ALTHOUGH RAY ROYCE’S main job is as executive director of the Highlands County Citrus Growers Association, he also has about 80 head of cattle on about 250 acres in Lake Placid.
Royce sold his larger ranch in 2001 and up until then on that ranch, some years he would lose four to five head of cattle to coyote predation per year.
However, nine years later in 2010, Sebring’s Clinton “Gator” Howerton Jr. and Raymond McIntyre came out firing and have helped decrease attacks by roaming Florida Canis latrans – coyotes.
Howerton, the county engineer for Highlands County, and McIntyre, the county’s property appraiser, have been the designated official coyote hunters across the area. It’s an adventurous side job both men say is interesting, exciting and mostly, beneficial to the welfare and health of the South Central Florida livestock industry.
Since February 2010, primarily throughout Highlands, Polk, Hardee and Okeechobee counties, Howerton and McIntyre to date have culled a total of about 520 coyotes, saving profit and livestock for farmers and ranchers.
“It’s great (McIntyre) and Gator are providing this service for the ranchers. It can be a serious problem in Highlands County. A lot of young calves are lost each year,” says Royce.
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