An aggressive coyote gives reader a scare

Evidence continues to mount that coyotes are taking a toll on both pets and wildlife, as evidenced by this April trail cam photo showing a young Columbia County fawn in the jaws of a hungry coyote.

Our story in June on spiraling coyote complaints in Columbia County generated lots of interest, and might have helped at least one reader save her dog.


Dianne Dome sent me a kind note Wednesday to let us know she read our story one morning while waiting for an appointment, and took to heart the warnings from Lee Taylor, the state’s regional game management supervisor.

Small pets, Taylor had advised, could be vulnerable to coyotes who often hunt at dawn and dusk.

The very next morning, Dome wrote, she decided to stand at the door to keep an eye on Callie, her 13-year-old miniature Schnauzer, as the pet went outside into the yard.

Less than 30 seconds later, a coyote emerged from the woods moving toward her dog.

“I burst out the door yelling ‘NO!’ and he/she scrambled back into the brush,” Dome wrote. “I have no doubt that your article saved my dog’s life.”

Well, it’s always nice to hear from readers, especially when they’re happy with us.

Coyotes are becoming as unpopular with hunters and sportsmen as they are with suburban pet owners.

I also got an e-mail last week from professional trapper William Hooker, owner of Hooker’s Trapping Service, who spends as much time outdoors as anyone and sees a side of nature few others ever get to explore.

Coyotes, he said, are more aggressive than people realize and are continuing to wear down our whitetail population. He even included a sobering trail camera image, taken in April at his property in Columbia County, of a coyote carrying off a newbown fawn.

“I personally would like to see the coyote populations reduced by 75 percent in Georgia and until it has been reduced, Georgia DNR should reduce the numbers of does that are being harvested,” he said.

THURMOND OR CLARKS HILL? There are lots of well-known choice questions and one of them is perennially as popular as “boxers or briefs?”

Most recently, it was posed to me in a letter from one of our readers, Brian Mulherin, asking whether “the lake” is most appropriately referred to as “Clarks Hill or Thurmond?”

He asked if we could clear that up, especially since this is one of those long holiday weekends when folks visit “the lake.”

What’s the correct answer?

It depends on whom you ask. The official state highway map of Georgia calls the lake Clarks Hill, conforming to a Georgia law adopted in the wake of Congress’ 1987 renaming of the lake after Republican U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond, of South Carolina.

Most highway maps in South Carolina, however, call the reservoir J. Strom Thurmond Dam & Lake, as do the Army Corps of Engineers and other federal agencies.

The fuss erupted when then-U.S. Rep. Butler Derrick, of South Carolina, and other politicians thought it would be a nice birthday present for Mr. Thurmond to rename the lake in his honor.

Although the change quietly cleared Congress, it wasn’t so quiet closer to home, where groups name collected petitions with more than 72,000 signatures – all to no avail.

Almost forgotten in the controversy was the lake’s true namesake – an Augustan named John Mulford Clark, who owned land where the community of Clarks Hill, S.C., now sits.

When Congress authorized the reservoir in 1944, the government’s policy was to name projects after towns or geographic areas.

Thus, the dam was named after the community of Clarks Hill and not Mr. Clark.