Residents in Greenbrier County are concerned about the dense population of coyotes, which has a particularly negative effect on farmers in the area.
Frank Tuckwiller is a sheep farmer in Lewisburg who says that coyotes are everywhere.
He says, “they would just come in at night and they’d kill a sheep and eat it, and then two or three days later they would come back and kill another sheep and eat it.”
According to Tuckwiller, sheep are essentially defenseless which means they are extremely vulnerable to coyotes in the area.
He has had to take matters in to his own hands to battle the packs that would terrorize his sheep fields at night.
“The only way that you can control them is with guard animals. Llama’s work, but they can only handle one or two animals at the most. A donkey will work, they can handle a pack of dogs or several coyotes. And then you get your guard dogs, your Great Pyrenees, which we have,” says the shepherd.
Given their high population, coyotes are legal to hunt year round. But Tuckwiller says, there needs to be an incentive for people to hunt them, something like a bounty.
The fear for farmers is that, if not hunted, coyotes will bring grave danger to the sheep industry. That would mean a shortage in lamb meat, and in fleece.