California hunters can no longer earn rewards for their coyote killing prowess.
The California Fish and Game Commission has banned the rewarding of prizes for coyote hunting. A petition drawn up by the advocacy group Project Coyote brought the vote before the Commission. The ban passed with a 4-1 vote, becoming the first of its kind in the country.
Coyote hunting contests are popular across many Western states, with most ranchers and landowners seeing them as a helpful way to help curb the exploding coyote population.
High numbers of these predators can cause great financial loss to ranchers, as well as cause a rapid decline in numbers of prey species (like whitetail deer) that are popular with millions of hunters.
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It's been reported that California cattle ranchers lost $4 million dollars in 2010 alone due to predation, most of which was due to coyotes.
What coyote advocates fail to consider, however, is the effect that a burgeoning coyote population has on the rest of the ecosystem. While coyotes play a key role in maintaining a healthy biological system, a large number of coyotes in a given area is a threat to a large number of other species.