In Support of Wildlife Services
Predator management is a constant and critical part of sheep production across the United States. Without active management, predators will "eat the sheep farmer out of operation."
There is no question that coyotes are the dominant predator to conflict with livestock production in the United States, particularly sheep and especially lambs. Coyotes are so numerous that states typically have no season nor limit on harvest from hunting. Trapping generally involves a season outside of the wildlife regulations allowing coyotes to be taken as a pest or danger to transportation, health or property damage.
Coyotes kill for a living. There is no magical way to train a coyote to not like the wonderful taste and tenderness of lamb.
While hunters and sportsmen harvest far more coyotes nationwide than the predator control program, effective predator control is not about taking predators but rather about the timing of protection of livestock. Predator control is most critical in the spring, for example, while the ewes are giving birth and nursing young lambs. This, however, is opposite the time of year when sportsmen are interested in hunting coyotes for fur.
Animal rights advocates criticize the professional wildlife managers of state, county and federal government as well as the private landowners for programs designed to mitigate the damage caused to agriculture by publicly owned wildlife.
The sheep industry actively supports wildlife damage management because it is absolutely crucial to protect our animals from the wasteful death and injury caused by predators. Secondly, sheep producers, like cattle producers, are among the largest private landowners in America and provide a tremendous portion of the total habitat for wildlife in this country. Therefore, managing the damage and conflict from the public owned wildlife on our land (leased or owned) and livestock is a continual balance of land stewardship and animal health.
Agriculture landowners, county and state governments and sportsmen support professional wildlife management. This management frequently means finding solutions to conflicts; yet animal rights activists argue that the federal government should have no role in wildlife damage control. They argue against management tools for use in mitigating damage caused by wildlife.
The sheep industry is proud to help feed and clothe the people of America and of the world. In return, it asks for the federal wildlife management to continue to share the responsibility of damage control with state and local government and landowners and operators.
Animal rights advocates criticize the federal role in the control of the Canadian wolves re–introduced into Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. Yet, they fully supported the role the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) played in mandating the re–introduction of the wolf. In other words, according to the animal rights advocates, it is apparently fine for there to be a federal role (USFWS) to mandate the re–introduction, however, professionals from the USDA Wildlife Services should not be used by USFWS to address the problem animals.
It would be poor public policy for the federal government to not provide professionals to assist with the damage caused by wildlife.
The documents and materials on this Web site are provided to clarify the need for predator management and effective predator control tools.