Fish & Wildlife Says No to Hunters, Yes to Commercial Killers
In 2019, bowing to pressure from anti-hunting advocates and animal rights activists, The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) passed a regulation (modifications to 321 CMR 2 & 3) that ensured Massachusetts will be saddled with a booming and bold coyote population for the foreseeable future. Turning its back on its traditional constituency: hunters, MassWildlife ’s politically motivated regulation changes were sold as a way to prevent so-called “wanton waste” of coyotes mainly. The new rules also banned predator hunting contests and classified coyotes as fur-bearing resources.
Only a few years after the ill-conceived regulations were passed, enter the tiny Massachusetts Town of Nahant and their new “epidemic” of coyote attacks on people and pets. Not surprisingly, the one-square-mile island town connected by a 1.5 mile bridge to the City of Lynn has seen a drastic growth in the coyote population in the past few years. MassWildlife estimates that there are at least a dozen coyotes on Nahant, which is far larger than the typical population for an area as small as Nahant. As could be predicted, this unnecessary larger population led to a mess of problems related to the habitualization of the animals including attacks on local pets and residents. All of these issues led to the Board of Selectmen holding a public meeting with a wildlife specialist to come up with a plan.
Trapping and birth control were discussed by the town. In the end it was determined that hunting was the only viable potential solution. The very thing that Nahant and the government had banned. However, the approved hunt would be done by contract killers. Sometime in the next several weeks, sharpshooters hired through the Wildlife Services Division of the US Department of Agriculture will come into the Town, stake-out a place where the coyotes congregate, like the town composting site, and pick them off in the middle of the night with rifles. GOAL would like to know who these “sharpshooters” are, their qualifications, are these “sharpshooters” subject to the wanton waste regulations, and if not, why were the regulations passed in the first place?
Massachusetts is one of only four states in the country that does not allow for year-round hunting of coyotes which, coupled with the new regulations means that special circumstances need to be found for the hunt to take place this year. Due to Nahant ’s small size, special dispensation from the Commonwealth must be granted to get around statutes outlawing the discharging of firearms within 150 feet of a public way or within 500 feet of a dwelling. The Town Administrator must issue special permission for hunters to discharge firearms within the Town’s limits to not be in violation of local ordinance forbidding the activity and the Federal Government is spending resources and personnel on something that could be handled by local hunters. Hunters, who would have jumped at the opportunity to participate in such a hunt for the good of the Town. The same thing hunters were doing prior to MassWildlife bowing to political pressure.
What good are these statutes, regulations and ordinances to public safety if they can simply be bypassed by local government for whatever purpose they see fit? In GOAL’s opinion there is no reason this situation could not have been handled by local hunters and this situation proves that the 2019 regulations serve no legitimate purpose other than to limit the ability of law-abiding, responsible sportsmen to hunt coyotes-dangerous predators that have proved time and time again that they need to be kept under close control.
The message from MassWildlife and other government entities is: Hunters Bad, Commercial Wildlife Killers Good!