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A device designed to kill coyotes, injured an innocent boy and killed his dog. The M-44 “cyanide bomb” sprays lethal cyanide on any victim who springs the trap. This isn’t the first time one of these traps has injured a human or a domestic dog, either. Obviously, this incident will impact the practice of using chemical warfare against predators.

Here’s the horrible story:

Fourteen-year-old Canyon Mansfield is lucky to be alive. He says, “It would’ve been clear to see like a wood plank with a sign on it, but there was nothing.” Thursday afternoon canyon and his dog Kacey went to play fetch 10 minutes up the hill from their house. Canyon says, “I see this little pipe sprinkler type thing, sticking out of the ground. I reached down and I touched it. Suddenly there was like a pop and orange gas snooze out.”

While covered in the unknown orange gas, the Mansfield family learned from authorities it was a cyanide trap, a lethal chemical meant for coyotes. The 14-year-old describes what he saw after cleaning himself off with snow. “I noticed my dog was mumbling and so I walked over and see my dog and having a seizure. I’m freaking out.”

By the time, the 14-year-old made it down the hill to get his mom the champion hunting dog died. Mark Mansfield is Canyon’s Father. He says, “They’re small, and they’re lethal. And my son watched my dog die in minutes.”

It’s was actually the government that set the trap. The U.S. Department of Agriculture uses the devices to control the coyote population. By simply labeling the device, this accident could have been prevented. Another problem with these traps, is that they don’t discriminate. Any animal that set it off is pretty much toast, though canines are most strongly attracted to it. This is where old fashioned hunting comes to the rescue. The public should much prefer sportsmen as a means of predator control, to chemical weapons. Of course, animal rights groups will try to ban all means of predator control, while others will be too generous to the M-44. Like any other dangerous device, caution needs to be taken when these things are deployed.

 

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It’s largely a localized problem, but predators do wreck havoc on the deer population. Coyotes effect deer herds the most by killing fawns, but deep snow can also result in reduced herd numbers. That’s because the coyotes can better ensnare their prey with the snow to bog them down. If the coyotes are killing half or more of the fawns, wildlife biologist recommend that action be taken.

Predation problems are worse in the Southeast, American Hunter explains why:

So why the high predation rate in areas of the Southeast? Habitat might be the answer, as much of the areas being studied have been pine plantations. These areas often have little undergrowth beneath the trees. The pines are also planted in rows, which makes it easy for coyotes to walk the rows looking for fawns. (Anyone who has trapped coyotes will tell you coyotes love to walk on paths.)

What all the deer managers agree on is the coyote is here to stay. Many studies have determined that 75 percent or more of coyotes have to be removed from a population to cause it to decrease; in fact, in a coyote-saturated area, beta males and females actually might not breed unless available habitat with food sources opens to them.

How many deer can coyotes and other predators kill? Here’s some interesting studies on the subject:

Biologists have found that coyotes can be particularly hard on fawns in the Southeast. In South Carolina, for example, a three-year study at the U.S. Forest Service’s Southern Research Station, a 300-square-mile area, found that only 16 of 60 radio-collared fawns lived past nine weeks—just 27 percent of the fawns lived that long. Researchers confirmed that coyotes killed at least 65 percent of those fawns and were probably responsible for 85 percent of the fawns killed. Other studies in the Southeast have found predation rates on fawns to be well over 50 percent.

Most other areas of the country don’t generally seem to be as affected by coyote predation on fawns.

“Results from several Midwestern and Northeastern studies indicate that coyotes are responsible for taking, on average, 10 to 20 percent of fawns,” says Dr. Karl V. Miller, a professor of wildlife ecology and management at the University of Georgia. “This level of fawn predation likely has minimal impact on the overall recruitment rates, particularly in highly productive herds.”

A comprehensive study of available research by Duane Diefenbach, adjunct professor of wildlife ecology and leader of the Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit based at Penn State, found that in the East “an average of one in two [fawns] survives its first three months of life, which is when most mortality occurs. Predation by coyotes, black bears and bobcats accounts for most mortality.”

On the Macro-level the deer population is abundant (probably over-abundant in the Northeast) and fairly stable. Again, it all depends on where you live. However, localized destruction of herds from predators can escalate quickly, especially in the Southeast. If you didn’t bag your deer in South Carolina this year, it might be because Wiley Coyote got it first. Read the entire article American Hunter article here.

 

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Semi-Automatic firearms will be legal to hunt with in Pennsylvania. The most surprising part of this news (for non-residents) is the fact that it was illegal to hunt with semi-autos to begin with. Finally, a crazy law from 1907 has been scratched from the books

Before you run out into the woods and double-tap a deer with your M1A1, keep in mind, this law doesn’t apply to this year’s season.

Check it out (from Pittsburgh-Post Gazette):

The law does not expand the type of guns that may be owned or possessed in the state. It doesn’t make semiautomatics legal for hunting during the upcoming firearm deer season, which opens Monday. The law also gives the Game Commission the power to regulate use of rifles powered by compressed air, gas or chemicals for the purposes of hunting. The board of game commissioners is expected set a regulatory structure in time for next year’s hunting seasons.

Pennsylvania thus becomes the last state in the nation to lift a ban on hunting with semiautomatic rifles. Delaware recently legalized limited use of semiautomatics during specific hunting seasons. For the first time since 1907, hunting with rifles that are not manually operated is legal in Pennsylvania.

Where similar bills languished in the legislature since the early 2000s, this one easily passed with bipartisan support. Titled House Bill 263, it was passed by the Senate on Oct. 26 by a 40-7 vote. The following day, HB 263 passed by a 160-25 margin.

It seems like progressives could have tried to politicize this one, but they didn’t. Maybe they’re all too depressed over the election to care about hunting regulations. Isn’t it like totally racist, xenophobic, and transphobic to hunt with a semi-auto or something? I mean after all, this is ASSAULT hunting, right?

At least one gun control group was actually neutral on this common sense law. Where the heck was Micheal Bloomberg?  I guess all the gun-control crazies were still crying over Trump the day this law passed.

It’s almost disappointing that there wasn’t some kind of completely ignorant protest from a Bloomberg funded AstroTurf group, we all could have used the laugh.

Check out the new rules here and happy hunting, Pennsylvania!