September 28, 2023

Without Coyotes Apples Can’t Be Grown

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For several years the state of Maine has been having discussions about coyotes and their effect on the deer herd and other wild animal and plant species. Some people love wild dogs and go to great extremes to protect them. In the process, propaganda gets passed from dog lover to dog lover and soon is readily acceptable as fact, even though it may lack any real common sense.

In an article appearing on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network website, an apple grower in that state, who opposes efforts to reduce the coyote population in order to save other species, says that he couldn’t grow apples without his beloved “songdogs.”

“My name is Steve Meyerhans. I live in Fairfield and I’ve been growing apples in Somerset County and Kennebec County for 39 years.” Myerhans says coyotes play a key role in maintaining the health of his orchard. “The coyotes come to my orchard. They feed mostly on apples and mice and they will control the mouse population.”

Mice, you see, do serious damage to Meyerhans apples. And if the coyotes go away, Meyerhans worries he will be forced spread Zincphosphide, a toxic mouse poison, on his orchard.

I care not to dispute whether coyotes eat apples and mice but apple growers have been growing apples for a very long time. I seem to even recall a story that goes back quite a few years of a certain apple, growing in a certain garden, that wasn’t supposed to be eaten. But, what I would like to dispute is the fact that it was but 40-50 years ago that coyotes began showing up in Maine. Certainly people were growing apples before that. How did they do it?