A Jackson Hole woman’s effort to criminalize running down and running over coyotes with snowmobiles was shot down last week by a legislative committee.

Local wildlife activist Lisa Robertson has had the ear of Rep. Mike Yin, of Teton County, who last legislative session unsuccessfully sought to prohibit killing, injuring or torturing predatory animals using snowmobiles. He tried again last week to bring the bill to an interim committee in Thermopolis, but the lawmakers declined with scant support.

Sen. Glenn Moniz, of Albany County, scolded bill proponents for grandstanding “one idiot who put a video on YouTube.”

“I think in the process of trying to fight this, we need to tell the whole story,” Moniz told gathering members of the Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Committee. “Coyotes are considered a predator. ... We have a predator board that regulates predators in the state of Wyoming.”

A native mesocarnivore, coyotes can depredate domestic livestock, especially lambs and calves. They’re classified as “predators” that can be killed indiscriminately, along with red fox, skunks, stray domestic cats, raccoons and nonpredacious porcupines and jackrabbits.

Coyotes in particular are killed intensively. The federal agency Wildlife Services dispatched 5,645 alone during 2017, the last year statistics were available.

Because of the absence of regulations, people kill coyotes with tactics typically illegal for other species, such as using aircraft, electronic calls, and, occasionally, running them over with snowmobiles. Graphic videos Robertson and others have posted online of so-called “coyote whacking” have gone viral, drawing the ire of hunters and nonhunters disgusted by a brutal tactic that belies fair-chase ethics.

“This type of slaughter is legal in Wyoming,” Robertson told the committee in Thermopolis. “Our native carnivores are exceptions from common-sense protections under Wyoming law.

“My question is,” she said, “when will we tackle this black eye on our state, on hunters and on each of us who call Wyoming home?”

Indirectly, legislators said not now, and not in this venue. Committee members encouraged Robertson to go through the Wyoming Animal Damage Management Board rulemaking process, to which she responded that she already had.

Yin also pushed back.

“I also respectfully disagree with the chairman about what we can do as a committee,” he told fellow lawmakers. “I think we can all take a stance and say that there is a line somewhere.”

Rep. John Winter, of Thermopolis, told Robertson that he thought no one in the room approved of coyote whacking, but voted down considering a bill. Only Sen. Liisa Anselmi-Dalton, of Rock Springs, seconded Yin’s motion, which meant the topic never moved on to the gathered senators.

Yin told the Jackson Hole Daily in an interview that, with the bill failing twice, he’s “unfortunately” likely going to drop the effort.

“I’m ultimately disappointed in the Legislature,” he said.

“I think this is something that reflects poorly on the state of Wyoming,” Yin said, “and letting people get away with it is really not the right answer.”

Editor's note: The original version of this story incorrectly described the overall vote of the bill that was considered. In an interim committee meeting, state representatives and senators vote separately. The bill first went up for a vote among representatives, where it garnered just two votes. Therefore the bill failed before the senators could vote it up or down. 

Contact Mike Koshmrl at 732-7067 or env@jhnewsandguide.com.

Mike has reported on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem's wildlife, wildlands and the agencies that manage them for 7 years. A native Minnesotan, he arrived in the West to study environmental journalism at the University of Colorado.

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(48) comments

Tony Rutherford

Terrence...thanks for being a good sport. I don't believe in the "we are too busy to address this legislative matter" excuse. Twice.....the fine delegate from Teton Co. brought the matter forward for consideration.....and twice folks sat on their hands. Folks mashing coyotes with snowmobiles during the winter on western prairies won't really have much impact on how I hunt in VA......but I am confident that if it were to happen here.....our general assembly would take immediate action to make it unlawful. I can assure you that VA's legislator's who sit on our wildlife committees are just as conservative as those that sit on similar committees in the state general assemblies out west......but we likely have a little better understanding of how the perception of what we do influences how difficult the future fights to continue doing what we do might be. Mash away, and good luck with your grizzly bear hunting season fight.

