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Legislators warm to ban on coyote hunting

BRISTOL — Some Addison County residents and lawmakers raised issues about largely unregulated coyote hunting during discussion at Monday’s legislative breakfast at the Bristol American Legion Hall.
Addison resident Jan Louise Ball, who lives on Snake Mountain, spoke with emotion about what she said was the “mass murder” of coyotes and bobcats in her area. She said she learned from state Fish & Wildlife officials that coyotes can be killed year-round, and there are no rules against hunters organizing coyote “derbies.”
Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife is in charge of regulating hunting, meaning towns cannot pass their own enforceable laws. But citizens can push for new hunting regulations through the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Board. The 14-member board includes representatives from each county. The governor appoints members to the board.
“This isn’t humane, this isn’t sane,” Ball said of the lack of coyote hunting restrictions. “They don’t hunt, they kill.”
Others, like Rep. Terry Norris, I-Shoreham, argued coyote numbers have been increasing and have become a nuisance predator targeting deer.
“There are two sides to every story,” Norris said, adding he has a neighbor who can’t let his dogs outdoors for fear they’ll be killed by coyotes.
That said, Norris and other local lawmakers voiced their disdain for coyote killing contests. There’s growing support for banning the derbies, officials said.
“I agree the contests are not a very ‘Vermont’ thing to do,” Norris said.
Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.

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