Hunting coyotes OK in wolf territory, wildlife panel says

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission approved temporary rules Thursday that allow daytime hunting of coyotes in five counties where red wolves roam.

The statewide open season on coyotes prompted a lawsuit last year because wolves, which look like coyotes, were being shot. A federal judge banned coyote hunting in wolf territory, but later modified the ban to allow daytime hunting.

The temporary rules the commission approved allow coyote hunting from a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset on private property in Beaufort, Dare, Hyde, Tyrrell and Washington counties.

The commission also recognized red wolves, for the first time, as a state-listed threatened species. The federal government considers the species endangered.

The commission said it will develop rules to make daytime coyote hunting and the wolf designation permanent.