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Coyote trapper busy in the area

November 30, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Just days into the firearms season for deer hunters, one Clear Spring man reported he already had harvested four animals.

Some mornings, Richard Deneen said, he hears the voices of a different kind of hunter.

"If I get out early in the morning, I hear packs of them ... every once in a while," Deneen said Tuesday.

Beside deer, some hunters could be seeing coyotes this year. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources allows coyote hunting in all counties year-round with no limits.

It also establishes seasons for trapping the animals, which resemble small German shepherds.

Curtis Firey, 32, of Clear Spring, said he used to trap about five or six coyotes a year, but in recent years, he has seen more of the animals. In the last two years, he said, he trapped 40 coyotes.

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"You hear a lot of guys talking about them, seeing them and hearing them howl at night," Firey said Wednesday.

So far this year, Firey said he has trapped eight coyotes.

Of the 20 or 30 farms where he said he has set traps, most are west of Hagerstown in the Clear Spring area, Firey said.

Firey said sometimes he asks farmers for their permission to set traps, but they also come to him to rid their farms of nuisance animals, such as coyotes. Coyotes can kill calves and other livestock, he said.

According to information available on the Department of Natural Resources' Web site, coyotes are a western species that were first documented in Maryland in 1972. They now live across Maryland, but the highest densities are in the western counties, the Web site reports.

Deneen said he is not convinced by some hunters' contentions that coyotes are killing off deer, but he believes the animals will kill fawns.

"When people's dogs and cats come up missing, that's usually what kills them - coyotes do," Deneen said.

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