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Guest Editorial 
This page was last updated on January 06, 2009 .

Metaphoric Control of the Fearsome Coyote(-brush)
by: Betty Bert McHenry, Dalydia Waxwing, Michael Schmidt-Thoms, Sinjun Forbs (a composite1 of miscellaneous persons ), posted 1/3/06

It has been suggested that, just as coyotes devour livestock and wildlife, so also (without appropriate controls) coyote-brush2 threatens to devour some of California's grasslands3. To avoid the possibility of panic(-grass), we would like to discuss possible controls. For both coyotes and coyote-brush, direct controls (e.g., shooting [using arrow-grass, arrowhead, bow-wood, shooting-stars, or trigger plants?], trapping [Venus fly-traps or johnny-jumpups?], chaining [chain-ferns?], and explosives [firecracker plants, cannonball trees, or the Bombacaceae?] are often replaced by more selective, more cost-effective techniques. As many people are aware, selected (expendable) sheep wearing poison-containing collars (euphemistically called "bait") have often been used for coyote control, making the bait sacrificial for other livestock and for wildlife. We propose, as a means of limiting losses to coyote-brush, attaching collards containing poison [poison-ivy, poison-oak, poison hemlock, or baneberry?] to selected plants of lambsquarters, New Zealand vegetable-sheep, sheep-fat, sheep-fern, sheep-fescue, sheep-sedge, sheep-sorrel, or sheepshead-fungus. These would be sacrificed to protect other plants of their own and other species, including some where only the juveniles are at risk. Although it might be argued that not all species at risk from coyote-brush are equally worth protecting, species protected by bait-control might include cow-clover, cowparsnip, cowpea, cowslip, calfshead, goatgrass, horsebrush, horsemint, horse-nettle, horseradish, horsetail, coltsfoot, burrobrush, and mules-ears. Others might be antelopebrush, buckbrush, buckeye, buckbrush, buckthorn, buckwheat, buffaloberry, buffalograss, [false buffalograss?], buffalo-bur, deer-brush, deer-clover, deer fern, deer oak, deer paintbrush, deer-thistle, deer-truffle, fawn-lily, fawn mushroom, elk-clover, elk grass, elk-thistle, [bull tule?], moosewood, bunny-ears, harebell, hares-lettuce, hares-tail, rabbitbrush, rabbit-grass, rabbit-thorn, and squirreltail grass.

Just as with coyote control, this type of coyote-brush control would require careful planning and monitoring, especially to protect non-target species that might be attracted to the poison-carrying bait, such as foxglove, foxtail grass, foxtail barley, foxtail brome, foxtail fescue, foxtail pine, lionsbeard, lionsmouth, [dandelions?], panther-fungus, wolfberry, wolf-willow, and Wolffia, as well as hawkweed, hawksbeard, owls-clover, crowberry, and crowfat. There will be some question, of course, as to the need for (or value of) protecting some of these species (just as there has been with wolves and foxes). If wolf plants are to be protected, the use of wolfbane as a poison is precluded. The question also arises as to whether coyote-melon, coyote-mint, coyote-thistle, coyote-tobacco, and coyote-willow should be included in the target species.

In deference to the ASPCP4 and the Plant Liberation Front5, we would like to suggest that non-violent alternative forms of protection (similar to those being considered for coyote control) might be worthy of study, including the use of guard dogwood, dogtail grass, dog-fennel, dog-mustard, or dogtooth violets. Increased use of Shepherdia, shepherds-clock, or shepherds-purse might also be an alternative to poison-carrying bait.

1 nearly all puns intended
2 common names all from common sources
3 Bay Leaf, November 1991
4 American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Plants
5 see the Northern Nevada Native Plant Society Newsletter (1991) 17(4):6