The Second Annual GON Coyote Cull

Here's some incentive to get after the coyotes right now, the time when newborn fawns and turkey poults are hitting the ground.

The history of our “Coyote Situation” would make an interesting case study in how different folks deal with an issue. When hunters first sounded the alarm that something was amiss in the deer woods, we were laughed at and ridiculed. Basically we were told to get off our lazy rear ends and learn to hunt better. We were told that coyotes might eat deer road-kill every once in a while, but about the only animals they killed were mice and rats.

In 2006, a little redneck publication in Georgia was the first in the nation to publish articles saying coyotes were impacting deer populations. Retired WRD Biologist Kent Kammermeyer and UGA professor Dr. Karl Miller were sources for those GON articles. Instantly, there was some credibility regarding the “Coyote Situation.” Since 2006, top researchers have conducted numerous new studies, and the results tilted dramatically toward the “it’s worse than we thought” side of the scale. A 2012 GON article titled “Beware The Predator Pit” detailed a scenario documented by Auburn’s Dr. Steve Ditchkoff that showed overharvest of does combined with coyotes could send a deer population spiraling down to a level so low that not shooting a single deer for years wouldn’t help. The few deer left that had fawns were simply providing quick coyote meals. The only hope for population recovery from a Predator Pit was coyote removal.

Yet, even after all that scientific research, there are experts and “hunting-industry leaders” who continue a PR campaign to marginalize the impacts of coyotes or dismiss any efforts to do something about coyotes. Hunters are still told to just provide better fawning habitat and kill fewer does. We’re told that killing a coyote won’t help because they have a big home range and another one will just move in.

WRD’s Hunting Regs has an article that begins by saying, “Coyotes and deer coexisted in Georgia for more than 30 years. So why does their coexistence seem to be such a big issue now?”

A 30-year coexistence? Only eight years ago, Dr. Karl Miller was still hesitant to yet say coyotes were impacting deer. The “Coyote Situation” is new.

Coexistence? Coyotes are not native to Georgia. They are an invasive species. Other non-native, invasive animals—even plants—see millions of dollars spent for eradication.

Imagine the response and money spent if coyotes ate longleaf pines instead of deer fawns…

The article should have begun, “The fawn-recruitment rates and turkey-poult production numbers have dropped dramatically in the past 10 years.”

With all the advances in management and crazy effort from hunters these days compared to 20 years ago, why suddenly can we not grow fawns or turkey poults anymore?

GON decided to try to do something by introducing the Coyote Cull.

The first words out of the inaugural Coyote Cull winner’s mouth were, “I just want to thank y’all for doing this. I need some help.”

Dennis Shaw, who is a forester from Shiloh, then said, “I’m in the woods every day, and I’m telling you, we’ve got to get after these things. Right now is the time. The fawns are so small, the coyotes are just picking ’em off.”

We know the Coyote Cull won’t solve the problem, but every coyote killed right now will help.

Or we could do nothing…

How To Enter

The Coyote Cull is designed to be uncomplicated. It’s not a contest to kill the most coyotes or the biggest. There are no check stations. The prizes are simply an incentive to get folks to the woods right now doing what we should all be doing anyway—taking out some coyotes right at the time of year fawns and turkey poults are being born.

To enter, go kill a coyote. Then e-mail a picture to letters@gon.com showing the dead coyote and the hunter holding this May issue of GON or the upcoming June issue of GON. The hunter must include their name, hometown and the county where the coyote was taken. There is no entry fee, and you don’t even have to buy the current issue—you can borrow one from a friend. The only reason we require that the hunter hold the current May or June issues of GON is so we know the coyote was killed during this Coyote Cull and not a few years ago.

One picture-entry per coyote—your buddy can’t take a picture with your coyote and enter. We will accept entries through June 15. The only rule is a limit of one entry per month, per household. If you enter this month holding the May GON, you (or someone from your household) can enter again next month holding the June issue. That’s a maximum of two entries per household.

Your entry photo and details can also be mailed to GON Coyote Cull, 4331 Seven Islands Road, Madison, GA 30650, but we must receive them by June 15. Call (800) 438-4663 with questions.

From entries received by June 15, we’ll draw two winners for two great prizes from our Coyote Cull sponsors—Adventure Outdoors and Leupold.

Prize 1: Mossberg MVP Predator 5.56 NATO 18.5” Medium Bull Barrel

Thanks to our friends at Adventure Outdoors and Mossberg, one Coyote Cull drawing is for an awesome Mossberg MCP Predator rifle. This 5.56 NATO caliber rifle has an 18.5” Fluted Medium Bull Barrel, 3-9x40mm variable scope and a 10-round magazine. The suggested retail price of this Mossberg MVP Predator is $782!

Prize 2: Leupold BX-1 McKenzie Binoculars

The is a perfect hunting binocular—100 percent waterproof, durable, compact and with a bright crystal-clear image from a 10x42mm Center Focus Roof Prism. The BX-1 McKenzie features a Central Focus Dial that is easy to find and use, even with gloves on. Generous eye relief and twist-up eyecups make them easy to use with or without eyeglasses. Eliminates glare and problems with the sun on bright, cloudless days. The suggested retail price is $199.99.

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