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1:08 PM Sun, Feb. 17th

Letter: Let me tell you the facts of wildlife

Let me tell you the facts of wildlife

While I don't normally respond to letters to the editor in the Miner, the letter published on March 15, "With liberty and justice for all," authored by Mr. Richard Cook II begs for a response.

First of all, comparing the plight of buffalo in the 1800s to coyotes today is just plain ludicrous! Coyotes and cockroaches will still be here when everything else on this planet is gone.

I also noted that Mr. Cook says, "I am not against hunting for food, but it offends my sense of justice to kill something for the "sport' of it, or because it is killing something you want to kill."

The Arizona Game & Fish Department uses hunters as a way to control the population of wild animals, including antelope, in Arizona and we as hunters harvest only what G&F determines is the excess of the male population. That's right, we don't hunt all of the antelope, only the buck segment of the population. Female antelope are not hunted in Arizona. And the male animals (bucks) taken during hunts aren't left to rot. They are taken from the field and consumed by the hunter.

Antelope and deer fawns are born in the spring and they just happen to be the top table fare for coyotes, their number 1 predator. Antelope fawns at birth have no defense against predators, including coyotes - they don't have any scent for a few days. By removing coyotes at a time when they are the greatest threat to all of the fawns being born, hunters give some fawns, both male and female, a chance to survive to adulthood.

Now as to Mr. Cook's concern about my information on urban coyotes and the real threat to humans or pets. Mr. Cook needs to read the Miner story on March 16, Game & Fish says putting out feed for critters invites trouble by Zen Mocarski, public information officer for the Region III office of Game & Fish concerning feeding wildlife and specifically coyotes.

In his article, Mr. Mocarski says: "Feeding wildlife is not a game: it is a dangerous practice that can lead to encounters, property damage and injuries to pets."

Mocarski goes on, "I don't think people feeding wildlife are thinking about their neighbors. Cats and dogs start to go missing and people contact Game & Fish expecting us to fix things."

Also, Game & Fish has a brochure out at the Region III office called "Living with Coyotes." Here are some interesting facts on coyotes taken directly from that brochure.

"Coyotes can be a risk to people once they become comfortable around humans, usually as a result of feeding or indifference. ... In Maricopa County, eight coyote bites were reported between 1994 and 2004, and all of them were attributed to human feedings. It is unlawful to feed coyotes in Maricopa and Pima counties per ARS 13-2927, violations can result in a fine up to $500. ... Pets most likely to be endangered by coyotes are typically off-lease or smaller than 25 pounds. Coyotes have taken cats and small dogs in the vicinity of their owners and occasionally right off the leash. Coyotes have also been reported to attack larger dogs when the coyotes are in groups, or after one or two have lured a dog away from its owner."

Mr. Cook, I'm a lifetime Arizona resident and have been in Kingman since 1987. I have been a police officer, hunter, trapper, outfitter/guide, outdoor writer, and most importantly, a conservationist during those years. I think that during that time I have learned a thing or two about wildlife and wildlife conservation and feel I can speak intelligently about wildlife issues.

While I will always support your right to disagree with me, knowing the facts on wildlife issues always makes for an informed and not an emotionally charged discussion.

Don Martin, Kingman