Dear Assemblyman/ Senator:
In February of 1997, against overwhelming opposition, the New Jersey Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife enacted the first ever coyote hunt in our state. This action brought forth such condemnation from the public that Fish and Game biologist Bob Lund, quoted in the Courier Post, said "This is the worst. No question."
The wildlife in our state are held in trust for all the people, yet the people have no say in how our wild animals are treated. This was shown clearly when Fish and Game ignored the outcry against coyote killing and set forth a second, and now a third year of hunting. For 17 days, from Jan. 30 to Feb. 15, hunters will be seeking the "recreation" that comes from taking the life of an animal.
The true reason for the coyote hunting season is what Fish and Game wrote in the NJ Register, Aug. 19, 1996: "The proposed hunting season will allow for increased recreational use of the coyote resource by New Jersey Sportsmen and women."
Most people are appalled when pleasure is taken from the suffering of an animal. That is why when they are made aware of this hunt, they turn against it. They see not only the cruelty involved, but also the hypocrisy of Fish and Game. With one hand Fish and Game holds out deer hunting to be necessary because there are no natural predators, yet with the other they hand out the permits to kill the natural predators.
In response to questions about the hunt from state legislators, Fish and Game stated that coyotes may be taking away prey from other predators, such as red and gray foxes. The truth is that Fish and Game has allowed more than 30,000 red and gray foxes to be killed in the past ten years alone. If they are so concerned that coyotes 'may' be eating prey animals, then perhaps they should curtail their small game hunting seasons. In total, Fish and Game allows the slaughter of 900,000 animals that are considered prey. This excuse for this hunt is washed away by their own actions.
There are a few other facts that you should be aware of:
The most sightings of coyotes in NJ were back in 1993. In a state with a population of 8,000,000 people, only 90 coyotes were seen. In 1997, there were only 31 sightings. The fact that in the past few years few people have seen coyotes shows that these magnificent animals are not a growing problem and deserve a chance to co-exist with us peacefully.
·One of the requirements that Fish and Game has made for hunters is that they use a predator call. One popular predator call for hunting coyotes is "Puppy Distress." This is a device that makes the sound of a wounded puppy. Coyotes seeking to help a puppy will instead be slaughtered.
The salaries of Fish and Game employees are paid for by the sale of hunting licenses. This creates a conflict of interest as the state agency that should be protecting wildlife instead profits from their slaughter. In fact, Fish and Game must sell more than $11,000,000 worth of hunting licenses just to cover their salaries and benefits.
The NJ Fish and Game Council is an 11 member board that decides what animals will be hunted, and how many may be killed. Most of the Council are chosen by hunting groups, and all members of the Council support hunting. There is no representation for the 98.7%, or 7,900,000 people in our state who do not hunt.
Please, bring fairness and compassion back to our government. The authority that Fish and Game has over all our wild animals must be taken away. Animal abuse, especially that which is state sanctioned, must always be fought against, and never condoned.
Think of this: If you look into the eyes of your dog, you will see the same eyes that will be forever shut by a hunters' bullet.
Form in your mind a picture of a coyote. Her fur is thick, and her eyes are the same eyes that you see in your dog. She is natures' wonder, and she lives right here in NJ.
Now see a hunter, hiding, stalking his victim and using a predator call to lure her to his trap. He is probably using the most popular call, 'Puppy Distress', which imitates the sound of a wounded puppy. The coyote hears the call, and, as coyotes have strong family structures, she runs, as any mother would, to the aid of a child.
Hunting is recreational, and as recreation is enjoyment, the hunter takes pleasure as he releases burning death from his gun. Through skin, bone, flesh and organs the comet like projectile tears, spilling her life's blood upon the dirty ground. As with most hunted animals, she probably won't die immediately, but will drag her crippled body until the sea of pain she wades in drowns her, and forever closes her eyes. Her corpse will then adorn his trophy room, another successful hunt, another defiled victim.
This is the reality of the NJ Division of Fish Game and Wildlife's annual coyote hunting season, and this is the brutality that just took place this last month. It isn't just coyotes that suffer like this, more than 1,000,000 animals are hunted, crippled and killed every year. All this pain is enacted for the profit Fish and Game receives from the sale of hunting licenses, and from the pleasure some people get from taking the life of an animal. The truth is that the state agency that should be protecting wildlife instead profits from their slaughter. In fact, Fish and Game must sell more than $11,000,000 worth of hunting licenses just to cover their salaries and benefits.
Most people are appalled when pleasure is taken from the suffering of an animal. That is why when they are made aware of this hunt, they turn against it. They see not only the cruelty involved, but also the hypocrisy of Fish and Game. With one hand Fish and Game holds out deer hunting to be necessary because there are no natural predators, yet with the other they hand out the permits to kill the natural predators
I ask you to take a stand against this slaughter. Write to our Governor and to your state legislators and ask them to strip Fish and Game of their power over our wildlife. Tell them to bring fairness and compassion back to our government. Animal abuse, especially that which is state sanctioned, must always be fought against, and never condoned.
A coyote, like every animal that exists, is a unique being that feels joy and pain, and suffers as we would when harmed. They are all worthy of our defense and compassion.