway in, had it bend on a rock, then pulled it out and inverted it. Quien sabe?

  14. JimT says:

    Barbaric. Useless. Misplaced statement of manliness. Cowardly.

    Interestingly, ranchers and BLM’s and WS efforts to exterminate the coyote may have actually helped disperse the populations to other habitats where they are thriving to this day.

    • Daniel Berg says:

      I’ve read that overgrazing actually helps coyote populations because small rodents thrive in those areas.

    • Daniel Berg says:

      I also thought this excerpt was interesting from the linked article.

      “Crabtree and Sheldon’s study indicates that coyotes may have a paradoxical survival mechanism. When they are being hunted — by either wolves or humans — the number of pups that survive to adulthood is increased significantly. In an unexploited population, only one or two pups in a six-pup litter will live beyond a few months. But in populations that are subject to predation or trapping, most pups survive to adulthood, according to Crabtree and Sheldon. This seems to occur because a decrease in the number of adult coyotes from predation leaves more food for the pups, ensuring a higher survival rate.”

      • william huard says:

        Daniel, if you would like to read more on the coyote, the book by Dobie, the Voice of the Coyote, is among the best. You can find a reprint on Amazon for around ten bucks I’m pretty sure.

    • Save bears says:

      “manliness” Jim?

      I know a lot of women, who must want to be men then! Or at least show they are as good as men, cause they kill a heck of a lot of coyotes..

      • jon says:

        sb, it doesn’t take a man to kill a coyote. Just about anyone with a gun can do it. Yes, I agree with you. There are some women out there that love killing coyotes.

      • JimT says:

        And it accomplishes exactly what? Perpetuating behaviors that accomplish nothing…If women are hanging dead coyotes on fences, my disdain for their actions is equally strong…

        Perhaps it would be better to term it misplaced bloodlust. :*)

  15. jon says:

    This should be of no surprise to anyone. We all know about the millions and millions of animals that are killed because of ranchers. Ranchers in my eyes are one of the biggest threats facing wildlife.

    • pointswest says:

      In a state like California where we have many suburbs in coyote habitat, I’ll bet most coyotes are killed by suburbanites trying to protect there pets and animals. Coyotes can be a real problem in the suburbs. It is a lie that people just live with them jon. I hear of people killing them with poison all the time…anyone who lives up against public land and there is lots of that in So. Cal.

      I know many rancher in Idaho who like coyotes because they help control vermin. I heard it with my own two ears. You are spreading misinformation, as usual jon.

      Here is a recent article about residents in Orange County who baned togther to kill coyotes after four pets were killed in two weeks.


      Could you just stop for one second and ask yourself why you are spreading all this misinformation? …do you have even a shred of proof behind the sweeping statements you make? …many people kill coyotes for many different reasons wherever coyotes live. You’re just spewing misinformation as usual because it serves some deep emotional purpose for you. There is no other rational justification for you to spew all this garbage.

      • JimT says:

        I lived in San Diego, which I guess qualifies as Southern California, and I was never overwhelmed by the amount of public lands in the area. Can you elaborate?

        Perhaps part of the reason Orange County and other areas may be having problems is too much push, too much develop and fragmentation which encourages contact? I know we are finding that to be true in the Denver area, but there, the counties and the states are teaching residents avoidance behaviors and preventative measures, not poisoning or shooting as the response.

      • pointswest says:

        Some public lands in Los Angeles County are Santa Monica Mountains Park, Griffith Park, and the hundreds of square miles of the Angeles National Forest. There is the Will Rogers State Park, Malibu Creek, State Park, Los Encinos State Park, Kenneth Hahn State Park, Topanga Canyon State Park and others. There is also BLM land, State Land, and some other large city parks.

        In Ventura County is the Padre National Forest, State Parks, and BLM land…lots of it.

