Vermont coyote hunt triggers debate - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vermont coyote hunt triggers debate

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Farmers in Addison County say coyotes have been attacking their livestock.

New Haven farmer John Roleau says a coyote came after one of his animals. He says a coyote ate a newborn calf.

"I saw that she had given birth and went looking for the calf because sometimes they hide, sometimes they keep them hidden or are lying down. I happened to stumble upon the remains," Roleau said.

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department says there are 6,000-9,000 coyotes in Vermont but it is unusual for them to hunt in winter. In the 1980s, the department stopped tracking the number of livestock killed by coyotes across the state.

A coyote hunt in our region starts Thursday and it has people fired up online. We've heard from many of you protesting the event, as well as organizers who are defending the activity.

Our Alex Hirsch spoke with the Vermont Coyote Co-Existence Coalition. They call the event a good old-fashioned bounty hunt. They plan to protest this year's Wile. E. Coyote Hunt saying it's unethical and that hunters are just killing the coyotes to win a prize.

Organizers disagree. They say they do it to protect farmers' livestock and the deer in our region.

We asked Vt. Fish and Wildlife biologist Kim Royar if that approach is effective.

"They do take deer, we know they eat deer. They sometimes take fawns in the spring, but as long we take that into account in our deer management, we don't think that coyotes have a long-term effect on deer numbers," Royar said.

Fish and Wildlife says if they thought this hunt impacted coyote populations, they would not allow it.

The organizer of the hunt said last year, six coyotes were killed during the hunt.

The hunt starts Feb. 9 at 12:01 a.m. and runs through noon Feb. 12. It takes place all over Vermont. You must have a valid Vermont hunting license to participate.

The protest against the hunt is Feb. 11 from 1-3 p.m. at the Bristol Village Green.

Related Story:

Wildlife Watch: Farmers fight coyote problem

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