In recent years, coyote snaring has become acontroversial topic in Maine. Proponents say that snares decrease the number ofcoyotes, which is an outright lie, and also that snares are not a threat tonon-target species, another common misconception. In fact, snares kill many otherspecies, including lynx, bald eagles and deer - the very species that trappersare attempting to "save."
Trappers argue that they are helpingdeer by keeping coyotes at bay. If coyotes ever were a threat to the deerpopulation - which they never were, I can assure you - then their remarkableadaptation to increase the number of pups in a litter when threatened, would doomthe entire deer population. Of course, the idea of coyote eliminating deer ispreposterous. Coyotes primarily eat rodents. The deer they do kill are ill orelderly and would not survive another winter.
Snares are stranglingdevices: wire loops contract over an animal's neck and cut off the flow of air,strangling the animal over a number of days. Snares have also been known to stopthe jugular vein from eliminating used blood, while the artery continues tosupply the brain with blood. The animal's head swells until excruciating pain ora rupture in the brain finally ends the animal's torture.
Every year thestate spends $20,000 on the snaring program, money that could be much betterused. I say, let nature take its course and see how things work out. Trappers aresnaring coyotes because they think they are killing "their" deer, butout of 100 snared coyotes, only four had deer contents in theirstomachs.
In parts of Maine, the deer population is declining. This couldhave nothing to do with coyotes and instead be a result of the fact that deerhave trouble finding cover in the harsh winters, as well as that Maine is thenorthernmost range for white-tailed deer. In other areas of the state, however,the deer population is overabundant, and potentially posing a threat to theirsurroundings.
If anything, coyotes help the deer species by killing thesick and giving hunters and trappers better prospects. They help keep diseasefrom spreading through the deer population. If anything, coyotes are the saints,not the sinners.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.