        I am not as familiar with Orange County but there is Camp Pendelton Marine Reserve, and I think another big military reserve, and there is Cleavland National Forest. There may be some Angeles National Forest in Orange County too. I’m sure there is also State Parks, State Land, and BLM in Orange County as in Los Angeles County.

        I do not know very much about the land around San Diego.

        It is not just public land. Some private land is simply too steep and unstable to build on and so helps coyotes to survive.

  16. Save bears says:

    I will add, the last time I was in Canada, I flew into quite a few smaller airports getting to my destination in Nova Scotia and there were coyotes hanging on the fences at the airports..

    • pointswest says:

      …well that proves it then. They were hanging there as an affront to any animal rights advocates flying into Nova Scotia. It all about the war with animal rights advocates! It’s gone global now.

  17. JimT says:

    I think the point is that the practice is disgusting and purposeless, regardless of where it takes place, Save Bears.

    • pointswest says:

      How do you know it is “purposeless”? How do you know it is not effective? (to coyotes, that is; not to animal rights advocates)

      • JimT says:

        Because if all the historical efforts at killing, poisoning, etc. were effective you wouldn’t have coyotes in virtually all of the lower 48, and probably Alaska as well by now.

        And if you are telling me that ranchers are saying that coyotes are linking this disgusting behavior with avoidance of their lands…you are in essence making the argument that coyotes have cognitive abilities of reasoning and learning, and possess intelligence, and the killing of them for just the sake of it should be re-examined.

        Do you think the ranchers are really making that argument? ;*)

      • pointswest says:

        I do not know if it is effective or not. Do you? But I think it is clear that it has a purpose…besides firing up animal rights people.

    • Save bears says:


      It was simply to illustrate, it is not just a western practice…

      • Elk275 says:

        I talked with my Central Montana rancher friend this morning and ask him why dead coyotes were hung on the fence; He said that he had never thought about and that was the way things were done.

        He did say that you could shoot coyotes all day long and the next day there would still be the same number of coyotes, nothing ever changes. This is private land not federal land.

      • Brian Ertz says:

        private/public land is relevant … ? … because wantonly slaughtering sentient beings on private land is ethical – , whereas frivolous slaughter on public is different enough to point out such discrepancy … ?

        hmmm … some folk have so much unfettered respect for private property rights that their collateral association to a situation eclipses all other moral consideration …

        “by god, joe beat the unholy hell outta that dog before putting it in a gunny-sack and tossing it in the ditch … but it was done on private property, and joe did hold the water rights to much of the flow in the ditch … so, i guess we can’t really hold it against him … ??? … if it were public land and water on the other hand …. ?”

        which is to bring it around to the other consideration with respect to this photograph … if that coyote were a domesticated dog, it’d be a crime what happened to that animal … even if unowned (a point necessary to make in order to pre-empt the argument that domestic animals are only illegal to torture and wantonly kill as an extension of their owners’ private property right … which is not true in all cases …

        what makes us relate to domestic animals’ sentient experience more than wild animals ?

        seems to me, wild animals ought enjoy greater protections, when a killing is wanton, than domestic animals as they still engender a teleological attribute which ought further extend moral agency.

        the same is true of livestock, which are unnecessarily mutilated as a matter of little more than “custom & culture”, even when alternatives that cost no less and are no more inconvenient exist.

        western culture as embodied by the cowboy ~ exempt from the law that the rest of us are beholden to, exempt from the free market that the rest of us are responsible to, even exempt from the moral standards the rest of us are subject to …

        but ~ so long as it’s on private land … right ?

