Coyote hunting at night with the aid of an artificial light will be disallowed temporarily in five counties — Dare, Tyrrell, Hyde, Washington and Beaufort — pending the outcome of a lawsuit questioning the temporary rule adopted by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway issued a preliminary injunction halting coyote hunting at night with the aid of artificial light only in those five counties. The order was issued in response to a complaint filed by the Southern Environmental Law Center, on behalf of the Red Wolf Coalition, Defenders of Wildlife and the Animal Welfare Institute.
“While we accept the judge’s decision, it is important to note that this is a decision on a preliminary injunction only. It is not a decision on the lawsuit,” said Wildlife Commission Executive Director Gordon Myers. “We remain confident of our position and its merits.”
The Wildlife Commission passed temporary rules in July allowing the taking of coyotes and feral swine by hunting on private lands at night with a light. Night hunting is one means of controlling localized populations of coyotes and feral swine, both of which are non-native to North Carolina, destructive to the landscape, and potential disease carriers. Coyotes also pose predatory threats to pets and livestock.
The preliminary injunction issued today by the Superior Court only applies to hunting coyotes at night in Washington, Beaufort, Tyrrell, Hyde and Dare counties The order does not prevent taking of wildlife, including coyotes and red wolves, while in the act of depredation. It does not affect hunting feral swine at night with the aid of a light.
The preliminary injunction will remain in effect pending the final ruling by the Superior Court on this issue.
Wildlife Officers in the five-county region will work to alert hunters about today’s ruling.
Image courtesy N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission