83 minutes, 2001, DVCAM

“Archer’s Video Review”
North American Bowhunter, March/April, 2002
by Randy Archer

Just going by the title, what would you guess this one’s about? Killing coyotes? That’s too easy! Is it about hunting and anti-hunting? Is it about manipulation and graft? Is it about money? Is it about furthering ones own self-interest and hidden agendas? Yes, yes, yes, and yes!

Is it about one side of a conflict trying to get the other side to think like they do? Bingo! After all, isn’t that the root cause of every war, every conflict that has ever occurred throughout history?

The subject of perspective has been a lifelong study for me. I find it fascinating how diametrically opposed and conflicting, incompatible viewpoints or ‘perspectives’ can be held so religiously, so stoically and stubbornly by both (or all) sides equally. It is interesting to note that what consistently seems to be the one factor that predetermines which side we will align ourselves with is none other than our very own self-interest.

There are plenty of groups in this film with their own selfish motivations. Some are obvious, others are carefully hidden and/or disguised. There are the ranchers, who suffer losses of calves and sheep each year, and feel that the government should do their work for them.

There is the Wildlife Services federal agency, operating under the Animal Damage Control Act, which is more than happy to kill coyotes for the ranchers because it justifies their existence and perpetuates their jobs.

There are the politicians who, of course, are doing the exact same thing. There are the hapless hunters who, at least in this production, just want to have fun killing coyotes and drink some beer.

The central character in this whole drama is old Wile E. Coyote. His motivation? The most basic of all, SURVIVAL. Last but not least are the ever present animal rights advocates who seem to have the one goal of stopping hunters from having fun.

I make this simplistic statement because the film chronicles on-camera testimony that repeats this concept, time after time. The words are different, but the common theme is obvious; They just cannot stand the fact that hunters enjoy what they do, up to and including the kill.

It scared the daylights out of me when I watched the segment of a supposed hunting advocate say, “If a hunter does not experience a little remorse upon killing an animal, I don’t think he should be hunting.”

Please explain to me the difference between, “You can not do what you do because you must think as I do” and “You can not do what you do unless you think as I do.” What is it about humans that makes us so self-righteous to believe we have the right to insist and enforce that others think, believe, behave, dress and look similar to ourselves?

Of course, the true star of this show is the coyote. This little dog that is rarely greater that 40 lbs. is, by all accounts, the craftiest, most adaptable and prolific and wide-spread predator on planet Earth.

They have been killed by the millions every year. They have been gunned from the air, from vehicles, and from the ground with weapons that blow their heads apart from a thousand yards. They have also been poisoned, trapped, and snared. Coyotes have been the target of this genocide since both they and man have existed. There are more coyotes today than there ever have been. Not bad for a mere pawn in the games that men play.

One so-called scientist speaking on behalf of animal rights stated, “When livestock is killed by a coyote, it is a natural death. The coyote is doing what it is supposed to do as a predator.” He obviously has disassociated himself from the concept of man as a predator, and that this behavior is natural to him as well. Maybe the thought is too frightening, too close to home?

Most of you viewing Killing Coyote would probably think it was an anti-hunting video. The hunters do not come off well at all. As the camera wanders around the coyote killing contest get-togethers, (at a bar, of course), it seems to focus on the beer bottles and cans much more than it does faces. It records the hunters talking about the rush they get from killing and describing in graphic detail the wiping out of entire family units. Isn’t that disgusting? Really? Do you truly believe that? Why?

When it comes time to show coyotes actually being killed, the blood and gore rivaled Saving Private Ryan. For three minutes straight, segments of coyotes dying by the bullet were strung together, one after the other, every five seconds. The bodies of the coyotes are shown no respect as they are dragged about, thrown around and piled atop one another.

No, Killing Coyote is not an anti-hunting effort. But it is thought-provoking. Some of us do not like that, but we could all benefit from thinking more rather than simply reacting and regurgitating what has been programmed into us.

One atypical rancher said, “My bookkeeper gets a good many of my calves. If I have a good year, the IRS gets some of them, the Ford Dealership gets some. The coyote’s way down on that list. If he gets a few, he’s probably entitled to them.”