Their leader is Rep. Frank Niceley, R-Hollow Stump near Strawberry Plains. An Obama birther and conspiracy theorist par excellence, Niceley went on a bizarre rant—even for him—at last week’s meeting, accusing the state’s wildlife management agency of introducing coyotes into Tennessee and warning even our toddlers aren’t safe from these dangerous predators. Here are excerpts from his diatribe:
Let’s talk about the coyotes. The TWRA brought the coyotes in here to control the deer herd. Their biologists are not dumb. They knew these deer in an ideal situation like this would explode. So they brought these coyotes in here to try to keep the deer population down. Now then these coyotes, they kill the calves. There’s no telling how many calves disappear in the middle of the night, and you go out there and it’s not there and you know the coyotes got it. It’s a huge problem. I have 80 head of sheep and the coyotes got into them, and they killed 60 head of sheep before I could get them behind a tight fence.
These farmers need some relief. Between the deer eating their crops and the coyotes eating their animals and the coons eating the cat food off the back porch, we’ve got problems, and you all are not addressing the problems.
Well the coyotes, when they get thick enough, will start getting kids out of the yard. In California every year you have coyotes going into subdivisions getting a toddler. It’s just a matter of time before you’re going to have that on your plate.
Niceley also claimed the TWRA is "demonizing the hog" with "money from Washington." Gasp! He won support from another committee member, Rep. Andy Holt, a pig farmer from West Tennessee. Holt complained about "radical environmentalists" who are stopping him from blasting away willy nilly at white-tailed deer or other wildlife that offend him.
"Who do you think owns the wildlife?" Holt asked. "We’ve established that there’s been wildlife preservation. My concern is who will stand up to preserve the rights of landowners who wish to optimize the use of their privately held lands which are now adversely effected by wildlife populations."
The joke around Legislative Plaza is that state officials gave coyotes swimming lessons in Arkansas and that enabled the animals to make it across the Mississippi River and into Tennessee. TWRA also is handing out little parachutes to rattlesnakes to bring more of them into our state. The chuckleheads on this committee would be really funny if they weren't in charge of making laws.