At the dinner there were members of California's Department of Fish and Wildlife. Dahle hobnobbed for votes. I was offended by the event and couldn't believe that such a thing, the indiscriminate killing of a valued predator, could occur. I e-mailed everyone I could think of about it: the Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity, activists I know, writers, anyone I could think of to get the word out about this ghastly event.
This year I pitched doing a story on it to the editor of the Chico News and Review. I got the go ahead.
Turns out those e-mails I sent out a year ago might have had some impact. A group of twenty environmental organizations, with memberships of one million Californians, have asked the Department of Fish and Wildlife to stop the Coyote Hunt. Of course the groups find the Coyote Hunt disgusting in and of itself; they also have tied it to Journey, California's remarkable lone wolf, who roams the area within 100 miles of Adin.
I had planned on using stealth in covering the event. I planned on keeping a low profile as I snapped photos similar to the one pictured above. I had hoped to sneak into the Saturday evening banquet, asking questions and politely taking photos. I had hoped to attend the final event on Sunday, where the winning teams are declared and the coveted Silver Buckle is given to the team that massacred the most coyotes.
That was my hope.
Now, with the full weight of one million Californians, with the Sacramento Bee, SFGate and many other newspapers publishing the groups' wish to stop the Coyote Hunt, stealth no longer seemed too possible. But first, the groups decided to do what every legal monkey wrencher wants to do: they decided to ask a government commission to stop the Hunt.
I made the decision to attend the meeting.