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New Hampshire Wildlife Killings

Jennifer Smith

Posted on August 29 2018

The recent killing of a coyote and her three pups in Portsmouth was inhumane and pointless (“Women call shooting of coyotes ‘cruel’,” Aug. 22). These vital native carnivores provide essential ecological services, such as controlling disease transmission, keeping rodent populations in check which curtails hantavirus and lyme disease, removing sick animals from the gene pool, and increasing biodiversity. As a representative from New Hampshire Fish and Game pointed out, research has shown that random killing of coyotes does not control their populations. In fact, it can disrupt their social structure, which encourages more breeding and migration, and ultimately results in more coyotes.

An eyewitness reported that one of the pups who had been shot did not die immediately, highlighting the need to add native wildlife to New Hampshire’s animal cruelty code. If coyotes had been protected, the person could have been charged with cruelty for leaving the orphaned pup to die. Reps. Katherine Rogers (D-Concord) and Timothy Horrigan (D-Durham) tried to do just that during the two previous legislative sessions but the bills failed due to predictable slippery slope arguments even though New Hampshire is one of only five states that does not protect native wildlife from cruelty.

The wildlife of New Hampshire is held in the public trust, for the enjoyment of all citizens. While Granite Staters may be supportive of hunting in general, they draw the line at practices that they believe to be inhumane, unsporting, wasteful, or ineffective. They have less and less tolerance for the random killing of wildlife demonstrated in this case, nor do they support year-round, limitless coyote hunting or the gruesome wildlife killing contests that continue in our state. Our laws and regulations must be updated to reflect the public’s increasing awareness of the importance of wildlife, including coyotes, in our lives.

Karen Mayer

Story re-posted from