'Coyote Cam' on Sullivan's Island captures pack over holiday weekend

'Coyote Cam' on Sullivan's Island captures pack over holiday weekend
Pack of coyotes follow each other across Stanford Kirshstein's private trail (Source: Stanford Kirshstein)
Pack of coyotes follow each other across Stanford Kirshstein's private trail (Source: Stanford Kirshstein)

SULLIVAN'S ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - A Sullivan's Island coyote camera is going viral after it captured a handful of coyotes Labor Day weekend.

Around 7:30 a.m. Saturday, the trail camera caught seven coyotes crossing Stanford Kirshstein's private trail to the beach.

"The light colored one was standing here waiting for the darker colored one to walk through the woods," Kirshstein said.

He said he was shocked when he saw what his motion sensor camera had captured this weekend.

Since Saturday, the video has been seen more than 100,000 times on his Facebook page.

Kirshstein has lived on the island for several years now and knows about the coyote problem, which was part of the reason why he purchased a trail camera.

"I had gotten some animals like deer, even a wild pig at one time," he said. "But coyotes… there's something about them. Coyotes for some reason are sexy. They're so controversial. People love them or hate them."

In January another island homeowner said his dog was killed by a coyote.

That tragedy led the owner to create a petition for town council to try and control the coyote population.

Since then the town is paying independent trappers to try and capture some of the animal around the island.

"I don't think there's a way to get rid of coyotes," Kirshstein said. "There's not. If you could do it, you'd be rich because people have tried it all over the place. When you take one out, a few more come in to take their place. Litters get bigger."

Kirshstein has had his most recent camera for just about a year. However, the number of coyotes he was able to capture on camera over the weekend is by far the largest number he's seen since buying the camera.

"To see seven walking around at one time, that's the unusual thing," he said. "It's probably the litter from this past April, and maybe a sibling or two from a prior litter and an alpha male, alpha female."

"I was surprised," said Carol Brayton, who was on the beach Monday. "Like I said before I wouldn't expect coyotes to be out here."

"I've seen two or three walking together at one time," Kirshstein added. "One time maybe four, but never seven!"

Meanwhile, Monday afternoon Kirshstein captured a video on his phone of coyotes 'howling' in the maritime woods.

He said a siren had gone off from a first responder truck and that's when he started to hear the group of coyotes.

Kirshstein said it's important he stays on high alert, especially for his five-year-old Golden Retriever, Zooey.

"When they're out, we're with them, and they're not out of sight," he said.

As it stands, the town's motto with regards to coyotes is to "coexist" with them.

At nearly every beach trail on the island there are warning signs for coyotes.

If you live on Sullivan's Island, or any coastal area where coyotes may roam, here are some tips for protecting your pets:

Keeping your pets on a leash near the beach especially at dusk and dawn when coyotes are hunting for prey. Keep all trash secured in cans, and avoid feeding your dogs outside because the food can attract coyotes.

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