Feb. 01–RALEIGH, N.C. — Coyotes can once again be hunted in the five-county territory of rare red wolves, North Carolina wildlife officials said Thursday.
A temporary regulation allows hunters with a permit to shoot coyotes during daylight in Dare, Hyde, Tyrrell, Washington and Beaufort counties, according to a release from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. Hunters are required to report coyotes killed within those counties. Coyote hunting permits will be available online.
The state agency also temporarily listed the red wolf as a threatened species, the release said. Red wolves are federally listed as endangered.
Public hearings on a permanent rule will be held Tuesday at the Columbia High School auditorium and on Feb. 17 at the Wildlife Resources Commission headquarters, 1751 Varsity Drive in Raleigh. Both hearings begin at 7 p.m. Comments will be accepted through March 16. For information, go to www.ncwildlife.org.
Red wolves were reintroduced to the five counties in the 1980s to restore the species to the wild.
Meanwhile, year-round coyote hunting was allowed night and day statewide. Coyotes are considered a threat to livestock, pets and native wildlife. State biologists have determined that shooting and trapping are effective tools for controlling coyote populations. But red wolves have occasionally been found shot dead by hunters. The two canine species look similar, especially at night.
The Southern Environmental Law Center, on behalf of the Defenders of Wildlife and other environmental groups, filed suit to stop coyote hunting early last year in the five-county region. Coyote hunting is allowed year-round, day and night, in the state’s other 95 counties.