TERRENCE MILAN

I guess you partly get it. If you brought this up in Virginia would they automatically act and then legislate? From reading this article which endicts all snowmobilers, you get the impression that this is what people do here for sport. On the other hand you can't come up with a single incidence of this in VA or Wyoming. What we do have is an ineffective local legislator trying to get some name recognition using a phoney cause. The real problem is that we have a lousy representative. If he had a point, he could make it. He has no point, therefore there is no case.

Tony Rutherford

Of course, in VA we don't have the landscape, nor the snow......but we have plenty of yotes. With absolute confidence I'd state that VA's general assembly would shut this down in a heartbeat. And it wouldn't matter if there were any known cases in the state.....just the potential of it happening would be enough to cause a legislative change......and the directive to cause change would come from our Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. We wouldn't want the label of a state that allows this kind of killing. We have some pretty liberal hunting regs. too. Two deer a day in much of the state from Sept. 1 through March 15 or so. We chase deer with hounds to standers where they are shot. We train hounds in fenced enclosures on wild trapped foxes that stock these enclosures. We've had our share of battles with HSUS.....but we found common ground. And when that common ground was found both sides compromised, and both won. But we'd recognize that there is absolutely no upside to running animals over with vehicles just for the fun of it. I couldn't care much less that some yahoo runs over a yote personally.....but the projected perception is what ever hunter should want avoided. This kind of activity is what we need to distance ourselves from, as hunters. And when we don't take a stand against it, remain silent, or try to defend, or deflect it......we give the impression that we support it. Wyoming should have taken action to make the act unlawful. Proof of it taking place in Wyoming doesn't really matter.....the actions taken by the general assembly conveyed that they couldn't care less if, and when it does happen there. I'm not sure if the delegate is ineffective.....but he's an Asian democrat.....and it can't be all that much fun working with all the non-Asian republicans that he's asked to work with. This is simply one of those situations when you're happy, as a hunter, to throw the other side a bone.

Chad guenter

Wrongfully inciting hatred, fear, and aggressive attitudes towards a specific segment of our society, over a problem that doesn't even exist. Multiple commenters referring to Wyoming residents as "Indiscriminate killers", "scum", "psychopaths", "sociopaths", void of common sense,

Congrats Mike, you are the Donald Trump, the 8chan of the eco left, feeding the fire of hate.

TERRENCE MILAN

Give the guy a break. He's quilts of nothing more than inciting a health discussion. I don't think anyone is going to saddle up and head into Jackson to crack skull. At least, not over this. All the skull cracking in Jackson comes from over service at the local tavern. Then a lot of that happens from falling down in the street.

Chad guenter

It's called progressivism, Mr. Milan. They will chip away a tiny piece at a time until their objective is met.

Jay Westemeier

For someone who obviously reads the JHNG every day and especially Mr. Koshmrl's articles, you sure have an apparent hate for their writing style. It's a shame that the paper and it's staff aren't as morally and ethically astute as you are. I will agree that in general, the mainstream media is nothing more than a political and propaganda generating crutch for the progressive left, but I've always felt that the JHNG has done a commendable job on their environmental section. The subject matter might not always appease everyone's agendas, but for the most part, they report on subjects that matter to a large audience. If you have a major beef with Mr. Koshmrl and/or the paper, why not write a letter to the editor to air your grievances? Otherwise, switch over to the Cody Enterprise.

Chad guenter

Ms. Harger: I know your commenting policy. I do my best to stay within the guidelines. If I didn't, my comments would be deleted. Calling out political bias in "journalism" is not a political attack. This issue in particular is outrageous as peoples emotions against hunters in Wyoming have been stirred once again, over something that hasn't even happened in Wyoming. I asked Mr. Koshmrl and any readers to cite a single instance of coyotes being run down by snowmobiles in Wyoming. They cant.

Ms. Harger, my and others way of life (hunting) is consistently under assault, I wont just sit by and watch articles that "intend to inflame" the anti hunting community go unanswered. I make my comments a civilly as I can.

