Dear Members of the Utah Wildlife Board,
Thank you for taking comments on the proposed crow hunt. I am a resident of Southern Utah and oppose the hunt. I have read a sample letter that is being suggested for use in this correspondence. I agree with all the points in the letter, but I would like to add additional thoughts of my own.
Before I go into my own thoughts I want to address one of the points in the sample letter that I believe is the strongest argument against the statewide hunt. I am honestly at a loss in trying to understand why this hunt would be allowed to take place throughout the state. As is stated in the sample letter if a farmer has an issue with crows destroying crops then the farmer can obtain a depredation permit and take measures to resolve the problem. Why should anyone else be allowed to kill the birds?
The attempted eradication of a species is rarely successful unless that species inhabits a desolate island. If crows that inhabit farmlands are killed then more will be produced because the competition for food has temporarily become lessened. More crows will migrate to the area where the population has dropped because there will be more to eat. This effect has been observed over and over again in areas where species were culled.
Please look into the term “trophic cascade”. It’s used to describe how any increase or decrease in a species will affect every other species it interacts with. In an article published by the Humane Society of the United States it states: “A crow family can eat 40,000 grubs, caterpillars, army worms, and other insects in one nesting season. That’s a lot of insects many gardeners and farmers consider pests. These good environmental citizens also transport and store seeds, thus contributing to forest renewal. And their habit of eating carrion makes them part of nature’s cleanup crew”.
In the absence of crows the trophic cascade would include an increase in insects that decimate crops as well as an increase in other bird species like Blackbirds and Starlings, both of which feed on farm crops. I believe the increase in those species could prove to be much more damaging to farm crops than the present populations of crows.
Please consider alternatives to allowing the statewide crow hunt. Work with the concerned farmers to come up with non-lethal ideas – like the use of pyrotechnics, recorded crow distress signals, lasers designed to harass the birds, or other ideas that might be learned through contact with other states that have worked with the problem. Killing the birds will not resolve the issue, and allowing open hunting of the birds throughout the state is truly unnecessary and inhumane.
Thank you for taking time to read this letter.
Southern Utah resident (name withheld by request)
Photo: ID 21261238 © Mersant | Dreamstime.com
To read the HSUS article mentioned above, click here.