UPDATE, Jan 27: We were up at 4:30am and down on the borderlands with media today in the San Rafael Valley, Canelo Hills, and Patagonia Mountains. Saw the USDA aircraft and followed it for hours, often at far distance. It flew mostly over the Coronado National Forest, often circling, zig-zagging, and flying at very low elevation, spending a lot of time gunning in the Canelo Hills, Patagonia Mountains, and Huachuca Mountains. Heard 4-5 quick and loud shots from gov't aircraft around 8:45am along west side of valley and Patagonia Mountains. The wildlife killers worked over the Mustang Mountains near Elgin AZ yesterday. In response to rancher demands, USDA says it has killed at least 200 coyotes by aerial gunning recently in Cochise and Santa Cruz counties.
NOGALES AZ -- Bush's US Agriculture Dept. today started aerial gunning coyotes after ranchers complained about them, according to information today from an agency insider.
Aerial gunning is government gunmen flying around in small planes or helicopters, looking for coyotes, often in communication with spotters on the ground, then shooting them down from the sky with rifles. The photo here shows coyotes mowed-down and killed by aerial gunning. Aerial gunning is unethical and inhumane, sadly it is just one way governments kill millions of wild animals every year at the request of the agriculture industry. For an important history on government wildlife killing, read Predatory Bureaucracy, the new book by Michael J. Robinson, writer and activist from Pinos Altos NM.
The killing from the air is reportedly happening now through Jan 29 near the US-Mexico border, in a 30 mile area between Nogales and the Coronado National Memorial, south of Sierra Vista. Much of this scenic area is public lands within the Coronado National Forest, open to everyone if you want to visit soon and look around.
Coyotes are said to also be targeted on private lands along this border region. A large area of private lands in the San Rafael Valley is managed by the Nature Conservancy and Arizona State Parks. Given the sometimes questionable conservation politics of these two organizations, it is possible they are allowing aerial gunning or at least going along with it. It is also possible they may not know.
If ranchers want to graze their non-native livestock on public lands, they must live with the native wildlife there, including coyotes (and wolves, jaguars, etc.). Instead too many cowmen want to tame wildplaces by wiping out most wildlife and carnivores, and the feds are always there to help. Sickening. Coyotes may pack up and catch a sick calf or old sick cow, but they are too small to pose a significant threat to cattle.
Restore the land. Stop aerial gunning. Stop welfare ranching.