Testimony By Christine Schadler, M.S.

Mr. Scott Mason, Executive Director, NHF&G; NH F&G Biennial Wildlife Rulemaking, 2022

Dear Mr. Mason and Commissioners:

For the last 40 years or so I have researched Eastern coyotes throughout the northeast. Tracking these animals, I have studied their territories, their associations with other predators such as bobcat, fisher and fox and their use of backyards, farms and suburban environments.

Hunting coyotes 365 days a year and at night during their mating season singles these animals out as the only furbearer without a reprieve from being hunted. As ‘the guardian of the state’s fish, wildlife, and marine resources’, what values are imparted by NHF&G? By your own website, ‘coyote management attempts … designed to reduce their population numbers, (fail) due to their fecundity, behavior and adaptability. ‘So how can unrelenting hunting pressure be even remotely considered ‘guarding or conserving’ this species? We carry on the archaic approach of the West by allowing unrelenting killing. Other New England states have more enlightened coyote management standards. We can do better.

As a former sheep farmer, the welfare of my own livestock depended on my understanding coyote ecology and behavior. I adopted co-existence strategies on my farm and over 18 years I used no lethal control to deter coyotes and never lost a lamb or adult sheep. The abundant research on coyotes shows that lethal control does not ‘control’; killing coyotes has never resulted in any meaningful decrease in coyote numbers. Furthermore, random killing disrupts the social structure of a pack which allows younger coyotes to breed; these animals frequently have larger litters and thus more hungry mouths to feed. Thus, more hunting = more coyotes. As someone invested in livestock, more coyotes competing for prey would be counter-productive to my goals.

For a creature that responds to its own population decreases by increasing its reproductive output, killing them never has nor never will control them. This is well understood. Instead, treating coyotes as a valuable predator and managing the species using science, just may result in fewer coyotes and a
stable population. This result would be preferred by the farming community and would indicate that NHF&G can live up to its own mission to ‘protect and conserve’ our wildlife. I would like to see a hunting hiatus from April to September to respect their right to raise their young.

And to make matters worse, wildlife killing contests occur precisely when coyotes seek mates and care for young. This activity has been described by your own biologist as “March Madness – because hunters need something to do at that time of the year”. As a supposed conservation measure, this is deplorable. Chasing coyotes with snow machines to exhaust them and then run them over or hounding by dogs who run them to exhaustion, attack them and destroy them is not hunting. Others use electronic calls or bait using a curious instinct to a deadly advantage is not hunting either. Once the animals are weighed and hunters awarded, coyotes are discarded in the woods as trash. This is Wanton waste which is neither responsible nor ethical management of wildlife.

We can do better. I request that the F&G Commission do better and adopt reasonable rules and regulations for the true conservation of this species. I also request the elimination of killing contests.


Christine Schadler, NH Wildlife Coalition