By: Keith Kappes
Carter County Times
Unable to sleep one night recently, I was surfing the Internet when I happened upon a series of unusual, short videos on YouTube. Knowing that YouTube will post just about anything, including gross closeups of various medical procedures, my old reporter’s curiosity got the best of me.
Based on what I saw during several hours of these videos in the middle of a few sleepless nights, ranchers, farmers, and household pet owners soon should be able to breathe easier because America’s coyote population apparently is being decimated in the name of show biz.
Before I go further, I am not questioning anyone’s right to protect their animals and their families from these predators who can and will eat whatever food is available, including small animals, birds, insects, and fruits, as well as artificial sources such as garbage, pet food, birdseed, and compost.
Like its brother the western coyote, the eastern coyote is extraordinarily adaptable to a wide range of habitats and can thrive in suburban, urban, and rural areas. They have lived in all parts of Kentucky since the 1970’s.
Long feared by livestock owners, I saw hundreds of coyotes being routinely killed on YouTube by long-range gunfire in all kinds of weather and terrain. What appeared to be sniper rifles are used in the videos with night-vision goggles, electronic sound devices and bait to lure the animals within a killing zone of a few hundred yards.
One video shows the killing of 81 coyotes in less than 30 minutes and another features a pickup truck with its cargo bed overflowing with coyote carcasses.
Despite its reputed skills as a stealthy hunter, it quickly became apparent to me that male coyotes are easy prey because of their vanity.
Artificially generated calls from what sounds like a female in heat will cause a male coyote to stop and preen himself for courtship. As he stands so proudly, he becomes a perfect target for a kill shot to the head or chest.
In one video, what appears to be a girl of about 8 years of age is shown by her father how to hit a coyote on the run, helped greatly by the expensive hunting gear, of course.
That’s certainly not the type of bonding experience I would recommend for any father or daughter.
Contact Keith at firstname.lastname@example.org.