About Mike Lynch

Mike Lynch is a multimedia reporter for the Adirondack Explorer. He can be reached at mike@adirondackexplorer.org.

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Comments

  1. Boreas says

    NYS and DEC need to come up with a plan for canids. Does it really matter how “pure” the genetics were in the suspected wolf killed in Otsego Co.? Does it matter if it was wild or domesticated? Do we need to spend a couple years studying this animal before coming up with a plan??

    As we now know with canids, they can re-introduce themselves as “pure” wild stock, or they can perform the process genetically. They already have done this to some extent with eastern coyotes. There is no reason why the process cannot continue – slowly breeding the coyote out of the animal, replacing it with a hybrid more wolf-like. It is more likely the hybrid will be more successful than “pure” grey wolves in the NE.

    But what is the DEC’s position on these predator hybrids? Will we continue to persecute them as we do our current coy-wolves, or will we allow them to thrive and provide realistic predator/prey controls over prey species? I think it is unrealistic to expect hunters to be able to discriminate one hybrid species from another. And what about trappers – how do they discriminate? I feel we should consider them all wild canid hybrids, and alter the game laws to create a healthy canid hybrid population that is effective in keeping prey species healthy and in sustainable numbers. Hybridization would likely select for the proper gene mix for the NE.

    Perhaps the gene mix is “perfect” now in coy-wolves, and grey wolves will never stand a chance of establishing pure breeding populations here. Perhaps they are not road-wary enough or as wary of humans. But at least if they are not shot indiscriminately, they may stand a chance of a pure population that could push out many coy-wolves or replace coyote genes with wolf genes. But DEC studying the problem to death is just kicking the can down the road. Since there will likely be no practical way of discriminating species in the field without genetic testing, I would suggest protecting ALL “wild (non-Vulpes) canids” with reasonable hunting laws – regardless of size or genetic mix. [Red and grey fox already have some reasonable protection.] Then adjust the bag limits as necessary for proper predator/prey balance.

  2. David E Shellenberger says

    The coalition calls for banning or restricting the hunting of coyotes since hunters mistake wolves for coyotes.

    My view is that coyotes should be protected on the basis that killing them or other furbearers is inhumane. This policy would also solve the problem of hunter confusion.

  3. Boreas says

    David,

    It is important to carefully distinguish between protected, unprotected, and “managed” game and non-game species in the view of the DEC. “Protecting” a species does not necessarily eliminate it from hunting and trapping. Only “full protection” – often federal or international – does that. The politics of endangered and threatened species gets even more convoluted and apparent.

    From DEC website:

    “Protected Wildlife

    In New York State, nearly all species of wildlife are protected. Most species, including endangered species, songbirds, hawks and owls are fully protected and may not be taken. The few unprotected species include porcupine, red squirrel, woodchuck, English sparrow, starling, rock pigeon, and monk parakeet. Unprotected species may be taken at any time without limit. A hunting license is required to hunt unprotected wildlife with a bow, crossbow, or firearm.”

  4. Zack Porter says

    We have 30,000+ NY coyote hunters every year. How many of these hunters, sober or drunk, can properly identify a wolf from a coyote–especially at dusk or at night? Coyotes and wolves are necessary natural predators. Where can they exist without fear and do more than just survive? They live in diminishing wilderness heavily dominated and plundered by humans. A step in the right direction would be to use common sense and ban the hunting/trapping of coyotes.

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