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Modoc County Will Hold its Seventh Coyote Drive

By Stephanie Montano, smontano@krcrtv.com
Published On: Feb 08 2013 08:27:45 PM CST
AIDIN, Calif. -

The 7th Annual Coyote Drive in Modoc County - will go forward as planned.

The drive has always been controversial, but this year it's gotten more attention because of the grey wolf, known as OR-7, which recently made the Northstate its home.

The event is organized by two private businesses in Modoc county, Pit River Rod And Gun and Adin Supply Outfitters. The private sponsorship is part of the reason why the California Department Of Fish and Wildlife refused to get involved when environmental groups asked them to cancel the event.

Since that decision, some organizers have actually received death threats.

Organizer Steven Gagnon, said it is more than hunting Coyotes , it helps their local economy.

"When you take a small community like this and you bring several hundred hunters up into this area from all over the state of California, Oregon and Nevada in the month of February, when there is not a lot going on, it's a real benefit for the economic growth of this area," said Gagnon.

Gagnon is a local store owner who enjoys helping the community in which he lives.

This is the event's seventh year, hunters of all ages from all different areas compete to try and kill the highest number of coyotes. Organizers say the coyotes are killing their cattle.

"We wanted to establish an event were sportsmen and women and youth can come out and take part of an event to help us manage these coyote numbers," said Buck Parks.

All hunters must abide by state rules and regulations. But activists are concerned that the hunters could end up killing OR-7, the first gray wolf to enter California in more than 80 years.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife says that OR-7 has actually spent much of his recent time in Tehama County, and is currently in Plumas County. Even if the wolf was in Modoc County, organizers say it wouldn't be an issue.

The Coyote Drive is a non-profit organization and the money that the group collects from the drive benefits community events.

It also helps with scholarships that go to Big Valley High School students who want to pursue a career in wildlife biology and wildlife management.