Animal Rights Group Pushes For More Coyotes

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Valley Forge National Historical Park has a deer problem with an estimated 1277 deer in the 3500 acre park. The high deer count has lead the park (like other National Parks) to bring in sharp shooters to reduce the numbers, currently the plan is to bring the head count down to around 185. That was the plan at least until the Pennsylvania chapter of Friends of Animals filed a lawsuit to stop the deer shoots.

According to the Washington Post, the lawsuit contends that park officials did not fully consider the role of natural predators - specifically coyotes - in maintaining a stable deer population. The Friends of Animals even came up with a campaign called the Coyote Coexistence Initiative to help promote the idea of coyote introduction to the park.

Valley Forge National Park is located northwest of Philadelphia as can be seen on this google map. Due to the high population density, the article notes there are more than a few skeptics of the Friends of Animals inititiave.

"It's a laughable idea," said Bruce Davis, who lives at the edge of the park in Tredyffrin Township. "We have pets and small children in that neighborhood. And plenty of adults who would be frightened by coyotes. . . . Even if they're only interested in the deer, there's 10 deer in my yard every night."

Mark O'Neill of nearby Bryn Mawr, who regularly visits the park and deplores the damage done by deer, wondered if coyotes would even bother with deer, given the smorgasbord of nearby household pets. "Fifi the dog and Fluffy the cat are much easier to eat," he said.


jaybe's picture

What a crazy idea (IMHO). To

What a crazy idea (IMHO). To actually introduce more predators in order to control the deer population! If there's one thing that a bedroom community to a large city does not need, it's a bunch of coyotes. The people who commented on their concerns for their pets and children are absolutely right. I used to live in a farming area, and the people around there could not let their pets out at night - even to relieve themselves - without going out with them with a strong light. Coyotes would hang around the edges of their yards looking for anything that was edible - from the mice that liked to be around the corn bin to the cats in the barn that were there to control the mice. Just as the article said, when Fifi or Fluffy came out after dark, they were very quickly dispatched by the clever coyotes.

I guess I can see the fish and game people bringing in sharpshooters to control the deer numbers. As a hunter, I would prefer to let licensed hunters do it, but I understand that they might not be quite as careful and selective with their shots as someone who more or less does this for a living.

It will be interesting to see how this all turns out. But I sure hope that the Friends of Animals doesn't win this one. Importing a bunch of coyotes into an area such as that could really spell disaster for the people living in the community. Oh, that's right - I forgot. People aren't as important as animals to groups like that, are they?


ecubackpacker's picture

Everybody is spot on with

Everybody is spot on with their views about this situation, except maybe CVC. I think he's been spending too much time on his computer because his letters are blurring together....wolve and coyote...the only resemblence between the two words is the fact they both have o's and e's in them...take a break, CVC...Hahahaha

Yea, the only think the coyote will do is cut down on recruitment or fawn surivorship, whatever the term is...I'm sure Hawkeye will let me know.

A study being conducted by a researcher at on of the Universities in the south brought to light the effects coyotes can have on deer fawn survival. The researcher place a gamecamera at the entrance to a coyote den...during a two week period, the coyotes brought 19 fawns back to the den site...that will put a hurting on the recruitment of fawns.

Once the coyote numbers explode from feasting on the deer fawns, then their attention will shift to the neighborhood cats and dogs....and quite possibly small children when the coyotes get desperate. After the boom, the coyotes will start to die off from mange and disease...but that's ok to these "animal activists" because it isn't the pretty deer suffering. What a joke? But clearly it isn't a joke because these nut-jobs are gaining ground on the way the states manage it's wildlife.


Ca_Vermonster's picture

Coyotes, seriously???? 

Coyotes, seriously????  :lol:  Unless the deer is sick, or they are stuck in a deep snow pack, there is very little chance of a coyote bringing down a full grown deer.  The best way to handle this is to allow controlled archery hunting.  They could charge hunters $$$$ and raise a little cash for the town.  Instead, they will end up spending a bunch of money to have a sharpshooter kill them.

Too bad really.

gatorfan's picture

Proof is in the putting!

Proof is in the putting!  This just proves the fact that managed hunting is good!  Had they allowed a few archery hunts every year in the park, they would be able to manage this deer population! Can you imagine hunting where the average was one deer for every 2.7 acres?  I wonder if they even considered archery; it isn't mentioned in the article.

It seems that the tree huggers can't pick their poison.  You usually hear them say that we should let nature take its course in situations like this. But, now that their park is being destroyed by an un-managed and overpopulated deer herd, they want to introduce a predator (or more in this case).  The irony, in my opinion and using there philosophy, is that if there are already coyotes in the area, you would think that the coyote population would naturally expand if there are that many deer available.

The comments from the people that are concerned about the coyotes targeting young children and pets are probably right on!  Those coyotes would be more apt to go after an easier meal than they would try to take down a mature deer.  In the spring, they would, however, target the fawns.  Can you imagine the first time one of these pea-brains visits that park in the spring and witnesses a pack of coyotes track and maul a little spotted fawn?  Me thinks they might change their mind (but it would be too late).


hawkeye270's picture

Well this article doesn't

Well this article doesn't even mention wolves... they are talking about using coyotes to reduce the deer population. Which by the way is a pretty rediculous solution. Yes, coyotes will take some of the fawns in the spring and the occasional diseased or old deer but they are not going to reduce that deer herd to acceptable levels. That is crazy.

To speak to your idea that wolves will kill "every last deer". That is not how things work. All you have to do is look at the trapping logs from the Hudson Bay Company to find that out. Predator and prey populations cycle with the abundance of the predator population mirroring that of the prey population but at a lower level and a few time steps behind the prey population. When the prey population has been brought down below the threshold that the predator can support its population needs than the predator population declines and the prey population responds.

Wolves aren't going to "kill every last deer or elk"... although they can put a really nasty ding in their populations like we have seen in Idaho. THAT IS WHY THOSE WOLF POPULATIONS NEED TO BE MANAGED (HUNTED AT THE RIGHT LEVELS) IN ORDER TO KEEP A BALANCE SO THAT HUMAN OPPORTUNITES AREN'T AFFECTED AS MUCH. We can strike a good balance with the presence of wolves. But the states have to be able to manage them before that happens.

CVC's picture

Geez hawkeye, do you take

Geez hawkeye, do you take everything I say seriously? :)  Yeah, I typed wolves by accident, should have been coyote and for killing all the elk and deer, it was a bit of hyperbole.  No, they will not kill every last one, but they will significantly reduce the population.  Regardless, it is not a good idea.

CVC's picture

I might be accepting of the

I might be accepting of the wolf idea if it had one condition - a predetermined limit on the number of wolves and when the herd exceeded the number they would be hunted to reduce the population.  Wolves are natural predators, but they don't stop hunting when the deer population is at the proper level.  They will continue to hunt until every last deer is gone.  Experience with elk herds should be proof enough of the damage that the wolves can do.