North Carolina law allows daytime hunting of coyotes all year. A proposed amendment to that rule allows for nighttime hunting and the use of electronic calls and artificial lights.
This poses a potential threat to the endangered red wolves who, despite larger size and other differentiating features, can look similar to coyotes.
The red wolf population in northeastern North Carolina of between 90 and 100 individuals is the only wild red wolf population in the world. During the gun seasons from October to December of 2011, seven red wolves died as a result of human’s suspected illegal activity, including gunshot.
Some people want to control the growing coyote population by hunting. They say shooting coyotes will help the red wolf, even if some red wolves are killed.
However, biologists with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service believe hunting coyotes allows more breeding coyotes to come into an area. Instead, the biologists sterilize and release them back into the wild. This allows the territorial animal to keep other breeding individuals away. It also keeps the nonnative coyotes from interbreeding with native red wolves.
The public comment period for this amendment to allow night-hunting of coyotes ends Monday, April 16. Submit your comments either by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by filling out this online form.
For more information about the proposed rule see T. DeLene Beeland’s article from Scientific American.