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Coyotes Ravage Maysville Woman's Watermelon Crop

By Ellen Bacca
Published On: Aug 09 2012 05:54:32 PM CDT
Jones County -

Lois Simpson has written two books on farming, neither of them have any mention of a coyote. But for over two months coyotes are all she can think about.

"About two months ago is when we first started seeing them They came in when the melons were about that big," Simpson says.

At first she says they weren't too much of a problem, only snagging a few small melons a day. But quickly the animals started attacking her prize 100 pound pieces of fruit.

"I was willing to share my baby melons with him, even though he was eating me out of house and home," she says, "But when he gets to my big ones and he eats my big melons that I get $20 to $30 dollars for, it's just kind of heart breaking to say the least."

Simpson says she has been losing anywhere from $100 to $300 dollars each night to the beasts. Other farmers in the area have been seeing similar problems. Normally it is illegal to trap or shoot coyotes. That changed August 1st. Residents are now able to hunt coyotes at night. But local farmers say they are ill equipped. They are planning to offer a bounty to skilled hunters to help them kill the animals when they come out to roam at night. But for Simpson, it may be too little too late. She only planted five rounds of crops this year and is already beginning to harvest the fifth.

She says frequent rains have been hurting this round of melons as badly as the coyotes. She says melons are swelling and bursting or rotting before they can harvest.

But throughout it all, she remains hopeful. In fact she says, she may write another book... this time about coyotes.