  18. Nancy says:

    Wasn’t there a study done that showed if left alone coyotes stabalize their numbers and establish territories? (like wolves) Has WS or ranchers every given any thought to that? Or is it just easier to waste millions killing them? I seem to recall someone also raising coyotes with sheep and after turning them loose they actually kept other coyotes out of their territory (which protected the sheep)

  19. Bryanto says:

    What this photo really illustrates is a deeper issue, ethics. Is it really ethical to have such disrespect for life that you would blatantly display a carcasses of an animal for glorification of the death of that animal. These “western” rancher,and many others, have complete disrespect for the native wildlife of this continent,and really even the land it self. This comes from a tradition of hostility that the pioneers had in coming here. Lets remember that most of them really didn’t want to come out west,and most of them came out here because they had no choice,for they were the rejects and riffraff of society in the east and europe. Outlaws,scoundrels and extremist. They saw this land,and its occupants,animal and human,as their enemy to be conquered,subjugated and destroyed. And they did a very good job at that,and what we have left is really just a broken remnant of once was.The Coyote really symbolized that war on the land,for they resisted that occupation,and fought back,and are now more common and widespread than ever,and the ranchers hate them for that,their wild untamable spirit. Sing on my wild friend, and lay waste to their sheep. Its time to give up that attitude of contempt for this land, and indeed the majority of us have,and we are sick of these few vocal extremists mouthing off about how they are such victims of oppression, while they suck on the teet of public welfare,receiving the subsidy checks and degrading public lands with their range maggots.

    • jon says:

      Wonderfully said!

    • pointswest says:

      Dreamy…very dreamy. The fly in your lubrications is, however, that they are not hanging there for humans to see. They are only hanging there for other coyotes to see and smell and coyotes do not understand symbols, or the Walt Disney version of history.

      • Nancy says:

        Google hanging coyotes from fenceposts PW. Its interesting what comes up. They seem to be right up there with hanging catfish heads on fenceposts (the bigger the better) A sick way of saying “look what I caught”

      • pointswest says:

        OK…I did that. I three hits. They’re all recent and no one really knows for sure except the recent one near San Marcos where it was believed a rancher strung several along a fence as a display to nearby residents to help him control coyotes. It is inconclusive and does not explain why the practice was done in West prior to 1960.

      • pointswest says:

        ++What this photo really illustrates is a deeper issue, ethics.++

        Which is worse…the person who hung the coyote up in a rural envinronment where it would never be seen or the person(s) who posted it on the interent where it might be seen by millions?

        For all we know, this coyote may have died a natural death. Even it it were killed, it may have been done with a very humane bullet through the head.

        What are the ethics surrounding posting photos such as this on the internet that millions of children across the world might see it?

      • Bryanto says:

        Regardless of whether they have a deterrent effect or not, they hang them as an act of symbolism. Basically saying “f### you coyotes”. Seeing a dozen coyotes hung on fence post on the side of the road next to one pasture as I have,that was the intent. Fortunately Coyotes are to clever to ever be out smarted and will probably be around long after our species is gone.

      • Oddly, coyote hatred has helped to make the animal probably the most successful mid-sized predator on the planet.

        Strong, but ineffective persecution, has caused them to spread from the Western United States to the entire North American continent. Killing off competing predatory species too (wolves, cougars) has given the coyote a great advantage. Now in New England they have combined with the Eastern Canadian wolf to form the “coywolf,” which is probably the best fit for the middle to large size carnivore ecological niche in the Eastern U.S.

    • Bryanto says:

      I actually think the reason Coyotes are so adaptable is because they have been “trespassing” for a very long time. First in the territory of wolves,and then later humans. They have always been outlaws. At least part of the reason they were restricted to the wide open spaces of the west originally was because out here they could see the wolves coming and out run them in the open, but in woods or deep snow the wolves can get them,therefore restricting their range in the wooded east and north. Also being much smaller than a wolf means they can live off much smaller prey,which is more abundant. Wolves seem to be specialized toward feeding on ungulates,which puts them right in direct competition with humans once they domesticated sheep and cows,and we know the story from there. Where as Coyotes can live off grasshoppers and cactus fruit if they have too.

