Caution, this letter is graphic.
Responding to DC Metro area coyote sightings in 2012, The Wildlife Center’s Ed Clark told WTOP, “In nature, you’re sometimes the hunter and sometimes the hunted. (Coyotes) are part of our landscape … people need to learn to live with them.” Clark’s assessment was naïve and irresponsible.
Last year someone wrote to The Madison Eagle, blaming hunting dogs for killing her goats (or sheep?). Hunters knew hounds weren’t to blame. Coyotes killed them.
We’ve lost 20 chickens to coyotes.
A week before Thanksgiving, a family member let his two Yorkies out for their evening walk. Coyotes drug one from the driveway, squealing into the woods and killed him.
Our neighbor tries to protect his sheep, and his wife was cornered by a pack not long ago.
Just this month, Annie, a bearhound, got ahead of her pack in hot pursuit of a bear. Hunters spotted coyotes. Instead of being at the tree with her pack, hunters found Annie 30 yards away, with her throat and guts torn out and whole chunks of her carcass eaten. They were so stunned they released the bear.
This raises the stakes. A bearhound is a tough contender. I haven’t seen a predator problem of this magnitude in 35 years. Wildlife gets hungrier in winter. Hunger neutralizes natural fear of humans.
State law requires Annie to have a rabies shot. If Annie attacked another pet, or a person, the court could convict her to death. The state of Virginia claims ownership of the wildlife. What does the state do when its wildlife carries rabies and commits capital offenses?
Frequent vermin encounters and daytime sightings point to a B-I-G problem. Alaska placed a $50 bounty on wolves in the 1970s because they were sighted in backyards in Fairbanks. Alaskans had the good sense to worry about them attacking children, so they launched a pre-emptive strike.
West Virginia imposed a bounty. Children are not the powerhouses bearhounds are. Ed Clark’s recommendation, learning to live with coyotes, might fall flat when some parents find their child in the sandbox looking like Annie.