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Using Greyhounds to kill coyotes

My head’s spinning a little after reading today’s New York Times story about the “sport” of coyote hunting with Greyhounds. It’s the first I’ve heard of it, although my home state of Washington, along with Colorado, outlawed the practice last year.

What I learned is that this practice is not your traditional hunting with dogs. They aren’t retrieving birds shot by a hunter or even cornering live animals to be dispatched by a human (not that I’m saying I love these options either). No, this hunt is dog-on-dog killing. The human hunter drives the dogs to the coyotes and tends the dogs’ injuries (coyote bites, broken bones, barbwire cuts among them) after the fact—or, in some cases, reportedly leaves them for dead. As Miranda Wecker, the chairwoman of the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, told The Times, “This was dogs ripping apart other dogs. Thinking about it that way, it became very close to dogfighting.”
Once you read about the cruelty of the sport—for both hunter and hunted—it seems impossible that this is legal anywhere. I’m guessing it’s been a relatively under-the-radar practice in rural communities that frown on government intervention in many forms. But the high beams of The New York Times will hopefully change all that.
Watch a video slideshow with an interview with John Hardzog, a cattle rancher who uses Greyhounds to hunt coyotes.


Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom. lisawogan.com


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Submitted by Ann | April 26 2010 |

Will ranchers not be happy until there is no living thing left on the range besides their cattle? Every animal dead, all native vegetation overgrazed and every water hole polluted. I have to ask myself what kind of person would develop such a despicable and inhumane activity and even subject their own dogs to such senseless harm? I am constantly amazed at how humans can continue to find new ways to entertain themselves in progressively more depraved acts far worse than those we have seen them engage in before. We are lucky this type of rancher is a dying breed. A relic from the violent past when people shot each other for a simple infraction. In other words, the uncivilized, lawless wild west.

Submitted by Anonymous | June 14 2010 |

Your ignorance is BLISS! The NEWTIMES depiction of this "sport" was very one cited. Before expressing you OPINION, do a little research of your own. Coyote have no natural predator in these rural areas. They will eat a newborn calf alive and its mother. The carry dieases along with destroying herds.
The greyhounds dont require the training you think. The only training that is involved is training them not to chase cattle. In Johns case, he is the exception. These dog are his life he takes very good care of them.
This is our livelyhood. Ranching is a very tough life. You remember this as you drive-thru and order your burger on the go.

Submitted by Maverick | January 14 2011 |

The polarization on this subject seems to promote little in the way of intelligent conversation. I have been one of an outdoorsman, a rancher, a hunter, a hiker, a camper, a naturalist, and a fisherman almost all of my life. Coyotes are not demons, nor are they saints. They are very adaptable wild canines that filled the void vacated by the eradication of wolves (a wolf will normally kill any coyote, or other canine, that it can catch that it perceives as invading its territory).

From my somewhat limited experience over the last few years with coyote coursing dog men and their dogs, is that it is a fair sport with little of the brutality ascribed to it by the antis. There is rougher treatment of cows and horses going on, and much more wide spread. Cattle dogs can be particularly nasty, but any working or hunting dog can be brutal. How many meat eating Americans have visited a slaughter house? Might be many more vegans amongst us. But, as mentioned before, nothing really can compete with a well fed cat for sadism. They will keep stabbing their prey with their claws until it squeals no more, and then go find some other little animal to torture to death. Many antis for some reason call this "play".

All of the dog men I know devote a considerable amount of time time and devotion on their dogs. Yes, sight hounds (i.e. field greyhounds) travel at high speed and with a lot of desire to chase and catch. Minor injuries are common, major injuries do occur on a rare occasion, though some dogs are very good at avoiding injury altogether. Whether a dog gets injured or not, they LOVE this game! They are NOT in it to please their owner. Most would run themselves to death chasing coyotes, if given the chance. About the only training that goes into them is to come when called, and not chase other animals that they might see in the pursuit of a coyote. For the dogs, it is a little less rough than the game of American football; and for the coyote, much less of a problem than a pack of wolves moving into their territory.

As with any human activity, there are those that will sadistically abuse the sport, but they are in the minority. I encourage fellow sportsmen to raise their standard of behavior to all living things, including their dogs and the species that they pursue. The dogs are beautiful in "flight"; the coyote amazing in its speed, agility, and cunning. Coursing coyotes has never threatened their populations, just created faster and smarter coyotes. From personal experience, the coyote dogs are far more humane in dispatching a coyote that they have caught than a coyote is dispatching a deer that it has surrounded while protecting its fawn.

The biggest threat to wildlife these days is loss of habitat. I see far more concern, effort made, and money spent on habitat for wildlife by hunters than by all the anti-hunting groups put together as their money seems to get spent on high priced advertising and saving individual animals that should have perished to protect the species gene pool from weakening.

