North Carolina’s red wolf saga is turning into a story we all need to know about.
If you looked up to the sky during a recent public hearing about the coyote hunting ban in five North Carolina counties, you would have seen the plane and banner in the photo above.
For two hours, an unidentified pilot and aircraft flew figure-eights above the public school where the hearing was held, towing a banner that read “GOOGLE RED WOLF RESTORATION SCANDAL” in six-foot tall red letters.
More on the Coyote/Wolf Conundrum
What happens when you Google that phrase? The first search result is a comment thread from NCHuntandFish.com, where one North Carolina resident has centralized his disagreement with the red wolf restoration efforts in the state.
We first addressed the story of landowner Jett Ferebee and the red wolves on his farm in February, shortly after he became the first and only person granted a legal take permit to kill red wolves on his property.
“It wasn’t but a few short weeks after I got [the permit] that the judge banned coyote hunting,” Ferebee said in a recent phone interview. “Can you imagine two canine predators completely protected on the landscape? It was the most foolish thing… and US Fish and Wildlife Service refused to get involved in it.”
MORE ON THE STORY: Judge Stops Coyote Hunting in 5 NC Counties to Protect Endangered Red Wolves
The lack of an environmental impact study executed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to fully understand what the protection of two predator species like coyotes and red wolves means has Ferebee concerned.
“I think they’re realizing now they really overstepped their bounds and probably, the judge doing something as foolish as banning coyote hunting, has brought the whole red wolf program issue to a head,” Ferebee continued.
He insists the coyote hunting ban has likely helped his cause, because it will make the North Carolina Resource Commission “look long and hard at this red wolf program, because without the red wolf program you’ve got no coyote management issues.”
The landowner also thinks that correcting these issues would help reinstate confidence in the US Fish and Wildlife Service among North Carolina residents, many of which he believes are very upset about the issue.
Ferebee has been on the front lines of this on-going situation for close to a decade, and he’s not likely to give up anytime soon. He said he will continue to educate the public about the scandal through the vast records available online and through the Freedom of Information Act until the situation, in his eyes, is made right.
We’ll keep updating this story as it develops, but for now, what started as a private landowner issue may be snowballing into something much greater, with a national effect sure to impact hunters, environmentalists and wildlife in North Carolina and beyond.