Coyote ugly: Long live the coyote



If you haven’t heard yet, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources is hosting a Coyote Challenge to lighten the breed’s population, thinning the herd, so to speak.

Hunters are tasked with killing up to five of the animals each month and, in return, will be entered into a raffle where they may receive a free hunting license for a lifetime.

I feel like this is a plot to a B-list movie that will inevitably go horribly wrong, or that we aren’t currently living in the year 2017, but perhaps 1917 or even 1817.

No, the fact is we are living in 2017 in good old Georgia and seem to be trying our best to live up to the Southern stereotypes.

This killing contest is just plain barbaric. This seems like a way to control an animal populace prior to our modern technology and efforts. It’s like we’re regressing back to our uneducated, ignorant ways.

I understand it’s believed that we need to lessen the coyote population. That’s one of the reasons the agency is holding the contest. And sure, it’s never a good thing when a coyote wanders into a neighborhood and eats, kills or injures a family pet.

But let’s back up a bit. That same department said coyotes are in fact an asset in maintaining the balance of wildlife in the state, according to the Atlanta Coyote Project, a group of scientists devoted to learning about the animal.

I grew up in a neighborhood that backed up to a creek and was surrounded by a natural buffer of trees. My elementary school was not even half a mile away. We heard or saw coyotes all the time including daytime sightings on the playground that forced us to skip outdoor recess. As much as I played outside as a child, I never felt threatened by the animals.

Today we may be seeing coyotes more in our neighborhoods and on our roads. That’s probably due to us demolishing their natural habitats to build our own homes and places to shop and eat. It’s no wonder they’re encroaching in our space. That’s exactly what we did to them, and they don’t know where to go.

Surely we can learn how to peacefully coexist without resorting to murdering as many living animals as we can. This contest seems to be fighting fire with fire, which usually doesn’t have a happy ending.

According to the Atlanta Coyote Project, if we continue to kill these animals, their former territory won’t go unclaimed. Instead, a new coyote will move in, as they’ll believe more food is available. This will inevitably lead to more coyote pups. And more pups leads to the exact opposite outcome of what the Department of Natural Resources is expecting.

Instead of fewer coyotes, we’ll probably end up with more than when we started. The Humane Society of the United States backs this by saying if you shoot or poison coyotes, you’ll have just as many again within a year or two.

When you start to mess with nature, there always seem to be unintended consequences. Man does not always know best when dealing with wild animals.

We need to keep our pets and children indoors at nighttime and during coyote mating season and figure out a way to live with our furry neighbors who more than likely aren’t going away, no matter what brutal method we nauseatingly, happily take part in.

Surely we have evolved enough to know an eye for an eye just leaves everyone blind?

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