Mike Koshmrl Staff
Mike Koshmrl

Chad, as I stated to you below, it is not a criminal action and no reporting is required, so how exactly would we quantify that type of thing? Perhaps it's infrequent (I do not know), but obviously it happens. The Wyoming Untrapped group has posted YouTube videos of this activity that describe themselves as happening in the Pinedale area. (Some of those videos have since been removed). And a longtime Wyoming Game and Fish Department elk feeder criticized the same thing in a story that I linked to below. If you think that my goal of reporting these stories is to stir up the anti-hunting community, you're simply wrong. And remind yourself, as you read my reporting, that I love to hunt. You can think to yourself that I'm just saying that to appease you, but you'll be wrong again.

Chad guenter

typo.... not a personal attack

Engage Staff
Audience Engagement

Mr. Guenter, if you would please revisit our commenting policy, you will see a guideline that states: "No personal attacks. Discuss issues & opinions rather than denigrating someone with an opposing view." Our staff appreciates constructive feedback on our reporting and news coverage, and we believe debate over issues that are covered in our articles can be important to a democratic society. The reporter has made attempts to respond to you with professionalism and civility. Our policy does not allow reader comments that are abusive or that are intended to inflame. If commenters cross those lines, we will be forced to delete comments or ban commenting accounts. We thank you for your cooperation. - Cindy Harger, Audience Engagement Producer




Chad guenter

Do we need a law, where no instance of an activity exists????

I have searched high and low, but could not produce one of these incidents happening in Wyoming???



Can anyone provide a documented case where "coyote whacking" happened in Wyoming?


TERRENCE MILAN

Could be more hysteria based on fake news. People believe what the see on the Internet, to the point they don't ask for hard fact. Sad thing is that some state legislators are using this as the basis for legislation. Of course, that is on us and who we elect.

Ken Chison

Robertson might have more credibility if she got her analogy correct. The proper term for running a coyote over, with a sled, is called mashing. A self professed crusader for animals should know that. Comical though, is the fact that, more moose got killed out by the village these past 2 winters than coyotes mashed by sledders. Sounds like we need a law to protect moose from the village idiots and their SUVs. Google the Carnage derived from a pack of wolves when rhey find a coyote. This happens all the time. The area's I hunt are void of coyotes now due to wolves. Do we need a law for this? This is a waste of time for our legislators. There are way bigger issues out there than this. Plain and simple. If you don't like the video, don't watch it. I watched a moose get hit in town and break it's leg. Should we pass a law that no cars are allowed to drive in town during winter?

TERRENCE MILAN

I would like to see the answer to Chad's question. Is this a wide spread thrill kill issue or reaction to something that someone saw on Utube? So far it appears to be hysteria with little fact. I think legislators could respond if they had facts. However, I guess that they fear that an overshot could interfere with sheep ranchers who need to protect their stock. Not an issue in Teton County, but other places outside the leisure class.

sean henry

this is click bate for the woke without a cause.

Glenn Graham

Its not just the psychopaths that torture wildlife to death. It’s the morally bankrupt members of committees like the Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Committee and the Wyoming Animal Damage Management Board. Sen. Glenn Moniz, of Albany County, scolded bill proponents for grandstanding “one idiot who put a video on YouTube.” Why would anyone vote for people like this? Why would people like this even be on a wildlife committee?

Chad guenter

Again, I ask the author or anyone else reading this.



How many coyotes a year are run over by snowmobiles? It must be in the hundreds if not thousands to warrant this kind of coverage and hysterical outrage.



I ask because I dont know how many. My guess..... 4. maybe 3. or it maybe total all years combined the number filmed and put on youtube. 2?????

Tony Rutherford

Chad.....as a hunter who's been involved in the legislative, and regulatory process for a few decades I truly believe that even one coyote chased, run down, run over, injured, or killed by snowmobile is too many. Us hunters have it pretty good today.....but will we have it good tomorrow? That all depends on what we do, and what we think we should be able to do. I understand why so few Wyoming legislators had the courage to stand up and say this is unacceptable......but I can't understand why the hunting community of Wyoming wouldn't want to make this act unlawful. It sounds like you're ok with it....which truly concerns me?

Terry Milan

Tony this goes to to How to Present to the Legislators 101. These people represent a wide range of people and can't cater to each individual's pet peeve. Follow this script to build a case.



