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Killing Wildlife ‘The Hardest Part of Job’

Good Question: How do they know they got the right one?
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Alan Gionet Good Question
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Written by Alan GionetBROOMFIELD, Colo. (CBS4) – There are plenty of people nervous about coyotes around the Anthem neighborhood in Broomfield.

“I’m not confident they got the right one,” said a mom CBS4 talked to before wildlife officers took a tougher approach.

Then, over a two week period, they shot and killed seven coyotes in the area. There had been reports of three attacks on humans.

Even if the attacks were by different animals each time, several coyotes that didn’t bite anyone were killed. Colorado Parks and Wildlife area wildlife manager Larry Rogstad says it’s the hardest part of his job.

“I always worry about getting the right animal I worry about doing the right thing.”

But people get worried when animals attack.

One mother in Broomfield told us she was keeping her children close and wasn’t letting them out in the yard of the family home alone anymore.

“We are encroaching on their habitat. It’s one thing to see them running through the neighborhood … if they bite somebody then they need to be caught.”

Rogstad explained what Colorado Parks and Wildlife was thinking as they went after more coyotes in the Broomfield neighborhood, which is rimmed with farms and open fields.

“Generally coyotes are wary of humans and if a human approaches and the coyote will head the other way. In the Broomfield situation that’s part of our concern, these coyotes are habituated to this one particular area, subdivision, this subdivision is on the edge of rural country where coyote would normally be.”

Coyotes are perhaps the most difficult of the three animals wildlife workers generally are forced to hut to identify. They are social animals and can often live in packs.

Bears and mountain lions more often live a solitary existence.

“Black bears have very characteristic behavior, each one is an individual. Also the physical description is much easier, each bear, some bears will have a star pattern on the chest, others will have a brown spot in the muzzle and so it’s much easier, to most people a coyote is a coyote, is a coyote.”

The state will often contract with US Department of Agriculture wildlife services hunters to track down troublesome animals. They are trained trackers and will often use dogs to follow a bear of mountain lion.

“If you’ve got a really good solid track and its relatively recent, you can put a dog on a specific track and they’ll track that track. However, if there’s been a time element involved or if it’s been extremely dry, warm conditions, the track may disperse a little bit more quickly.”

Bears can move as much as 100 miles a night, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Mike Porras.

“Do any of those things guarantee with 100 percent accuracy? No.”

But mountain lions and bears can be territorial. A lion in a given area that matches a description of size or weight added to the distance it might travel can add up to a death sentence.

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