Division of Wildlife pulls out of coyote proposal
Columbus — Smarting from being at the receiving end of heavy flack against its proposal to establish a season on the taking of coyotes, the Ohio Division of Wildlife has bailed out on the matter.
At least for now, anyway.
“We are pausing the coyote proposal while we gather more input,” said Kendra Wecker, chief of the Wildlife Division in an e-mail to Ohio Outdoor News.
Wecker went on to say the agency has received “several suggestions we need to explore before filing an official proposal.”
“The filing deadline is (February 21st) for this rule package, and I don’t want to rush any changes,” Wecker said.
Thus, Wecker said also, “we will prepare a revised proposal for this summer.”
“We are listening and appreciate the interest and dialog on coyotes,” she said.
Wecker did not respond to a request for expansion or clarification of her remarks.
The affair to establish a season on coyotes was inserted as part of a Jan. 15 set of proposals for small-game and waterfowl hunting to the eight-member Ohio Wildlife Council, which approves such matters.
Along with the proposed season was a requirement that anyone hunting coyotes – including individuals who might opportunistically want to kill one while hunting deer or some other species – would first need to buy a fur-takers/trapping permit.
Agreeing the matter deserves further review is Jim Samuel of Adams County and one of the Council’s members.
“This is an example of how the process works,” Samuel told Ohio Outdoor News. “A proposal is brought by the Division of Wildlife, feedback is received, and then things happen.”
Opposition quickly arose, however. Advocates against the proposal said the Wildlife Division poorly vetted the matter, failing to adequately consult with hunting groups but rather looking at trappers almost exclusively.
So severe was the overall appraisal of the agency’s coyote proposal that a change.org petition was started. In just a few weeks, this petition had collected 27,000 or so signatures in opposition to the Wildlife Division’s coyote proposal.
Among those opposed to the Wildlife Division’s coyote proposal is the powerful Ohio Farm Bureau.
In a Feb. 18 update to a Feb. 5 statement, the group’s director of livestock, Roger High said:
“The Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ proposal to restrict coyote trapping dates would create an undue burden on Ohio’s poultry and livestock farmers.
“The inability to properly control coyotes by trapping during calving, lambing, and kidding could very well cause livestock and poultry farmers whose production system is primarily pasture-based to be at risk of higher losses due to coyotes.”
Consequently, the Wildlife Division backtracked and now has temporarily anyway, put the issue on hold.
Which, even Samuel says, is not a bad thing. Even though while much of the feedback was negative more than some was positive in favor of the proposal, resulting in “strong opinions” on both sides, Samuel said.
“I’m not going to second guess the Division,” Samuel said.
“I will say this, though, from all of the positions on the issue I have heard, almost everyone has a recommendation as to how (the proposal) could be better or different, and for that reason it was good to pull the proposal and get more input,” Samuel said.
According to the Natural Resources Department, a statewide hearing on all proposed rules will be held at the Division of Wildlife’s District One office on March 25 at 9 a.m. The office is located at 1500 Dublin Road, Columbus.