  20. william huard says:


    All the points you mentioned are true. WS kills around 80,000 a year, mostly to appease their livestock ranching “customers”. It is far easier to just kill things. You would think people would have some sense, and if there are coyotes in a neighborhood like mine for instance, that it would mean you would have to put in a little effort to possibly watch your pets when they are out. That makes too much sense- just kill em

    • jon says:

      Killing them as you know William will not work. They will be replaced by other coyotes. People need to start accepting the fact that coyotes are going nowhere. They will inhabit neighborhoods and all of the coyote killing in the world will not stop that. Co-existing is the only choice and it should be the only choice. It’s a shame that some still have a lack of respect for wildlife.

      • pointswest says:

        That is like saying that killing rats or termites will not work. It does work and it is done everyday.

      • JB says:

        Per usual, the arguments here are being oversimplified.

        Killing coyotes that are responsible for killing sheep does work to reduce sheep losses–that has been established in the literature. In contrast, killing coyotes at random will not reduce coyote populations (at least not for very long) nor livestock depredations. Moreover, you run the risk of replacing a coyote who is not killing sheep with one that will kill sheep.

      • SEAK Mossback says:

        My folks raised sheep in northern California and worried a lot about coyotes. The government trapper was always welcome, even after our dog was killed by one of his cyanide guns. When she took a teaching job in Yellowstone, it took considerable time for my mother to feel at ease hearing them outside at night — sometimes “right outside”. However, they are one of those factors in this world that warrants some patience and a philosophical outlook, for your own health and well-being. As JB said, if you are not suffering losses right now, the best thing to do is put in some ear plugs so you don’t have to hear the music.

  21. william huard says:

    But that is the way things have always been done. How would Mr Grimm from Idaho WS get through the day without killing wolves and coyotes. I always go back to Predatory Bureaucracy with a quote from a former Federal WS employee: “In the heavy snowfall winter of 1971-1972, Randall wrote in a 1992 article, he and his men had shot hundreds of coyotes from airplanes. With no place to hide, coyotes were visible from a mile away. One day that winter, I killed 42 coyotes in six hours…. a state record. In one month I killed 230. Another record. Following up in the spring by digging out coyote dens, he found it was nearly impossible to find a coyote track, let alone a den of pups: the winter’s work had been a job well done. But that year sheep ranchers reported tht predation by coyotes was up slightly on the year before. It appeared that either those sheep killing coyotes had burrowed into the snow and we missed em, or it was a case of the fairy tales again.”

  22. william huard says:

    You said it right. These are norms and cultural in nature. So if you have a legislature or commission that embraces these norms there is little chance of change. We have trouble trying to understand why countries like China use Bear bile and tiger bone wine for curative purposes when they know these cultural behaviors jeopardize the animals survival. They see us as hypocrites when we tell them not to kill animals as we kill millions of animals for sport

    • pointwest says:

      The biggest threat to wildlife is habbitat loss and the biggest cause of habbitat loss is overpopulation. Why don’t you work on the Pope to condone birth control instead of beating up on ranchers and rural people!

  23. Nancy says:

    Oh please PW! Got a nice “holier than thou” Christian lady up the road from me who’s daughter just recently popped out her 8th baby ( and they aren’t Catholics) and while not a rancher, she loves that wholesome image and also has no problem shooting at anything that might interfere with her manicured gardens, on her close to a million dollar piece of property.

  24. Layton says:

    “she loves that wholesome image and also has no problem shooting at anything that might interfere with her manicured gardens, on her close to a million dollar piece of property.”

    So are you mad at her because she has kids, or shoots at things that eat her garden, or because she lives on that expensive property??

    Or maybe all of the above?? Man, there must be a full moon. Theories on ethics, morals, power trips, and sentient or non sentient beings abound. All because someone put a dead coyote on a fence.

  25. Nancy says:

    Ahhh Layton, its the “biblical” approach to her life that upsets me. The “go forth and multiply” mentality and the hell with overpopulation and at the same time, lets kill anything that would dare set a foot on her property in an area that’s abundant in wildlife.