Submitted by Brandon | September 24 2013 |

The people that think hunting cyotes with dogs is wrong in any way can be added to the long list of failures which brings out great nation down. I say this respectfully, PLEASE DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE FORMING AN OPINION. You base your opinion off of a limited, uneducated and weakened state of "city life" perception. Outside of the cities is a whole different world, one that has existed unchanged for over a million years. Humans have integrated themselves into this world in the shape of farms and ranches spread across the country side. On the farms and ranches man has kindled the foundation of commerce through raising livestock, furs, and labor. This foundation later led to evolved organizations "cities" who changed the very nature of human existence. Cyotes are approximately 750,000 years older then "cave men" and they continue to survive today in their original form. They are predators, scavengers, and survivors. The chance of humans eliminating the species less than 0%. I have more cyotes around my house then I am capable to neutralizing. In the mean time, they will continue to kill my pet cats, the neighbors small dogs, lower the small population in my area, kill deer and farmers cattle that you all enjoy to eat in your fine city restaurants. As for the hounds used to hunt them, I have trained hunting hounds most of my life and let me explain something about their personality. My dogs loved to hunt, they adored it and they hunted in a pack with a sense of purpose. If my dogs did not get out to hunt for some time they would just lay around and sleep in a depressed state. However, when hunting time came their enthusiasm would bring tears of joy to my eyes. People are not dog fighting by doing this, you just don't have the knowledge to see the truth of their existence. The dogs are be allowed to hunt and fulfill their sense of purpose. It's a perfectly natural process of this earth and who are you to challenge mother earth with four and a half billion years of experience.

Submitted by Anonymous | April 28 2010 |

I don't understand the "kill or be killed" mentality. Surely with technological advances, we shouldn't have to resort to killing anything and everything that might threaten livestock?

Not to mention the brutality of having an animal trained to kill another animal (and then possibly leaving both to die)...! Dogs have the capability to be man's best friends becuase they have the innate desire to please thier owners. It sickens me when dogs must resort to violence (such as this and dogfighting)in order to please thier owners...and then be rewarded by being left to die in some instances!

Submitted by Anonymous | July 1 2010 |

After doing some goggling on the computer about hunting coyotes with greyhounds I found some interesting but not all true stories. The New York Times about Mr. Hardzog now that is true coyote hunter. He cares enough for his dogs to carry with him the necessary things to care for an injured dog. Would someone who is into dog fighting do that? The people who use dogs to fight other dogs profit from it but betting, and they don’t care about there dogs if they win well if not they die. This is not what Mr. Hardzog or any of us coyote hunters are about. We do not train our dogs to kill other dogs greyhounds are very remarkable animals. They live with other greyhounds in the same pin and don’t fight amazing. This blood sport you call it is not that at all, blood sport is pit bulls or other dogs train to fight to the death in a controlled environment where the dogs have no avenue of escape. The coyote has all the avenues it needs. It is at a full run before the greyhounds are even let out of the dog box. The coyote knows all the hiding places and holes it is his turf he can get away and many times they do get away lot more times than not.

Mrs., Wecker of the Washington fish and wildlife Commission said it is “dogs ripping apart dogs” she is wrong there. Well fist the greyhound has to catch the coyote, 98% of the time the coyote is well over 50 yards to ¼ mile away before the greyhounds are even released from the dog box. I have hunted for years and yet to see a coyote ripped apart by greyhounds or the greyhounds ripped apart by the coyote. 99% of the time you can’t even tell the coyote was killed by a dog. They are not ripped to shreds, and there are no marks on them unlike hunting them with a gun where there is bullet hole and blood. Sometimes the dogs get cuts on there legs, or noses but not ripped apart. Mrs. Judy Paulson of the Greyhound Companions of New Mexico said “the greyhounds are left for dead.” I don’t know where she got her information but it was not from an Oklahoma coyote hunter at all. The only things we train a greyhound to do is load and unload form the dog box, the rest is left up to them. They love to run and when they are chasing a coyote to them it for fun.

Apparently none of you have seen a dog fight where they fight to the death. I know you have never been coyote hunting or you would have a different opinion bout it. I invite you to come here and go with us to see really how we treat the dogs, and see that we don’t leave them for dead. You will see there is no ripping apart. I would invite you see a real dog fight like with the pit bulls, then you will see a blood sport, and death and ripping apart. Why try to ban something that has been around longer then most of you have been? Ban the gambling at the dog tracks those dogs get injured as well, and kept in a small confined crate all the time at the track. They are pushed and pushed till they aren’t wanted or needed any more, where the coyote hunting greyhounds get old and happy doing what they like.

Submitted by Anonymous | August 11 2010 |

I think that they should ban the sport of hunting mice and gophers with cats! They just rip those cute li'l mice apart! Why I've even seen them play games with gopher skulls after they've stripped the meat!

And speaking of cats, another thing they should ban is the sport of hunting cats and small dogs with coyotes. I don't know if you've ever watched them up close and personal, but that pack'a coyotes will just grab fluffy and just rip her limb from limb. And you wouldn't believe how much she squeals and squalls before they finally get her to shut up and die.

Submitted by Doug Elerath | August 11 2010 |

Ms. Wogan, this IS traditional hunting with dogs. It has been done for thousands and thousands of years, yes, even before there were guns and gun dogs. It is in fact one of the oldest and most natural uses of dogs, and is exactly why ancient breeds such as greyhounds, pharaoh hounds, tazis, salukis, afghans, etc even exist. One doesn't have to "train" one of these dogs to chase rapidly departing furry critters. In fact, one must work hard to train them NOT to chase and eat the neighbor's toy poodle, family cats, rabbits, chickens, or what have you.

I suggest that you would benefit from a bit of education directed at obtaining an improved understanding of the natural world.

Submitted by Jason | February 8 2014 |

I live in My where coyotes came after the Mississippi froze 35 years or so ago. They kill pets, livestock and have been reported to have attacked a person. They have decimated the population of rabbits which has caused a decline in raptor populations. My has recently legalized limited night hunting due to the problem.

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