USING CYANIDE “BOMBS” TO KILL COYOTES – Ranchers across the west have a difficult time managing coyotes.  Whether it’s Utah, Colorado or any other state, managing coyote populations is difficult.  There are many techniques utilized to manage these predators.  Some states use airplanes to reduce the numbers.  Other states rely completely on hunters to manage the numbers.  And some states hire contractors to hunt, trap and utilize other tactics to manage the numbers.  One technique that has been banned in the past is what ranchers call, cyanide bombs.

Cyanide bombs are basically a trap with a cyanide capsule.  A coyote will come, eat the trap, and then the cyanide is released; resulting in the death of the coyote.  These pose an obvious threat if not utilized properly.  There are also inadvertent affects, such as a domestic dog eating one of the traps.  However, they are extremely effective in managing coyote numbers, without the cost of paying a person to manage them through hunting.

Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reauthorized the use of the cyanide bombs in New Mexico.  New Mexico is one of only five states authorized to use them.  The other states include Texas, Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming.  New Mexico has also taken it one step further.  They are also allowing licenses to be issued to private businesses or individuals to use cyanide bombs.

With the ability to issue licenses to individuals, ranchers will be able to use the cyanide bombs without hiring an outside contractor.  Ranchers are effected heavily by coyotes.  Steve Wilmeth, a New Mexico rancher had the following to say regarding coyotes and the use of M-44s (cyanide bombs) on his ranch.

“We still need the devices, also known as M-44s, to kill hungry coyotes, which can cost the industry thousands of dollars a year in livestock losses. They can be a godsend at a time when many ranchers are struggling to find enough workers to meet day-to-day labor demands, saving them the time and money of hunting coyotes.”

“If you came to my ranch any day of the week … if I can’t find a coyote track within 15 minutes it would be an awfully unusual day,” Wilmeth said. “The alternative is severe. We can’t incur severe losses. Our margins are so tight as it is.”

There are risks associated with the cyanide bombs, but it is evident that they are needed.  Hunters can only do some much.  Hunting coyotes is also a very expensive way of trying to manage coyotes.  Especially if it’s the only technique being used.  Time will tell if the cyanide bombs will solve the problems faced by ranchers in New Mexico.

Do you feel that cyanide bombs would help or hinder coyote management in your state?

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