Letter: Coyotes have role, hunting contests don't
To the editor:
I am writing regarding Gene Chague's comments on coyote hunting ("Apprehensions abound over proposed coyote hunting regulations," Eagle, Aug. 4) and to endorse MassWildlife's proposed prohibition on hunting contests for all fur-bearing animals, but especially hunting contests involving coyotes.
Coyotes are already subject to a very long hunting season in Massachusetts, and from my perspective of a person who has lived for a long time in rural Hancock, the wonderful howling of the coyote packs has diminished significantly in the last 10 years. Commensurately, an incredibly large increase in the deer population has taken place over that same period of time. During the winter of 2018-19, our Christmas trees were browsed almost back to the trunks of the trees. I know this has happened to other Christmas tree growers, too.
The balance of the deer herd to coyote packs must be maintained in Massachusetts. Wanton waste in hunting and hunting contests go hand in hand, allowing and encouraging hunters to disrespect the wild lands and wild animals of Massachusetts. Hunting contests simply invite waste and cruelty, and are not at all in keeping with good principles of wildlife conservation.
Many other states have banned hunting contests with good reason. Massachusetts leads in so many other areas; it should also be a leader in this particular area of wildlife conservation.
Meredith G. Cochran,
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