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Chad Love: Predator Control

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February 25, 2009

Chad Love: Predator Control

By Chad Love

The USDA's Wildlife Services division illicits a strong response from virtually everyone. The controversial trapping and predator control program has been called everything from a rancher's best friend to a ruthless war on wildlife.
 
From the story in the New York Times:
 
Conservationists argue in a new report that U.S. taxpayers should stop subsidizing a $100 million program that kills more than 1 million wild animals annually, a program ranchers and farmers have defended for nearly a century as critical to protecting their livestock from predators.

Citing concerns about the economy and the potential for a fresh look at the decades-old controversy in the new Obama administration, 115 environmental groups signed onto a recent letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urging him to abolish the U.S. Agriculture Department's Wildlife Services.
 
Here's a list of the groups that signed the letter. Note the complete absence of any mainstream sportsmen-based conservation organizations. When groups supporting a proposal read like a vegan superheroes collective (The League of Humane Voters?), be skeptical.
 
Is there room for legitimate debate on the wildlife services program? Of course, but not for the reasons given. It's fair to question the program's effectiveness at reducing livestock predation, whether the feds should be subsidizing the business costs of the livestock industry, the widespread use of poison, and the program's toll on non-targeted species. But from a purely biological perspective the ADC doesn't even begin to reduce predator (mainly coyote) populations and it's farcical to couch the debate in terms of a "war on wildlife," as these groups are doing. If it's a war, then judging by the number of coyotes, coons, skunks, possums and beavers out there it's one we're losing badly.
 
Here's the real debate:  On what level - micro or macro -  does the program work best? Should that government trapper stick to removing individual problem animals or should he be doing general predator control on large ranches and public rangeland? What's the best bang (so to speak) for our buck?

Comments (9)

Top Rated
All Comments
from YooperJack wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

With all of the hunters that go from here, out to the plains states to shoot praire dogs, I've got to believe that a lot of nuisance pests could be controlled through hunting. With the guns and lures we have, we should be able to maintain those populations at tolerable levels. This could be done, revenue positive, because the hunters would need licenses.
YooperJack

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from rob wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

Prairie dog pals? I was a real pal to a few this weekend with my .220 Swift. And what did the polar bear have to do with anything?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Walt Smith wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

The human race declared war on wildlife as soon as we developed canine teeth, took a bite of red meat and said, MMMMMM Tasty!! Then we developed fire and said, MMMMM Really Tasty!!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

Buy each rancher an R-15 VTR, and leave it be.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from steve182 wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

I believe ranchers, farmers and sportsman will be better off if the government stays out of our affairs. Unfortunately i doubt that'll happen. I believe the change is a precursor to an 'animal friendly' approach that is typical of liberals. We should continue to hunt these pests and control their populations, and enjoy doing it. Funny to hear the government WON'T be subsidizing it...They subsidize EVERYTHING ELSE!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from M1jhartman wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

I think this is a problem best left solved by the citzens who will be more than willing to do the job. Ofcourse there must be sound management, but the government doesn't need to be the one doing the work. This is one more way the government can step in when we should be doing what needs to be done.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ken.mcloud wrote 5 years 6 weeks ago

I mostly agree with chad.

I think it is valid to take a look this policy as long as it is couched in terms of sound science, not a "war on wildlife"

The best way to handle this is to hand it over scientists. (that's right, those intellectuals that our nation loathes so much) I'm talking about real Ph.D's in universities. Not a rancher with a high school education, nor a PETA executive.

Unfortunately, the democrats are likely to bow to PETA and company. However, the Republicans cannot respond either since we have firmly positioned ourselves as the good-ol-boy, down home anti-science party

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Paul Wilke wrote 5 years 6 weeks ago

Open season on coyotes in problem areas with a license of course.
Govt. makes money instead of spending it.
If more control is needed, use those millions to pay bounty on coyotes.
Support the local economy and promote outdoor activites.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from j-johnson17 wrote 5 years 4 weeks ago

As a wildlife officer in Colorado, we work quite closely with the USDA APHIS. There are some things that they can do that we can't, and sometimes we have to use their resources to get a job done. In Colorado, you don't have to have a license to shoot coyotes if you are a private landowner and the coyotes are causing you property damage - of any kind - and there is no season for them (year-round), and you can shoot as many as you like. I just think that all sportsmen (I am one also or I wouldn't be posting anything on this site) should be aware that these "government evils" are needed sometimes...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from rob wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

Prairie dog pals? I was a real pal to a few this weekend with my .220 Swift. And what did the polar bear have to do with anything?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

Buy each rancher an R-15 VTR, and leave it be.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Paul Wilke wrote 5 years 6 weeks ago

Open season on coyotes in problem areas with a license of course.
Govt. makes money instead of spending it.
If more control is needed, use those millions to pay bounty on coyotes.
Support the local economy and promote outdoor activites.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from YooperJack wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

With all of the hunters that go from here, out to the plains states to shoot praire dogs, I've got to believe that a lot of nuisance pests could be controlled through hunting. With the guns and lures we have, we should be able to maintain those populations at tolerable levels. This could be done, revenue positive, because the hunters would need licenses.
YooperJack

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Walt Smith wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

The human race declared war on wildlife as soon as we developed canine teeth, took a bite of red meat and said, MMMMMM Tasty!! Then we developed fire and said, MMMMM Really Tasty!!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from steve182 wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

I believe ranchers, farmers and sportsman will be better off if the government stays out of our affairs. Unfortunately i doubt that'll happen. I believe the change is a precursor to an 'animal friendly' approach that is typical of liberals. We should continue to hunt these pests and control their populations, and enjoy doing it. Funny to hear the government WON'T be subsidizing it...They subsidize EVERYTHING ELSE!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from M1jhartman wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

I think this is a problem best left solved by the citzens who will be more than willing to do the job. Ofcourse there must be sound management, but the government doesn't need to be the one doing the work. This is one more way the government can step in when we should be doing what needs to be done.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ken.mcloud wrote 5 years 6 weeks ago

I mostly agree with chad.

I think it is valid to take a look this policy as long as it is couched in terms of sound science, not a "war on wildlife"

The best way to handle this is to hand it over scientists. (that's right, those intellectuals that our nation loathes so much) I'm talking about real Ph.D's in universities. Not a rancher with a high school education, nor a PETA executive.

Unfortunately, the democrats are likely to bow to PETA and company. However, the Republicans cannot respond either since we have firmly positioned ourselves as the good-ol-boy, down home anti-science party

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from j-johnson17 wrote 5 years 4 weeks ago

As a wildlife officer in Colorado, we work quite closely with the USDA APHIS. There are some things that they can do that we can't, and sometimes we have to use their resources to get a job done. In Colorado, you don't have to have a license to shoot coyotes if you are a private landowner and the coyotes are causing you property damage - of any kind - and there is no season for them (year-round), and you can shoot as many as you like. I just think that all sportsmen (I am one also or I wouldn't be posting anything on this site) should be aware that these "government evils" are needed sometimes...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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