I have read many threads in this section w/ interest, but never posted yet. So this is my first.
I am not intending to participate into the debate that raged above - I am not much of a hunter, but I understand the fun of it - I am not a rancher, but I understand the pressures it puts on you. One argument, however, that cannot be used, is to mention that coyotes put pressure on herbivore populations. The same argument has been used in Canada, in the Northwest Territories, about the wolf and the caribou. This argument has been proved many times to be totally unfounded, in many different ways. The simplest and fastest one is to remember that, before Europeans came to America, there was low hunting pressure on carnivores by man, and there was high pressure on herbivores by man- yet the balance btween the two was excellent. So there is no way we can say that, if carnivores THEN were not putting excessive pressure on herbivores, NOW they do, when there are many fewer carnivores, and, in many cases, many more herbivores (deer population estimate, 1776, under 1M- 1996, over 11M).
In other words, it is pretty much impossible for present day carnivores to exert overly significant pressure on overall herbivore populations. What causes herbivore populations to go extinct is either 1) sudden, drastic, new epidemics (e.g. rabbits and myxomatosis, often released by man) and 2) man. Without us the world is pretty much in balance.
Btw, for the Northwest territories, the final culprit for caribou herd decrease turned out to be... man.
As I said, I don't mean to be a part of the debate- only to intervene on this point alone. No flames please!
[This message has been edited by mckysdad (edited February 14, 2000).]