Comment letters opposing the Utah crow hunt, part one

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The public comment period on the Utah crow hunt is taking place now and will effectively end on July 28. Here are two of the many comments sent opposing the crow hunt. Both letters were written by Utah residents and were signed, but the names have been withheld here, by request.

For how to send a comment, and for information on the July 29 Public Hearing, please see below, at the end.

Here is the first comment:

 

Dear Staci Coons,

 

Thank you for taking comments on the Crow Hunt.

 

I am opposed to the crow hunt (Rule change 657-6) for many reasons. Here are a few of them.

 

There are fewer resident crows in Utah than in any other state.

 

A look at a 2012 map by the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, a center of the U.S. Geological Survey, shows clearly that Utah has the lowest number of crows of any other state, with the possible exception of Arizona. You can see the map at http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/bbs/ra2012/ra04880.htm

 

Utah ornithologist and professor at Utah Valley University in Orem, Dr. Wayne Whaley, who has studied crows for decades, has stated that “the crow hunt would definitely hurt crow populations,” that the crow hunt is “unethical and unscientific,” that when the crow population is just beginning to grow that is “absolutely not the right time to start hunting it.”

 

No one believes that most hunters will eat the crows they kill.

 

One or two hunters in Utah may eat crows or save them as trophies, but most will not. Crows are not part of the culture of what Americans eat or what Utahns eat, and it takes decades to change a culture, it does not happen overnight.

 

Just to look at this closely – when a young hunter goes home with the ten crows he or she has killed, who will prepare, cook, and serve these crows? Will his mother do all this and serve them for the family dinner? That’s hard to imagine.

 

Blair Stringham, who is certainly an expert on the crow hunt, has repeated, both in RAC meetings and at the June 5 Wildlife Board meeting that crows hunted must be eaten. He is very clear about what the law requires, and it requires that crows that are hunted and killed must be consumed.

 

What will actually happen to the dead crows? They will most likely be left in the field, along with other dead and dying birds. If they are picked up, as is required, they will be taken home and thrown in the trash because there is no use for them.

 

This is the worst kind of “wanton waste of wildlife.” It is illegal; it is against any principles of ethical hunting, and it is inevitable – not just as isolated incidents – but on a widespread, systemic scale. “Wanton waste of wildlife” is intrinsic to a crow hunt.

 

What lessons will youth learn from crow hunting?

 

One of the two main reasons given for allowing a crow hunt in Utah is that it will provide an opportunity for youth to hunt. But what will these young hunters learn from a crow hunt that does not follow any of the normal rules of hunting?

 

They will learn that it is okay to say one thing and do another. That it is okay to break the law, since everyone else does it – and that authorities will wink and turn a blind eye. They will learn that the tradition of ethical principles in hunting is a farce and is not taken seriously. They will also learn to despise, instead of respect, wild birds – since they are killed and thrown away or left to die.

 

Is this how we want to teach Utah youth to hunt?

 

Crop depredation is not a reason to hold a state-wide crow hunt

 

Crop depredation is the other primary reason given for holding a crow hunt.

 

Two incidents have been mentioned of crop depredation in Utah. One in Perry where someone’s fruit trees were damaged by crows and another incident also in northern Utah.

 

Are there only two incidents?

 

And are these two incidents a reason to hold a state-wide crow hunt, especially since legal provision already exists for farmers to kill birds that harm their crops?

 

I have lived in Kane County for twenty years, and am an avid wildlife watcher. I have never seen a single wild crow in Kane County. If a hunter hunts crows in Kane County, he or she will not be killing crows. The “crows” he will be killing are ravens, a protected species. I see ravens every single day. Why will hunting crows be allowed in Kane County and in other counties where there are no crows, when it is clearly known that the only birds that will be shot are ravens and other black birds?

 

If the hunter who has mistakenly shot a raven turns in the raven he has shot (which is improbable), he will be given a ticket. But this will not prevent the deaths of protected species – when it is absolutely clear that ravens and other black birds will be shot during a crow hunt.

 

What steps will be taken to bar hunters from hunting “crows” in counties and regions where there are no crows? This is not a rhetorical question. I would be grateful for a reply.

 

A crow hunt will be a mistake and will have very harmful consequences.

 

A crow hunt, especially where inexperienced young people are hunting, will lead to accidents and even deaths. Crows are a hard target to hit, and it is known that when hunters swing their firearms, as they do when aiming at birds flying or going from branch to branch, they can lose focus and not see people who are in the background.

 

There is also a much greater likelihood of people doing illegal backyard hunting in suburbs, since crows frequent built up areas. There will be accidents and gunshots around people’s homes.

 

Because people in Utah are very rightly respected for being honest, above-board and law-abiding – this is not the right kind of hunt to hold in Utah.

 

It is legally flawed and will entail flouting traditional and ethical rules of hunting.

 

Because the Division of Wildlife Resources and the Wildlife Board wish to do what is right and what is best for Utah, the crow hunt should be postponed until

 

  • a proper scientific study can be carried out of the resident crow population and how it will be affected by a crow hunt,

 

  • the rule allowing a crow hunt can be reconciled with the “wanton waste of wildlife” provision in Utah law,

 

  • the rule can be reconciled with federal law and also with the fact that protected species will be killed, especially where the crow hunt is allowed to take place in areas where there are no crows,

 

  • it can be demonstrated that a crow hunt will not pose an increased danger of hunting accidents.

 

 

My thanks to you, the DWR, and the Wildlife Board for reconsidering the crow hunt (Rule change 657-6).

 

Sincerely,

(Name withheld by request)

 

Photo:  © Oliver Perez / Dreamstime.com

 

Public hearing: A special public hearing on the crow hunt has been called and will be held on Tuesday, July 29, in Salt Lake City at the DNR Salt Lake office auditorium, 1594 West North Temple, Salt Lake City, from 10am – 12 noon. Please attend if you can.

 

How to comment on the crow hunt

The comment period is for utah residents only. Please indicate, along with your signature that you are a Utah resident.

Please send a polite comment, in your own words, before July 29, to

Staci Coons

UDWR Wildlife Coordinator

by phone at 801-538-4718

by FAX at 801-538-4709

or by email to stacicoons@utah.gov

 

 

To read the second comment, in part two, click here

 

 

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2 comments
  1. >>Crows are a hard target to hit, and it is known that when hunters swing their firearms, as they do when aiming at birds flying or going from branch to branch, they can lose focus and not see people who are in the background.

    If you would ask me, this would be sufficient reason against this hunt.

    • You are absolutely right, Mordanicus. Unfortunately, people do not always consider reasons when their minds are already made up.

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