Furry Nemesis Having Howling-Good Time In California Vineyards


Some California vineyards may need the assistance of the Road Runner in the near future.
This past month several news outlets covered the conscienceless dealings of California coyotes as they chewed, dug and rough-housed their way through vineyards.
“They're the top dog in California, totaling between 1.5 and 3 million,” Fresno County Department of Agriculture Specialist Fred Rinder told Western Farm Press.
The seemingly omniscient omnivores eat nearly everything in sight, the Farm Press article noted. 
“Rinder listed rabbits, carrion, rodents, young deer, insects, raisins, blueberries, watermelons, table grapes … and human refuse,” the article said.
Adding some of Fresno County's wine grapes, while elevating the rascals' poor culinary taste, tends to lower the spirits of winemakers.
Rinder told the Farm Press the pests primarily cause damage to irrigation systems – more than $400,000 between 2001 and 2010. 
In an interview with Capital Public Radio, Rinder said irrigation damage is only part of the problem.
“They'll chew up the drip, they'll chew up the emitters,” he said. “The other problem they have is as they dig their dens as they're digging and chewing, they're chewing the roots of the vine itself.”
The critters build their dens in a variety of places – their homes aren't always easy to spot, the Farm Press said. 
“Coyote dens can be found in rock crevices, sinkholes, dry basins, steep banks, open areas, alfalfa fields, orchards, and vineyards,” the article said. “They can create hazards for machinery operators.”
Rinder told the Farm Press there are several methods grape growers can use to fend of the fuzzballs.
Fencing at least six feet high and topped with a roller guard have proven effective, as coyotes aren't able to grip the rounded fence-top well enough with their front paws to pull up their hind legs and then leap over.
Timed or patterned devices work only for a short time, Rinder said, because coyotes are able to recognize the patterns. 
He also noted that coyotes love pet food and trash – keeping pet food indoors and securing trash can lids can help in deterring coyotes. 
Perhaps the simplest solution, Rinder pointed out, is to use a dog to guard the vineyards. Burros and llamas are also effective guardians of the grapes.
Should any grape growers catch a coyote, the Farm Press reminded readers that “coyotes cannot be moved without approval of the California Department of Fish and Game.”

Mentioned in this article


Add a Comment

Search Articles

Best Wine Deals

See More Deals

Snooth Media Network