Reader Scott Citron might have overlooked a point in his May 4, 2017 letter to the editor criticizing Donald Trump Jr.’s prairie dog hunt.
Prairie dogs and ranchers/farmers have a long and convoluted history. Populations increased long ago when farming and grazing became widespread in their range: besides providing new food sources, these activities keep vegetation low, helping the small animals detect predators. Prairie dogs do eat crops and valuable livestock forage plants, and their mounded hole entrances can break equipment. They are colonial. Populations can be dense and large and significantly reduce productivity and usable acreage. While wildlife experts in MT have an eye on declining populations, in a given locale they can still be large and a burden.
What hunters get out of hunting is quite a study itself. I avoid calling hunting a simple act of barbarity.
I agree with Mr. Citron’s instinct.