The Undeserved Hatred For Coyotes

The Undeserved Hatred For Coyotes

Have you ever known someone who is prejudiced, having a misplaced hatred for a type of person because of their gender, religious views, ethnicity, or sexual preference? Some people even have that same immaturity when it comes to nature.

It’s always important to understand the history of the place that you call home.  Many of us were raised in a sterile environment that shares little with what was there prior to our civilization moving in.  As we have expanded as a species we have pushed out competition.  This happens in the natural world to a certain degree,  but rarely leads to senseless destruction or extinction.  Every species besides humans tends to find a happy balance of numbers so that everything exists in a symbiotic circle of life.  In the real world (what I call nature), if you pull something out, it leads to problems in other areas.  There is always a give and take that, regardless of how harsh it sometimes appears, works.  Humans, on the other hand, have struggled with this concept as far back as the dawn of civilization.  In today’s modern society, though the percentage of enlightened folks increase every year, the mindless acts of some individuals towards nature still exist.  Perhaps our relationship with the coyote provides a good example.

Coyotes, though originally not widespread throughout the entire United States, expanded eastward and westward from the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains filling the void left after the wolf was hunted to extinction.  So when someone from the east coast says that coyotes don’t belong there, they don’t realize that their larger cousins the wolves used to run through their backyards.  That is how nature works, and there is no better proof that predators have a place and a purpose than when nature, without the help of humans, attempts to fill such a void and restore balance. If such predators did not belong there, they would eventually die of starvation and the population would not grow and expand. Like all animals (humans included) predators are opportunists. If they are hungry and there is an easy meal available to them, they will attempt to take it. Just because some people don’t understand nature and are brainwashed in the sterile environment of civilization, doesn’t mean that nature is going to leave them alone. Nature is always looking for a way in, to take back territory that was once theirs. You cannot stop nature. You can only delay it. So, if someone leaves their little genetically mutated canine pet out in their yard, or some form of livestock on their ranch, without any protection, don’t be surprised if something like a coyote takes advantage of the easy meal. This does not make the coyote wrong, evil, or a pest. This makes the coyote natural, and the guardians of  those animals unprepared and naive. The lazy solution of protection is to exterminate the coyote, but it’s not an appropriate response, or even a moral one.  Non-lethal options exist, and they have for thousands of years.  It is possible to live in harmony with nature, harvest what you need, yet not upset the balance.  Many so-called uncivilized cultures from our past were somehow wiser than our civilization and succeeded where we continue to fail.

Coyotes, and other similar predators, are an essential part of the ecosystem.  The greatest benefit to the environment is their ability to prevent the overpopulation of rodents. Dwindling populations of predators in Europe in the Middle Ages led to increased numbers of rodents and contributed to the spread of the bubonic plague from the fleas that the rodents carried. The human death toll from the Black Death is estimated between 75-200 million. Relentless hunting of wild predators no doubt did not help this, but the persecution of domesticated cats during this time due to their ridiculous perceived ties to witchcraft certainly enabled the rodent population to explode.  In the end, our ignorance got the best of us.  More than 600 years later, there are still people who haven’t learned. While I find great joy whenever I get a glimpse of a coyote, undeserved hatred and unrestricted hunting of this canine is widespread.

It is estimated that 400,000 coyotes are killed annually in the United States.  Why prey animal hunting is highly regulated yet coyote killing requires no license and has no limits speaks loudly to the incompetence of state wildlife agencies still answering to archaic ranching mentality and promoting the uneducated view that coyotes are nothing more than pests.  The modern, educated, evolved view of all wildlife is one of equal respect.  Nature creates what is needed and many in our society continue to prove they do not have the wisdom to judge what has value and what doesn’t.  It’s a sad commentary of our maturity as a society knowing that there are stalwarts out there that refuse to see the coyote in any light beyond that of a gun sight.