The Arizona Game and Fish Department is proposing to allow the Game and Fish Commission to include night hunting of coyotes and mountain lions in its hunt orders.
The Commission rejected a similar proposal in 2002 at the recommendation of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, and many individual biologists who worked for the Department at that time.
We need to send a clear message that Arizonans think this is a bad idea that should be rejected.
Night hunting poses public safety concerns, as it is difficult to identify target species in darkness. This can put campers, hikers and their pets at risk.
Night hunting will make it more difficult for law enforcement to identify poachers, and is likely to result in the shooting of more non-target species, including endangered Mexican gray wolves as well as domestic animals. It will also continue a disturbing anti-predator trend at the state’s wildlife agency.
We the undersigned request that the Arizona Game and Fish Commission reject the proposed rule to allow night hunting of mountain lions and coyotes.
Night hunting poses public safety issues. It will be much more difficult for individuals to identify target species in the dark of night. This can risk the safety of those camping or hiking in these night hunting areas, not to mention risking protected species such as wolves and domestic animals, especially dogs.
Allowing night hunting also will make it more difficult for law enforcement to do its job and identify and charge wildlife poachers. Those engaged in illegal activities can more easily claim that they were night hunting as a cover for their activities. It is difficult enough to catch poachers, without this added hurdle.
Game and Fish is increasingly targeting predators supposedly in the name of increasing prey species. This is an outdated and unscientific approach to wildlife management. Aldo Leopold recognized the problems with this type of management 80 years ago and understood that predators are key to healthy functioning ecosystems.
In addition to the problems pointed out above, the agency did not rely on any studies or research for this decision. It is irresponsible to move forward with this rule.
Thank you for your consideration of these comments.