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September 6, 2013     Cape Gazette
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~10 FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 6- MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2013 " NEWS cape Gazette Public "0 rs on in State proposing 120-day hunting season, 100-day trapping period By Nick Roth nickroth@capegazette.com The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has presented its pro- posed regulations for hunting and trapping coyotes, and both supporters and opposition are making sure their voices are heard. More than 50 people took the opportunity to express their opinions on coyotes and other proposed changes to the regula- tions at a public hearing Sept. 4 at the DNREC Building in Dover. Hunters are eager to le- gally kill what they consider an unwanted nuisance, while animal rights activists claim the non- native creature will not have a significant effect on Delaware's ecosystem. "Allowing the hunting and trapping of coyotes and the other animals is not only inhumane, it is irresponsible," said Patricia Haddock, president of Delaware Votes for Animals. "This propos- al could result in the unnecessary suffering and terrible deaths of adult animals and leave many young pups orphaned and unable to survive themselves." DNREC's Division of Fish and Wildlife is proposing a hunting season of Nov. 1 through Feb. 28 and trapping season from Dec. 1 through March 10. Many hunters in attendance caiIed the proposed regulations too con- servative and lobbied officials to allow year-round hunting and trapping. "I wholeheartedly recommend the elimination of coyotes," said Dover resident Teddy Morwitz. "I am a dog person - I hunt with dogs - and I have had dogs killed and dragged off. Anything that can be done to reduce the popu- lation is wonderful." It is believed between 50 and 100 coyotes are present ,in Delaware, an estimation based partially on roadkill data that has found one to two coyotes are killed by automobiles annually. Comparatively, the Department of Transportation removes about 1,000 roadldll deer per year, said DNREC deer and furbearer bi- ologist Joe Rogerson. Rogerson said the presence of coyotes could have both positive and negative impacts on Dela- ware's wildlife. The population of rodents, raccoons and red fox would likely decline, which could increase the population of the ground-nesting birds those animals prey upon, such as wild turkey. "Predator/prey dynamics are very complex issues because we're managing a very adaptive animal that has a very diverse diet, and landscape composition may be a factor," he said. Rogerson said he believes the deer population is productive enough to absorb the anticipated modest level of predation by coyotes. Coyotes have also been known to feast on fruits, vegetables and livestock, which has many farmers also in support of the proposed regulations. "Farming is imp9rtant to my life and so is wildlife," said farm- er Ray Ellis. "These are fierce predators, and we do not need to let them establish. We need to do everything we can to eradicate them." DNREC is not trying to elimi- nate the animal from Delaware. Division of Fish and Wildlife Director David Saveikis said the regulations are meant to strike a balance among the various inter- ests expressed. "If these regulations are ad- opted or a modification thereof, there is always room to change them," he said. "We intend, through the mandatory report- ing, to track the coyote harvest, and if we find the regulations are not sufficient, we will change them." Many hunters strongly ex- pressed their desire for more liberal hunting and trapping seasons, similar to those that exist in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Some hunters also supported the idea of nighttime hunting of the animal. Saveikis said nuisance coy- otes could be addressed through a proposed secretary's order that would authorize all private landowners to shoot coyotes that are considered a nuisance or depredating livestock or do- mestic animals. The order can be issued outside the regulations FILE PHOTO THE DEPART~ENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES and Environmental Control is proposing a 120-day hunt- ing, lO0-day trapping season for coy- otes. and is considered more respon- sive, Saveikis said. He said the department is waiting to see the final regulations before making a decision on the secretary's order. "I think it was important to realize that the combination of the secretary's order and the proposed hunting and trapping seasons provide the tools for landowners to protect their property and effectively manage the coyote population," he said. Cathy Rash, vice president for Delaware Action for Animals, was strongly oppoged to the hunting and trapping seasons because research suggests coy- otes compensate for the loss of population by breeding at earlier ages and having larger litters. "While we understand a few individual coyotes may be a nui- sance to farmers, most are a valuable asset as having a natu- ral predator helps keep smaller animals populations in check," she said. "In the instance of nui- sance coyotes, they should be dealt with on an individual basis instead of opening a trapping and hunting season on all coyotes." After listening to many animal welfare activists speak, Milton residem Ted Palmer described the cruel manner in which coy- otes take down their prey. "I hate the cruelty of animals [but] there is absolutely no com- parison to what a coyote does to an animal," Palmer said. "I'm "ANYTHING THAT CAN BE DONE TO REDUCE THE POPULATION IS WONDERFUL." -TEDDY MORWITZ, DOVER HUNTER tired of hearing about coyote Sept. 19. Those wishing to submit puppies and how cute they are. comments may do so by emailing They are cute, but they are a lisa.vest@state.de.us or sending coyote and they need to be ad- comments to Lisa A. Vest, Public dressed as a coyote." Hearing Officer, Office of the Public comment will remain Secretary, 89 Kings Hwy Dover open until 4:30 p.m Thursday, DE 19901. Dagsboro ANTIQUE Center 28293 Clayton Street, P.O. Box 531 (302) 732-6955 Dagsboro, DE, Rt. 20 & 26 Opposite the P.O. Two floors filled with 40 dealers, furniture, pottery, glass and much more. Come see if you can spot your favorite dealers from Affordable Antiques & Antique Village. OPEN: Monday - Saturday 10-5, Sunday 12-4 One.of-a'kind vintage finds. 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