From North Carolina – Be Careful, But Night Shooting Feral Hogs and Coyotes Is Legal

August 7, 2012

A while back, I wrote about the North Carolina Resources Commission’s decision to temporarily allow night shooting for feral hogs, as well as for coyotes.  Keep in mind that coyotes have never been a factor in that particular ecosystem, and of course, hogs have never been a factor in North America.  So night shooting isn’t about hunting.  It’s about depredation… and there really is a difference.

Anyway, all of that said, I just got my latest update from the NC WRC publications.  Along with other things, there’s the reminder for folks in the area around the Alligator River.  Red wolves (recently reintroduced to that habitat) look very similar to coyotes.

Coyotes and red wolves can share the same habitats, particularly in the area of the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in eastern North Carolina. The red wolf is a protected species while the coyote is an invasive, nuisance species. If hunters believe they have possibly killed a red wolf, they should contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service immediately because prosecution will not be pursued when such events  are unavoidable, unintentional, non-negligent and are reported immediately to authorized personnel.

The two species have similarities in appearance, but there are general guidelines to distinguish a red wolf from a coyote. Red wolves are mostly brown and buff colored, often with a reddish, cinnamon color on ears, head and legs.  Coyotes tend to be light gray with some black on the tips of outer hair.

The key point is, if you think you screwed up, report it.  There’s no penalty for accidentally killing a red wolf while night-shooting coyotes.  Nevertheless, be careful, dummy.

On that same point, the same press release offered some core, night-shooting safety rules.

Day or night, stick to basic firearm and archery safety:

  • Always point a firearm or bow in a safe direction.
  • Treat every firearm as if it were loaded and never assume a firearm is unloaded.
  • Keep your finger out of the trigger guard and off the trigger until ready to shoot.
  • Be sure of your target and what is beyond your target.
  • Take time during an advanced scouting trip to “walk the field” and identify safe shooting zones:
  • Know your field of fire.
  • Do not use a night vision scope to scan a field.
  • Never shoot at movement, noise, color or shapes.
  • If hunting in a group, know where others are at all times and communicate.
  • Make verbal directions specific so that nothing is left to question.
  • Let someone know when and where you are hunting.
  • Have additional light sources and batteries, and consider protective eyewear.



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