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Billboard Coyote Hanging Disgraces South Dakota Outdoors Ethos

I speak as a South Dakotan and a graduate of South Dakota State University.

Someone disgraces South Dakota State University and good outdoorspeople of all school colors by hanging a dead coyote on USD's amusingly snarky billboard in Brookings Tuesday. We hunt for food and fur. We hunt to sharpen our senses, to enjoy the chase, and to more deeply know and appreciate the land we live on. We do not hunt to turn living creatures into gruesome toys of public mockery. Even when we hunt to control predators and protect resources (or even to help Troy Hadrick get some sleep), we do not make tacky displays of blood and carcass, especially not for something as ultimately meaningless as the possible outcome of a football game. Sportsmen have an obligation to the things they kill, even the varmints.

Noem communications director Joshua Shields tweets that the coyote-hangers are "Crazy college kids." Whoever perpetrated the disrespectful display certainly suffers from some mental malfunction. However, I would suggest that "crazy college kids" better expresses the mild amusement we express toward the hardy boys who paint their chest blue and gold and shout shirtless at Coughlin Stadium in November. Let's spare the unfortunate animal namesakes of our college teams the brutish butchery of ill-directed school spirit.


  1. Douglas Wiken 2011.10.13

    Oh well. Nevermind. South Dakota does not have a monopoly on good taste after all.

    However, I do wonder why anybody with any connection to any politician or political organization would express an opinion on this.

    Football is dumb enough without dead coyotes or even jackrabbits.

    More seriously, I raise serious, did I say serious, objections to demeaning a good word like "coyote" and converting it into terminally dumb "Yotes". Sounds like a brand name for some kind of oatmeal cereal.

  2. Bill Fleming 2011.10.13

    Thuggish would be more like it, Josh.

    Think gangsters putting a severed horses head in the bed of a rival.

    Sickening and barbaric.

    Find out who did it and expel them for at least a semester.

    This makes my stomach turn, Cory.

  3. RGoeman 2011.10.13

    Not too many years ago, USD students tossed a frozen dead jackrabbit on to the wooden basketball court at an SDSU game we attended. Kids brought it in under their coat. Kind of a gruesome tradition that goes back and forth...for decades.

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.10.13

    Some traditions need to stop.

  5. mike 2011.10.13

    Cory, You say it very well. Good for you. Shields should be ashamed of himself.

    And why is he allowed to tweet random crap?

  6. larry kurtz 2011.10.14

    In a state whose wildlife agency has ordered the extermination of cougars within its charge and where a moose was assassinated in a hail of gunfire in front of schoolchildren by white Rapid City police personnel, it's hardly surprising that rogue elements would create such a display.

  7. Roger Elgersma 2011.10.15

    The sign is not a disgrace to south dakota since that is what south dakota is to some degree. Those who made it that way and still like it are the disgrace.

  8. Tim Higgins 2011.10.17

    Find out who did it and expel them for at least a semester

    Bill what makes you so sure it is a college student?

  9. Bill Fleming 2011.10.17

    Tim, good point.

  10. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.10.17

    Indeed! How about we find out who did it and revoke his/her weapons permit and hunting license for a year?

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