Letters to the Editor for Jan. 18

Posted Jan. 17, 2010, at 6:31 p.m.

Where’s the sport?

Why isn’t The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine speaking out?

There is something about the concept that “whoever kills the most coyotes gets a prize” that bothers me. True hunters are guided by the principles of fair chase, conservation of species, and respect for life and law. A killing contest in the name of hunting is a prostitution of hunting.

Why isn’t SAM sensitive to the poor public image this contest presents to ethical hunters? To some anti-hunters, it’s like selling tickets to a dogfight.

Additionally, why aren’t the Maine biologists speaking out? Killing large numbers of coyotes is not proved by research to reduce the population.

In a Jan. 5, 1997, New York Times article, Nelson Bryant wrote: “Many Maine deer hunters would like to see a bounty on coyotes. But Gerry Lavigne [former DIF&W deer biologist who now represents SAM on the DIF&W Deer Task Force] says that a bounty system would be of little value unless it could remove at least 70 percent of the coyotes annually and prevent rapid recolonization from surrounding states and provinces.”

Coyotes will quickly breed or migrate to fill the gap. Is a killing contest worth the loss of public support of hunting? I ask SAM to eliminate the contest idea and replace it with a public statement, supported by research, which justifies coyote hunting as a sport.

Donald E. Moore

Orono

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Hike beverage taxes

I know there have been pledges of no new taxes, but with the expected increase in our property taxes due to the cuts in education and other cuts to municipalities I feel as do many other residents of the state that some form of tax increase is necessary. I am asking that state taxes on alcohol and also soft drinks be raised by a penny or pennies.

As someone who does imbibe occasionally, I feel the increase would help our state with the increased revenue and would also serve to somewhat reduce the obesity rate of our young people and also help fund any added costs of law enforcement because of alcohol abuse.

We elect people to come up with reasonable answers to our economic plight. From Gov. Baldacci to the newest legislator, they should help those of us who are struggling to get by. I realize the alcohol and soft drink industry will object to any additional taxes, but it is one of the least objectionable means of doing some good.

Darrold Dorr

Franklin

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Coyote science

The author of the recent letter “Coyotes not native” asks the question, “Why did the rapid decline of the deer population start when the coyote moved in?” There is a simple answer, but those who demonize coyotes refuse to see it. While there is agreement that coyote do eat deer, there is also agreement about what it takes to maintain healthful wildlife populations.

The problem in northern Maine is habitat and if you look at the timeline described by the author, you will see the decline of the deer population in Maine parallels the large-scale logging operations in northern deer yards much more than the appearance of the coyote, which has been in Maine since the 1940s. With the extirpation of wolves in the early 1900s and mountain lions about the same time, the coyote has simply moved in to take the place of these alpha predators. The deer in northern Maine are starving and have inadequate shelter in winter. Biologists from IF&W are quoted as saying so.

Coyotes are doing what predators do, and as such, are important to a healthful, balanced wildlife population. Coyotes also secondarily keep down populations of rabies vector species such as fox, raccoon and skunks.

I spend much time in observing our woods and wilds. What I notice is that habitat is disappearing in Maine. This is the science, and yet coyotes continue to be victimized by those who epitomize the phrase “there are none so blind as those who will not see.”

Daryl DeJoy

Penobscot

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Tax reform will work

The BDN’s recent report “Pursuing political favors” did a good job highlighting some of the benefits of the tax package passed by the Legislature last June, including how it would lower income taxes for 95 percent of Maine residents. But the report mischaracterizes some of the changes advocated by the governor, which ulti-mately resulted in a recast bill. The newspaper report quotes partisan critics who imply the governor’s changes were a giveaway to the rich, because they removed new taxes on golf courses and ski tickets and luxury homes. That is a half-truth at best, and completely misleading.

The governor did back off on certain new revenues, but paid for it by reducing the income tax benefit to Maine’s richest persons. (Persons making more than $250,000 would still get a tax cut, but not so large a cut.) He also added a refundable tax credit worth millions of dollars to working families.

Thus, the overall impact of the governor’s changes was to increase benefits for low- and middle-income people.

Though we fought hard for the original bill, we also support the bill that ultimately passed. It cuts taxes on Mainers by more than $50 million a year, while stabilizing state revenues and promoting economic development.

The travesty here is not the governor’s changes, but the misguided effort to place the bill on next June’s ballot. That action means that Maine families are now paying more in taxes than they need to.

Rep. John Piotti

House majority leader

Unity

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Coyotes dangerous

In the Jan. 14 BDN there was a letter about coyotes. I certainly agree they are not needed here. I surely don’t want them.

About seven years ago, I heard my beagle barking. Luckily, she was indoors. I looked out the window and there stood a coyote, looking up at my beloved dog. If she had been outdoors, she would have been dead.

They are dangerous and I agree with anyone who thinks they do not belong here.

Catherine Goodnoh

Bangor

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