Coyote Threat Needs Hunters With Sharp Aim

Published 9:42 am Thursday, March 22, 2018

It’s time to kill some coyotes.

When a coyote attacked Shady Grove Elementary School third grader Madilyn Fowler last week, it was the latest example of a rapidly expanding wildlife population creating dangers for us humans.

The coyote bit the 9-year-old girl repeatedly, chased and scratched her and knocked her down.

Had her mother not heard the screams and raced to her rescue, it’s hard to imagine what might have happened to little Madilyn. The mother fought off the coyote, hitting it in the snout until it released the little girl and ran off.

Davie County hunters need to start gunning for coyotes.

Coyotes have frequently attacked pets. Attacking a person is highly unusual, but as the animal’s population continues to increase the chances of more attacks become more likely. Authorities suggest the animal might have been rabid, compounding the danger and chances of more attacks.

The attack underscores the message that these animals are not a welcomed expansion of wildlife. They are vicious, invasive predators which are thriving along with the rapidly expanding deer population.

Two years ago, this old editor surprised Clemmons village council candidates with a question about allowing a brief bow season to harvest deer within the village limits. The candidates recoiled in horror at the thought. Who would shoot Bambi? Except for motorists and gardeners, everybody loves those cute deer. Auto body shops flourish because of the deer. But as the population continues to mushroom, the deer are losing their appeal. They’re everywhere.

This week the village council is having a two-day retreat. One of the items on the Wednesday agenda: “Urban Archery Season.”

I doubt Clemmons is yet ready to authorize a hunt, but the agenda item underscores the recognition that wildlife populations are out of control. There are too many deer. Coyotes are dangerous in any number. Little Madilyn Fowler’s experience last week is evidence of that.

For good reason, municipalities ban shooting guns within the city limits. That ban also prevents law-abiding homeowners from taking matters into their own hands and killing the deer eating all the garden produce. It keeps them from popping a pesky — and often rabid — raccoon with a rifle.

“Harvesting deer,” that euphemism for killing as many as possible in a brief period, is suddenly being talked about in polite circles.

The state wildlife commission could help by expanding deer hunting seasons. Meanwhile, hunters should keep a watchful eye out for coyotes.

Madilyn had a close call.

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This time, the officer at the high school shot back. Details were still sketchy, but Tuesday’s shooting at a Maryland school ended quite differently — and much faster — than the mass killing at a Florida school two weeks ago. There, the deputy assigned to protect the school cowered outside. On Tuesday, the deputy rushed to the scene and fired on the assailant, who died. Two students were injured, one critically. The deputy acted as trained.

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Weed of the week: Henbit. You can see this early spring bloomer — about five inches tall with purple flowers — everywhere these days, especially in lawns and on the roadsides. I sprayed it like crazy on Saturday.

– Dwight Sparks