COONS, COYOTES, COPPERHEADS AND CAMPERS – A COMPATIBILITY ISSUE
Many of the 7 North Carolina State Recreation Areas on Kerr Lake are enjoying burgeoning attendance numbers, but not all those numbers are people camping or having a picnic. State parks have always been a haven for man and animal…wait a minute…hold it…I’m grabbing the flashlight and headed outside….(few minutes later)…I’m back.
While I was writing this update, I had two, not just one, raccoons remove the heavy rocks off my Hibernia trash can and peruse the trash. While that is somewhat annoying and can bring on an early morning cleanup session, annoying is all that episode really was.
Hibernia is one of the areas hit with an unusually high number of racoons, coyotes and even a bear sighting on an adjacent farm. Most of those critters can make a camper hurt themselves or provide some critter jitters but those animals generally don’t attack humans. The coyotes let out a howl sometimes that is a little eery since most of us in North Carolina didn’t grow up with them.
What’s getting pretty tough is the abnormally high appearances of the venomous copperhead snakes. Two people have been reported to have been bitten in Hibernia this year so far and two copperheads have been reported killed while KLPW has been in the park. Officials blame the lack of a cold winter which has apparently given the snakes a head start on the season. A number of sightings have occurred in the more wooded AREA 1 section of the park.
Most often wildlife and park officials are reluctant to take any actions directly against any wild animals. KLPW will be checking with NC Parks and will provide an update.
In the meantime, if you are camping at Kerr Lake and go out at night here’s a few simple rules to follow:
1) Remember that snakes in general seek out warm places at night like an asphalt road.
2) Take a flashlight with you at night.
3) Be observant when picking up sticks or firewood.
4) Take a friend with you on walks.
5) In the water or the woods you are in the animals’ habitat. You have to watch out for them!
6) If an emergency does take place contact your nearest ranger, campground host or dial 911 on your cell phone.
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The main thing to remember is that these critters live here. We’re just visiting. After all, they’re part of the camping experience. For those of us that choose to live here, they’re part of living ‘in the sticks’. Be alert, be smart, and respect the ‘wild thangs’.