The S.C. Department of Natural Resources’ reward of a free lifetime hunting license if you kill certain coyotes is likely to go up in a puff of smoke on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton, where the population of both people and coyotes is rising faster than a roadrunner.
You can’t shoot them on Hilton Head, and how many experienced trappers do we have roughing here in Culdesackistan?
But Michael “Mick” Mayers, Hilton Head’s “pseudo-retired” deputy fire chief, has a genius idea.
Anvils. We need anvils.
“The first thing to spring into my head was an anvil,” Mayers said of the stunning moment he realized that animal he saw lurking on the side of Spanish Wells Road was not a deer or a dog, but a wily coyote.
You can tell Mayers was raised right: watching “Fast and Furry-ous” Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons featuring Wile E. Coyote. He rigged up absurd contraptions found in the Acme Corporation catalog, but they never worked in capturing the speedy roadrunner. Their adventures often involved dropping anvils off cliffs. Beep beep.
Mayers had seen coyotes in the vicinity of his old office near the Hilton Head Island Airport. He had heard that the airport staff had to go Acme to get coyotes off the runway.
And then he started seeing Facebook posts about coyotes spotted in the Big Woods and Headlands neighborhoods in Hilton Head Plantation.
So he he chimed in on Facebook himself. “Thought I saw a coyote alongside the road on the way home last night, so I went and picked up this anti-coyote device.”
It was a picture of an anvil he dragged off the internet.
“I wish I could get ahold of an anvil,” he told me this week. “Several people wanted to buy that anvil. I guess they’re pretty hard to come by. Maybe that’s the reason we’re seeing more coyotes.”
Others got a kick out of it as well. Chris Watson said: “Now you just have to get it to the top of the butte. I just don’t remember where the butte is on Hilton Head.”
In our cul-de-sacs, where the deer used to roam, the nocturnal coyotes will eat plants and cats and small dogs. And they carry rabies.
They came from out west, where Wile E. Coyote roamed, but have long since crossed the Mississippi River, and more recently swam to Hilton Head. DNR says they were illegally brought into the Upstate about 40 years ago for hound running. Now they’re in all 46 counties.
“They’re here to say,” recently retired DNR veterinarian Al Segars told me.
“They’re very smart. They’re adaptable. They’re kind of like raccoons on steroids.”
They can have an enemy in our trusty old alligators.
But they’ll have an unwary friend in anyone who leaves pet food outdoors.
Hand me that anvil.