We the people of Teton County have a growing problem with snowmobilers running over coyotes. We have seen the population decline by N% over the last decade. At the same time we have seen N deaths in 2018, N in 2017 and N 2016. This represents a N% mortality year in and year out.



Fill in the numbers if you want their attention. Otherwise, it's just another member of the list of "What I personally don't like". I don't like the idea of running over animals just for fun, but I haven't met a single person who does that. UTube is not enough evidence that it's a Wyoming issue, it could be anywhere. Before you make a law, you will need to know how pervasive the issue is and how it could be enforced and who enforces it/jurisdiction.

Tony Rutherford

Terry.....hey man thanks for the political science lesson. I believe everyone would agree, even the members of Wyoming's general assembly.......coyote mashing is something we don't want taking place anywhere, ever? So if we all agree.....rather than be reactive to something we already know that we don't want taking place in our state ever......a more effective approach is to be proactive legislatively to the unwanted issue. No need to study the frequency of something we already know that we don't want to ever happen.....and based on the fact that we know it's happened......we do the smart thing and decide as the legislative body of the state of Wyoming that we're going to put this issue to bed before it can get any worse. Of course we could take your approach and spend the hundreds of thousands of dollars researching something we already know and agree that we don't ever want taking place in our state? Unless, of course, coyote mashing is something we're ok with?

TERRENCE MILAN

Not that I want something like this happening, but assuming that the legislature has more pressing issues on its plate like state wide budget, roads, public health, long list here, I can't see this as a pressing matter since it might not be a Wyoming matter and for all we know, might be total fake incident. Google has had its issues with false UTube content. If you surfed Utube, it's pretty likely that you could find thousands of upsetting content. Should our legislature react to every one of them, real or perceived? Real issues could be bogged down.

Long and short of it is, that the agency that had domain on the perceived issue, passed on it. My guess is that they couldn't find the reality in the arguements.

Tony Rutherford

Does chasing and running over a coyote while riding a snowmobile require the driver to have a hunting license and conservation permit?

Joan Timchak

It does not matter how often running over a coyote or any other amimal occurs. It is cruel and unethical and should not be allowed. That's just common sense and Wyoming has lost it.


Chad guenter

Mr. Koshmrl. Please enlighten us, exactly how many coyotes are run down with snowmobiles?????

For such an inflammatory issue covered so regularly by yourself, you must have a investigated and DOCUMENTED number.



How many?

Mike Koshmrl Staff
Mike Koshmrl

Chad, this is the second story I've written about a Teton County legislator's failed attempts to address this issue. Two stories doesn't seem like very regular coverage. You know as well as I that there is no licensing or reporting requirements for killing predators, and that the number you're asking me to produce does not exist. As always, I invite you to call and discuss your issues with my coverage. Still waiting on that call.

Chad guenter

There were articles separate from the legislation angle. I prefer voicing my disagreement with your agenda publicly. You cant answer the question of how many coyotes are killed by snowmobiles, how about how many videos are there of coyotes being run over in Wyoming?

Mike Koshmrl Staff
Mike Koshmrl

Wrong, Chad. There have been only two stories with my byline that are focused on the topic of running over coyotes with snowmobiles. Here's a third I found where one source mentions it in a quote: https://www.jhnewsandguide.com/news/environmental/article_c6aeb863-7b51-5e4c-875e-1c1ca906e78c.html

Chad guenter

I stand corrected about how many articles, you have written regarding an act that we still dont know if it has ever occurred in Wyoming. Exaggeration must be contagious, I apologize.

Chad guenter

run over by snow mobiles.

Steven Kardas

Has the Wyoming legislature given any thought that this depraved sick behavior is being taught to children by adults? That kids are on the scene and witness animal torture and its ok? You know folks, when parents teach their children how to be cruel and to take pleasure in inflicting suffering you are playing with fire. It shows kids a deep evil and disrespect for life. It is a small step to move on to doing this to humans. I question the morals and ethics of the Wyoming legislators. Our lawmakers can not or will not recognize evil right in front of them and do the right thing. They are just as sick.

