I read with interest the letter headed “Badge Of Honor In Cowboy Capital” (Dec. 7) regarding the coyotes hanging from the fence. It brought back memories of my youth.
I lived in rural Oakdale in the 1930s and 1940s when everyone that lived outside of the city limits owned livestock or poultry or both. At the time a burgeoning population of coyotes was taking a heavy toll on furry and feathery farm creatures including house pet and newborn livestock.
As a result of a strong outcry from farmers and cattlemen, the State of California hired professionals to reduce the coyote population. We referred to these people as “state trappers.” The state trappers used guns, traps and poison to perform their duties.
At the same time there was a bounty on coyotes. If you produced a pair of coyote ears at City Hall you would collect $2.00.
When a trapper collected a coyote he would hang it on the land owners fence as proof that he was doing his job successfully. This caught on and when a landowner would kill a coyote he would do the same thing to show his neighbors that they had one less coyote to worry about. Thus, a tradition was born. I must mention that no coyote was ever strung up that wasn’t deader than a doornail.
This may seem gruesome, sadistic and repulsive to some people as noted by the writer of the aforementioned letter but I believe it was a form of country communication.
I think what we have here is some old timer bagged a few coyotes and in keeping with the country tradition he grew up with he hung them on the fence.
No more, no less.
In regard to the letter writers quote from Mahatma Gandhi, she failed to mention that the great leader was referring to live animals.