Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Brace yourself folks! Another alien invasion is well underway throughout the Southland. And, it’s beginning to present itself in an impressive way locally.
Coyote sightings are becoming more and more common in our locale. The threat has become so urgent that a few neighborhoods are undertaking coyote elimination efforts to trap the pests. Of course, this has some animal-lover types in an uproar. But, hey, we were here before the coyotes for goodness’ sake.
The “Here-first” argument seems to be the first line of justification for animal huggers when it comes to ridding our neighborhoods of 10-foot alligators, rattlesnakes and hordes of deer. I wonder what would happen if they would adopt the same attitude toward the hordes of illegal alien humans invading our midst?
Southerners in general can claim a rural connection. Most of us had parents or other close relatives with an agrarian habitat if not ourselves. We learned to live with animals that were part of the local scene. If one became a nuisance we killed it and oft times ate it. We ate possums but somehow I can’t imagine roasting a coyote delicacy. So the alternative becomes eradication. After all, as I said, we were here before the coyotes started their Eastern migration!
Actually, coyotes have been in upstate S.C. for about thirty years but they have migrated today into all counties of the state. Contrary to popular belief, the animals were not imported to control the deer population although they have had a negative effect on deer.
It’s quite legal to shoot or trap a coyote within 100 yards of your home without a license. There is no closed season on hunting the wily animals although you must have a hunting license for general hunting. It’s also legal to trap coyotes anywhere during certain months of the year but they must be eliminated and not relocated. Some communities have adopted this approach but the trapping devices are more like handcuffs and not the vicious-looking steel traps seen in horror movies.
Coyotes are not pack-oriented creatures and they are usually rather shy around humans unless rabid. Although there is no record in the state of coyotes harming humans they can be devastating to household pets and other small animals including deer fawns.
Coyotes have been known to interbreed with domestic dogs. The offspring are known as Coydogs. I don’t suppose we should find that surprising because dog breeders have designed a whole host of half-bred strains of canines. We call them “designer dogs.” For instance, we have the Yorkie-poo which is a cross between Yorkshire terrier and a poodle. What might we expect from coyote cross-breeding? Perhaps we could cross a coyote with a poodle and come up with a “Coyo-poo.” Or maybe cross-breed a Coyote with a Yorkie and produce a “Coy-orkie.” The possibilities are unlimited so if your little doggie runs loose in the neighborhood, don’t be surprised if you eventually see weird little offspring roaming around your house.
Many folks want to remind us that we should embrace wild animals and some even want to lecture us on how fortunate we are to live among rattlesnakes, alligators, bobcats, etc. That is not the predominant Southern view. Kill ‘em and/or Eat-em if they become a danger or nuisance has traditionally been our mantra. The last time I stated this view, I got angry E-mails from folks telling me to go back to my high-rise condo up North. As a ninth-generation South Carolinian, who has never lived outside of the Carolinas, I resented such a horrible thought.
I have witnessed a half-dozen or so coyote sightings in the last several years. In fact, I was over on the beach enjoying just sitting in the sun and staring at the ocean when I noticed a coyote in the sand dunes. After a group of beachgoers would pack up and leave, the wily animal would run out to scarf up any bits of food they had left behind. After several such episodes, I called the authorities to report the nuisance animal and was immediately asked, “Are you sure that is not a possum?” I had to laugh as I replied that I had hunted possums and even eaten one or two and I was quite certain that I knew the difference between a coyote and a possum. On another occasion there was a coyote sunning in my front yard. My little dog was puzzled as he looked up to me with a “what-are-you-going-to-do-about-this?” expression on his face.
At any rate, the coyote invasion has begun and it’s only going to get worse. I also hear that armadillos are slowly making their way in our direction. Wonder if they cross-breed with any of our domestic species? I don’t think I could tolerate a hard-shelled “Arma-rat” or an “Arma-rabbit.” Oh well, we will just have to wait and see what develops and how the animal activists will react. But remember we were here before the armadillos, too.
Maybe we could just relocate the PETA folks. After all, we were here first.
John Brock is retired and lives in Georgetown County. He can be reached at this newspaper by mail or by Email: email@example.com. His website featuring his book, “Southern Breezes Whistle Dixie” is www.SouthernObserver.com.
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