Thank you for the predator story
Kadoka, South Dakota
I want to thank Shauna Kopren for the recent TSLN article on the growing predator problem in SD. We appreciate the fact that our new Governor understands the importance of predator control and we are hopeful that an independent, external, unbiased review of the ADC program, which considers the concerns of all the livestock organizations, will be forthcoming.
I believe it is important to re-emphasize that the 400% increase in coyote population levels and the corresponding increase in livestock losses that have occurred since 2009, particularly in Butte, Harding, Meade, and Perkins Counties, is of no fault of the Animal Damage Control Trappers or the excellent aerial hunting service provided by USDA/APHIS/Wildlife Services. The coyote population increase and corresponding increase in predator losses is a direct result of the decisions made in 2008, by a GF&P Administration with minimal to no predator control experience, to reprioritize duties away from predator control towards duties the GF&P Administration deemed more important.
There is no greater proof of this mismanagement than the ADC program going from 7 trapper districts in Region 1 that have been present since the ‘80s, to 4 trapper districts in 2009, then having to reinstate 8 trapper districts within 3 years due to the excessive livestock losses that occurred as a result. Region 1 is basically the western 1/3 of SD. Unfortunately, the education of those responsible for the decisions affecting the predator control program had to come at a high cost to the livestock producers in SD. The coyote population and corresponding livestock losses have now reached the point where it is going to be difficult to get ahead of the problem without a considerable increase in resources.
As further proof, according to USDA statistics, calves killed from predators in SD increased from 2,600 calves in 2010 to 5,770 calves in 2015. USDA surveys on predator losses are conducted every 5 years. This constitutes a 110% increase in calves killed by predators of which 98% were coyotes.
Many of the experienced ADC trappers could see what was going to happen with a 32% reduction in predator control services in 2009 but ignorance and personal agendas ultimately prevailed over experience. We are hopeful that a change in the ADC management structure will be forthcoming so the dedicated predator control men in the field can do their jobs as they need to.
Again, nice job on an objective article on predator control and thank you for always supporting the best interests of the livestock industry!