Nova Scotia

Calls for coyote cull from N.S. farmers

Some sheep farmers in Nova Scotia are calling for a coyote cull, saying their size and number have increased in the past few years.

Some sheep farmers in Nova Scotia are calling for a coyote cull, saying their size and number have increased in the past few years.

Art and Maggie Perry, who run a sheep farm in Hilden, said they've lost 46 sheep to coyotes this year. Maggie Perry said it's the worst year they've had in 30 years of farming.

"We had a problem a few years back but not like this," she said. "The coyotes used to be afraid of you and now they're not."

Perry said incidents like the one in Cape Breton last week — when a 19-year-old girl was mauled by two coyotes — could happen on her farm. She said on Oct. 31, a coyote killed and dragged a 160-pound ewe from her field.

"If they can take down a 160-pound sheep, they can easily take down a person or a child," said Perry.

Perry said she's had three close encounters with coyotes this year, including one instance when she was followed.

"I turned back a couple of times and the faster I went, the faster he went," she said. "They tell you, you know, when you're confronted by a wild animal, you just back off slowly.

"My first instinct was to run, and I did."

The Perrys said they've trapped 12 coyotes and shot one, but that doesn't seem to have made a difference.

"Every time we catch one we think, 'Oh gosh, that's going to be the end of it,'" said Art Perry. "They don't seem to be intimidated."

John Crawford, a sheep farmer in River John, said he'd also be happy to see a cull.

"I'd be happy to see every coyote in Nova Scotia shot, it wouldn't affect me one way or another," he said. "They're nothing but a nuisance."

Crawford said he was having a problem with coyotes until he got a dog that roams the property at night.

The Perrys said they've tried putting a llama in the field with the sheep to keep the coyotes at bay, but it hasn't worked.

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