  26. Nancy says:

    Why did you immediately think I somehow felt superior Elk? Sadness yes, but not superior.

  27. Nancy says:

    Sorry you took it that way Ryan.

  28. pointswest says:

    The human race is either going to learn to control its population or nature is going to control it for us and I do not believe many of will not like the way nature does it for us.

  29. vickif says:

    Well, I doubt this is an actual deterent. I have seen coyotes kill and then eat other coyotes. If it was a proven deternet, I say, well it is useful in some aspects. But if not, it is no better than some other lame practices.
    I do wonder about the scientific benefits. If it deterred wolves, I would say Ralph’s suggest had merrit and should have been tested.
    Here is a thought, maybe they should leaving a cattle corpse, and rig it so that when the wolves investigate, they get a snout full or pepper spray?
    I guess the coyote hanging doesn’t phase me. I have seen much worse. I would also caution people about comparing coyotes to wolves. The two are dissimilar in many aspects. Wolves don’t reproduce prolifically. To date, I don’t know if they have habituated to living in city limits. But I do know coyotes in some suburban areas are quickly losing their fear of humans, and becoming aggressive in those areas. I wonder if the people hanging out on their porch over looking the golf course would hang a coyote corpse? Doubtful. There is a signifigant difference in how ranchers do things, and urban dwellers do. I know coyotes eat some livestock, but I doubt they pose as much of a threat to humans out in the sage, as they do in the city parks in Colorado.

  30. Cody Coyote says:

    Two more items of note.

    A few years back when I resided just out of town in the exurban area with a ladyfriend at her place, the local chapter of Sportsmen for Sportsmen ( you know them as Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife ) had a coyote bounty program. They paid out $ 50 for a dead coyote. They said it was a surefire method to hammer back the coyote population that was devastating their upland game bird hunting. That was the excuse, anyway. And they paid out over $ 5,000 in bounty. One pair of yahoos were proud they bagged 105 of them as a team. The next year the bounty was dropped to $ 25 a dog, and the year after it was only paid to members of SFW.

    But here’s the net results. The coyote population suffered greatly those first two years. Meanwhile, the other mesopredators fluorished in the absence of the coyotes. The numbers of red fox especially , but also raccoon and skunk. Red fox moved in near my ladyfiriend’s place , and 5 of her 7 cats disappeared. Thank you Sportsmen for Sportsmen. There was also a marked increase in gophers and rabbits and such , and even a platoon of Magpies moved in close to the house and set up a base. All that may be anecdotal, and make of it waht you will.

    Today , a few years after the surge in coyote kills, the population has rebounded, big time. The coyotes are back , with a vengeance. I don’t live out there any more ( my lady friend passed from cancer in April 09 ) but anecdotally there seem to be fewer fox and skunk and raccoon now, and coyotes seem to be back where they were before. Reading the roadkill says much the same.

    I think I’ve seen firsthand something I have always heard…that when populations of some predators like coyotes and wolves are stressed, they respond by producing larger litters , and disperse more.

    Which brings me to my second point, an old saying in my part of northwest Wyoming:

    ” Kill a coyote, and two will take its place…”

    Sportsmen for Sportsmen , take note. It backfired on you.

  31. Mike says:

    Evolution is still at work, and one day this mentality will be a faint memory of horror and insanity.

  32. Nancy says:

    pointswest Says:
    October 11, 2010 at 11:08 AM
    I think a coyote is more like to be killed at the hands of humans in Los Angeles County, California than in Fremont County, Idaho.
    Thats an interesting observation PW considering most people in Los Angeles Co. probably don’t drive around with a loaded rifle on a rack in their pickup truck, which is usually the case in rural parts of Idaho and Montana. Coyotes don’t hang around when you slow down to look at them from the road around here because they are so use to getting shot at for being in the right place, but at the wrong time. Low flying planes have the same effect on them.


October 2010


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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