A public comment period is being held on the Utah crow hunt.
The crow hunt was passed by the Utah Wildlife Board and is now scheduled to take place from September 1-30, 2014 and from December 1, 2014 – February 28, 2015. (The relevant rule change is R657-6 adding American Crow as a Migratory Game Bird and Upland Game Bird (Bulletin p.103).)
To make your comment, please see below, at the end.
Ten reasons why a crow hunt is a bad idea:
One – no one eats crows. No one uses them for trophies. Existing Utah law requires that animals killed while hunting must be used for food or trophies. Therefore, hunting crows cannot be legal under existing Utah law.
Two – Extensive training is required to tell the difference between crows and ravens. Therefore, many ravens and other black birds would be accidentally shot by hunters who are trying to shoot crows. Ravens and the various species of black birds are protected by the U.S. Migratory Bird Treat Act. Therefore, a crow hunt would inevitably lead to violations of U.S. wildlife law.
Three – Crows are highly intelligent, sensitive wild animals – equivalent to apes, elephants, and dolphins. Many people feel that because crows live for thirty to forty years, live in families, and lead complex social lives that needlessly depriving them of their lives and causing suffering to their flocks and families should not be undertaken lightly or for no good reason.
Four – Providing “an opportunity to hunt” has been advanced as a reason for holding a crow hunt. Dozens of bird species can already be hunted in Utah. There is no compelling need to add a new species that has never been hunted in this state.
Five – Depredation of crops by crows has also been given as a reason. Farmers already have the existing right to kill crows for depredation of crops. Incidents of crow depredation which were given as examples by the Division of Wildlife Resources occurred in areas north of Salt Lake City. Holding a statewide crow hunt would not give any additional ability to farmers to protect their crops, and would kill many birds who have nothing to do with crop depredation.
Six – Crows, unlike birds that are normally classified as “upland game birds” – such as ducks and water birds – do not frequent open countryside. Instead, they are more likely to be found in built-up or residential areas. So, hunting crows would open up the possibility of illegal hunting taking place within municipalities. Backyard hunting, perhaps by youngsters, is dangerous to families and children and disturbs the peace of neighborhoods.
Seven – A four month crow hunt is excessively long. It would put late fledglings at risk of being shot and killed or wounded in September, and it would interrupt the breeding season which begins very early in parts of southern Utah.
Eight – Many Utah residents who love the outdoors and who enjoy boating, camping, hiking, taking photos, or birdwatching do not enjoy the sound of gunshots, and many people find profoundly disturbing the thought of the birds they love being killed or wounded. This negative impact caused by hunting should be taken into account when considering expanding hunting to cover a new species.
Nine – Hunting is a human activity; however, if nature belongs to any of us, it belongs to all of us, and consideration must be shown to everyone – to wildlife who have their own lives and also to our fellow human beings who value peace and tranquility. Expanding hunting to new species infringes on the rights and the peace of others.
Ten – All natural species are part of nature for a reason. Each exists as a meaningful part of the eco-system. For example, each crow consumes thousands of insects every year, lessening the need for harmful pesticides – and, in fact, helping crops, not harming them. Whenever we harm or devalue the presence of any natural species, we are harming all of nature, and ourselves as well.
Conclusion – Rule change R657– 6 is in conflict with existing state and federal wildlife law. That fact alone means that the crow hunt would not be legal. In addition, expanding hunting to a new species not hunted in Utah before, the American Crow, should not be done without an exceptionally good reason and without seriously addressing all the negative impacts that have been raised.
How to comment
The comment period is for Utah residents only, and is from July 1 through July 31. Please indicate, along with your signature, that you are a Utah resident.
Please address a polite comment in your own words, using one or more of the above points if you wish, to
UDWR Wildlife Coordinator.
by phone at 801-538-4718,
by FAX at 801-538-4709,
or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A second rule change, R 657 – 3, related to crop depredation by crows, will be covered soon in a separate article. See the link below.
Many thanks for taking the time to help stop the Utah crow hunt and save crows, ravens, and other American wild birds!
Coalition for American Wildbirds
Photo: © Jean-francois Rivard / dreamstime.com / American Crow