Ranchers Want Planes Back In The Air ASAP
wildlife protection group is calling for the permanent end of a
South Dakota program that allows coyote hunting from airplanes.
The hunt has been suspended since late July, when one of the two
aircraft used by the state to hunt coyotes and other predators was
involved in a non-fatal accident. The Sioux Falls Argus-Herald
reports Wendy Keefover-Ring, of Boulder-based Sinapu, wants the
program to meet its permanent end.
"Instead, we would like to see South Dakota livestock growers
get serious about using nonlethal controls such as bringing
livestock into pens or sheds at night, and especially during the
times when the livestock are lambing or calving," Keefover-Ring
A review of the program -- part of the State Game, Fish and
Parks Department's animal control efforts -- should be finished
within a couple weeks, according to the paper.
Officials say the program doesn't target entire species, just
specific animals causing problems for a farmer or rancher.
"The most successful animal damage control programs are those
that target the offending animals, and that's what ours does,"
George Vandel of the state Wildlife Division told lawmakers
recently. "We've been very successful in being able to reduce the
impacts of those animals on producers."
Not surprisingly, Keefover-Ring takes issue with that stance...
calling it presumptuous.
"To claim that they can target animals that are causing
depredation is probably a bit boastful, anyway," she said. "All
these kinds of programs are broad-scale, lethal killing
Ranchers counter some of the methods proposed by animal rights
activists aren't practical, or even that effective.
"It wouldn't be healthy, either, to pack them in," said Lynn
Perry, president of the South Dakota Sheep Growers. "And even if
you did put them in at night, the coyotes don't always hunt at
night. They're out there in the day, too."
Other methods proposed by Sinapu include using dogs, or
electrified fences, to keep predators at bay.
It doesn't seem likely the program will come to an end, though.
During recent hearings before state lawmakers, talk focused on
using local pilots and their planes to conduct the hunt.
"[W]e favor getting that plane back in the air as soon as
possible," Perry said. "Without it, they're in a lot of trouble out