Originally Posted by manta
Yes and i would have no hesatasion shooting somthing atacking the dogs. But i wouldint shoot everything that might atack my dogs just incase.
Manta, let me start by saying that I respect your opinion, and I ask nothing more of you than to extend the same courtesy to me. Contrary to popular belief, most of us that hunt do not do so for the sake of killing, or killing for no reason. I have shot many coyotes and woodchucks in the area I live in. It is how I pay for the leases on the land my family hunts on. A little background.
20 years ago when my family moved up here, we made friends with several dairy farmers and horse owners. As a result we have about 2,000 acres of hunting land at our access, and the cost each year is to help with planting and harvest work, and to keep the predator populations in check. It also includes policing the pastures for groundhogs and other burrowing rodents. Let me try to explain why.
If a groundhog burrow gets stepped in by a horse, especially at a full run, that horse may have to be put down due to a broken leg, not to mention what it could do to the rider. If it is not put down, there is a good chance that it will be lame for life. If the horse has to be put down, you lose the money that has been spent on that horse and any future generations it would have sired or birthed. This can be devastating to the owner's of said horses, not only emotionally, but also financially. If the horse is from a premium bloodline, you could be talking about a few hundred thousand in losses.
When it comes to beef or dairy farmers ( we have a lot in my area, including several amish families), you also have to take into account the loss of the revenues from the sale of beef and dairy products from generation 1 to every subsequent generation after that. Coyotes are not picky, they will go after an injured horse or cow, a new born calf, or they are just as happy to raid the chicken coop. I don't know how many farmer;s you know, but I don't know a single one who is rich from his or her chosen career. If you know any farmers who have a farm that is not running in the red, listen to them and take notes. They are few and far between.
I generally do not hunt what I will not eat, but for certain species I do make an exception. Coyotes and groundhogs are 2 of them. In addition to the loss of livestock, the coyote population out here has managed to thin out the whitetail deer populations in this area, as well as most of the smaller huntable rodent and bird populations in some of my old hunting spots. I have seen them kill fawns, cats, medium sized dogs, and wild turkeys many times over the years. As a result, lands that my family members have hunted for generations, are not the hunting spots they once were. The non-predators have moved to other areas to try to get away from the coyote packs. The coyotes then follow then into more densely populated areas, and this puts the general public at risk.
10 years ago I lived in a small city on Lake Erie, and over a 12 year period I almost hit 5 coyotes, and 4 deer running out of people's back yards, on to major roads within said city. I hit 3 deer within 2 miles on my home in a 4 year period. Add to that almost a dozen coyotes in that same 4 years. I will give them one thing. The number of stray cats and dogs declined drastically over the time that I lived there. Just imagine what a large pack of wolves could do in a city of say, 15,000, or within a 5 mile area that is primarily farms with livestock. Not something I would like to see.
Now, I do have some recipies for fox, skunk, coyote, possum, and several other animals that most folks would think of as inedible (anyone up for raccoon fondue? It's not that bad really.) Bear burger is one of the main ingredients in one of my best chilli recipies, and I have some great marinades that I soak the steaks in for 48 hours before cooking them. Point is, I, like most of the hunters I know, don't hunt "just to kill". I hunt for the meat when it is possible, and I hunt for predator control and to help keep the herds at an appropriate size for it's own ecosystem. The remains from any animal that I shoot but do not eat does not go to waste. it gets used as bait on the next hunt, or it gets buried on some of the pasture land where it break's down and goes back into the soil over time. In other words, worms and other scavengers have got to eat to.
There is also a certain rush in hunting predators. To know that if you mess up the shot, you could very well get severely injured or killed gets the heart pumping like few other things can. On the other side of the coin, predator hunting is much more challenging than hunting the usual prey animals. They are hard wired to spot traps and ambushes, which means you have to outsmart something that survives by hunting. It's something that everyone who hunts should try at least once. Success will make you a better hunter, and every time you go afield you learn something new. Just some food for thought.