GOP Rep. Torrey Westrom wants to legalize coyote hunting from planes and snowmobiles

Heads up, coyotes! Bullets may soon be railing down upon you from above.
Heads up, coyotes! Bullets may soon be railing down upon you from above.

Coyotes pose a serious problem for Minnesota farmers -- the animals, which are Minnesota's most abundant large predator, prey on livestock.

Rep. Torrey Westrom, R-Elbow Lake, wants to do something about the coyote problem. That goal, combined with a love of hunting, led him to the following proposal -- legalizing coyote hunting from planes and snowmobiles.

"The coyote population seems to be exploding," Westrom said. "This would be just one more way to continue the intrigue and enjoyment many people get from hunting as well as a create way to help control the coyote population."

Seems like kinda a bad idea, doesn't it? Low-flying planes raining down bullets on unsuspecting coyotes, along with any other lifeforms that happen to be in the vicinity. Or speeding snowmobiles engaging in rural Minnesota-style drive-bys.

Westrom: A big supporter of drive-bys, rural Minnesota-style.
Westrom: A big supporter of drive-bys, rural Minnesota-style.

Scenarios of that sort prompted Rep. Jean Wagenius, D-Minneapolis and a member of the House Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee, to characterize Westrom's proposal as "nutty."

According to the Star Tribune, federal law has prohibited aerial hunting for decades, but a loophole allows states to permit hunting from aircraft to control animals threatening livestock, wildlife, or crops. Westrom's bill would rely on that loophole and frame aerial coyote hunting as a way to help besieged farmers.

Minnesota's coyote population was once confined to the state's southern prairies. But widespread logging created better habitat for animals throughout the state, and coyotes can now be found statewide. According to the DNR, the state's coyote population has been growing in recent years.

Legalized shooting of coyotes from planes and snowmobiles? A controversial wolf hunting season? Apparently, GOP lawmakers are looking to start a war on Minnesota's large predators.

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