Once I found out: Awareness of and attitudes toward coyote hunting policies in Massachusetts

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Lethal management of large carnivores such as wolves, cougars, bear, bobcat, and coyotes has been found to have negative ecological, behavioral, and socio-political consequences, and has contributed to human– wildlife conflict. Recent research has documented an increase in the popularity of large predators and decrease in support for their lethal removal, particularly when methods are perceived as inhumane or unfair. Our survey results indicated that voters on Cape Cod, Massachusetts overwhelmingly opposed coyote hunting practices such as baiting and supported changing these policies. We suggest that either (1) state wildlife agencies broaden their constituents to include the general public (i.e. not just hunters) in their decision-making; (2) citizens initiate more ballot initiatives to better protect carnivores; and/or (3) policymakers reform carnivore management in line with the compassionate conservation paradigm, which would likely have broad public support given our findings.