RE “THEY shoot coyotes, don’t they?’’ (G section, Jan. 10): While Alex Beam’s tongue-in-cheek style often works well, using it to discuss confrontations between coyotes and Massachusetts residents makes for irresponsible journalism. His fantasy of shooting coyotes and geese “Elmer Fudd-like’’ takes the issue too lightly, and his apparent desire to exterminate coyotes in the state is not far from the attitude that led to past species extinctions.
What’s more, coyotes, which are about as large as medium-sized dogs, are quite shy with humans, and unlikely to have been “threatening people all over Boston,’’ as Beam claims. While they can attack pets, coyotes’ diets mainly consist of fruit, insects, and small animals such as rodents and snakes, whose populations they help keep in check.
Further, box traps are not the only tools that can be used against coyotes. If a coyote becomes a “problem animal,’’ that is, an immediate threat to humans, animal control officers can shoot it with a firearm or traditional archery equipment. The reason so many box traps are used is that coyotes rarely do represent a genuine threat to humans.
Coyote-human conflicts are much easier to prevent than they are to resolve, and prevention tips are available on many wildlife organizations’ websites.