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Harnett Farmers Go On Defense Against Predatory Coyotes

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HARNETT COUNTY, N.C. — Coyotes aren't supposed to live around Harnett County, but they do. Now one farmer is on a mission to protect his cows.

Harnett County farmer Ted Gardner says coyotes are killing livestock throughout the area. He believes the wild animals are eating two or three calves on his property each year, costing him roughly $1,500 annually.

"That's my livelihood," said Gardner. "That's my income. It's just like somebody coming and robbing you on a regular basis."

Park rangers say coyotes are popping up more and more in North Carolina. All 100 counties have had sightings. Coyotes used to only live west of the Mississippi River, but they have slowly worked their way east to places like North Carolina.

"They're looking for resources," said ranger Rebecca Montaldo. "They're looking for food. They're looking for better breeding grounds."

Gardner's now something of a coyote expert. He studies them and has permission to kill them to protect his livestock. He is also a wildlife damage control agent, so he can give similar permission to other farmers.

"It's like having a gang," he said. "The more numbers you have, the more problems you're going to have."

Gardner says other people in the area are having problems with coyotes too. Some blame them for killing llamas and family pets.


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