Chad guenter

Mr. Kardas: The children of this nation are taught that killing other human beings on the other side of the planet is OK. They are taught killing unborn HUMAN BEINGS is OK.

Yes running an animal down with a snowmobile is the actions of a sick mind, but FAR MORE morally depraved acts are committed by the populace of this nation against other humans every minute of the day.



The nation is losing it's soul, this story is miniscule compared to human on human crimes.

TERRENCE MILAN

Beats letting them sit home and play video games and watch cop showes on TV. I tend to feel that after a steady diet murder, rape and violence, they are pretty much trained for the next step.

Glenn Graham

Wyoming really is full of a special type of scum.




Chad guenter

No Mr. Graham, it is not "full" of these people. It is an EXTREMELY small percentage of the population.

Suzy Sutton

Amen, beautiful state but the people....

TERRENCE MILAN

Be sure to tell your friends! Especially the ones that have Ikon passes. Colorado is so much better. Your kind of people, I'm sure.

Jay Westemeier

Suzy, I'm not defending the individuals on this forum who condone these senseless activities and then tell people who don't live in Wyoming that if they don't like it, they should stay out of their state. What I can tell you is that these individuals are a very small group that does not represent the positions of the majority of Wyoming residents. The state legislators who refuse to address this foul behavior are part of or beholden to the livestock and energy industries. Unfortunately, that's just the way it is in modern day Wyoming, just as it's been for what seems like forever. Political, economic and social diversity are pretty much non-existent in the state, and until that somehow changes, it is what it is. Try not to pigeonhole all Wyomingites as members of this click of malcontents. I know a lot of the state's people who despise these actions and who have a much more hospitable attitude toward outsiders with different backgrounds and opinions on wildlife. As it is in almost every state right now, there's a huge divide between urban and rural ideals. Neither one wants one or the other's ideals forced upon them and will resort to anti-social behavior and statements to somehow prove their defiance.

TERRENCE MILAN

Aww Jay, I'm one of malcontent "click". But I do love Wyoming, coyotes and all. Maybe I'm part of the content clique.

TERRENCE MILAN

Don't believe Jay. He's confused. Starts by saying that this is small minority and goes on to say the whole state is like this. He's speaking from experience an may have been clipped by a biler or two. I go to the Hill Climb and not one coyote was intentionally killed. Again tell all your friends and feel free to exaggerate;=}

Jay Westemeier

Obviously, Terry's reading comprehension is lacking.

Kevin Clark

Indiscriminate killing seems to be quite popular in Wyoming. Heaven forbid we take away anyone’s “rights” to torture wildlife at will. Who crafted the rules which don’t allow cruelty to animals statutes to be applied to wildlife? Did someone convince the public that coyotes and other wild species suffer less? How clever (not). Are legislators so afraid of a relatively few fringe hunters that they wouldn’t dare risk raising their ire? Seems so.

Chad guenter

Far fewer coyotes are killed in this manner in Wyoming, Mr. Clark than humans indiscriminately killed on the streets of Chicago, Atlanta, Baltimore, New Orleans etc.

And those murders aren't by a "few fringe residents", it has become a culture and a way of life.

PROPAGANDA, like this and so many articles in JHNG are designed to program the publics mind to a desired mindset for a desired result.

It only works on those that are incapable of independent thought.

The Edward Bernays achievement award goes to Mike Koshmrl.


Suzy Sutton

Yep, I agree

Jay Westemeier

I agree with you Kevin. The biggest problem is that Wyoming's citizen tax base is so tiny, the legislature and state agencies are scared to death of upsetting the state's livestock and energy industries, which are their historical cash cows.

Leslie Patten

This kind of cruelty is sociopathic behavior. The fact that Wyoming can't step up and make animal cruelty of any kind illegal says we are still living in the dark ages.

Suzy Sutton

Absolutely

Steven Kardas

The reason a person would chase, run over and crush a coyote with a snow mobile is because they thinks its fun. How depraved can you get ? The senator doesn't think its a big deal. The animals deserve death. The method is a irrelevant. God help us folks. Just pass a law that this is incredibly inhumane and there will be repercussions if one is caught torturing animals. Please. Its a no brainier.

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