Disturbing act

Madville Times blogger Cory Heidelberger and I agree on something. The act of displaying a dead coyote on a billboard in the name of a prank is grotesque.

I’ve gotten several emails from people about the dead coyote hanging from a USD billboard (none of whom think it is funny). Those who brush off the act say it is just a part of the school rivalry. That is more than a sad statement. Animals should be treated with respect regardless of what kind they are. I wouldn’t mind seeing whoever did this face a serious penalty. What sick individual kills an animal for a prank and then hangs it by it’s neck? It’s one thing to be a true sportsman and hunt and another thing entirely to kill for a senseless prank.

I saw this story again on KSFY’s evening news the other night and found it disheartening. One of the students interviewed said almost everyone he spoke with thought it was funny. What kind of a society thinks this is funny? You can check out this story on KSFY’s facebook page and also read or ad your own comments.

I have no respect for the perpetrators of this disturbing act and am upset at those who would jokingly brush it aside as meaningless. This should be condemned as callous and wasteful. The conservative philosophy of respect for life should be consistent, not capricious. Our society should not be tolerant towards this type of behavior.

Tom Lawrence writes about this topic at Republic Insider. It was a good read. Bob Mercer also writes about it at Pure Pierre Politics.

71 Replies to “Disturbing act”

  1. anonymous

    Seeing that picture makes my stomach churn. I’ve spoken with a lot of people who are very appalled by those who did this and the school for such a mild reaction.

    I will withhold my donation to SDSU this year.

  2. LJDAM

    …we murder unborn children in the womb by the thousands, have the audacity to call it “Pro-Choice,” and yet we lament the juvenile pranks of idiotic college students?

    America has bigger problems then the poor taste display of a dead varmint…

      1. LJDAM

        The disparity in woe for the death of a child recycled for science over the callous display of a dead vicious predator, should be the real story. This is a situational case of morale outrage by persons whose vapid souls celebrate the murder of innocent babies under the idiotic guise of claimed civil liberties.

        Where is the lamenting in kind of the horrid display of carnage along our highways & biways of legions of poor innocent deer that fall prey to the motorists and suffer the indignent fate of remaining on display as bloated carcasses across our beautiful state?

        I support the rights of a women over her body; however, at the point she engages in consensual relations and conceives a child, our morale duty is to defend both lives.

        1. Anonymous

          How about we decry both? LJDAM what the HELL is wrong with you?

          Why can’t people care about both? Is there something wrong with people caring about both animals and people? Are we not all GOD’s creatures?

          God expects us to take care of all living things.

          Cory is wrong on abortion but that doesn’t automatically mean he has to be wrong about animals also.

          1. What the Bible says about how we are supposed to treat animals

            God also tells us to be kind to animals.

            Numbers 22:32
            And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me.

            Proverbs 12:10
            A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

            Deuteronomy 22:10
            Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together.

            Deuteronomy 25:4
            Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.

            We should even care about plentiful animals.

            Luke 12:6
            Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?

            Even an enemy’s animal.

            Exodus 23:5
            If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him.

            And to give work animals a day of rest.

            Exodus 20:10
            But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates.

  3. anon

    Don’t forget that the billboard was in poor taste to begin with. Plus, putting it right outside Brookings…. I believe the response is exactly what USD was trying to promote.

    I doubt the first person to post on this issue was going to donate to SDSU anyway, but it looks to me like USD was guilty of the first stupid act. Or, should we say politically incorrect act…because isn’t that what we’re really discussing here?

    1. BF

      Moron. Go take a child you love to look at that and try to explain to them why what were talking about is “politically incorrect.”

      It’s sickening, and politics has nothing to do with it.

  4. Bob Ellis

    LJDAM is right. People like Cory Heidelberger get all worked up over a dead coyote, but killing a child in the womb is something to be celebrated and guarded at all costs. Shamefully distorted priorities.

    1. Arrowhead


      It is sad to hear you say you do not have enough compassion in your heart to go around.

      To be pro life is wonderful. To treat animals with respect is wonderful. Why can’t we do both?

  5. Anonymous

    Boo hoo. The crocodile tears at Madville Times were enough, not here too? My friends, it’s a varmint. It’s a college rivalry. It’s a billboard not any sort of material desecration or vandalism of personal or public property. It’s funny when you are twenty, after that it’s jejune. Reprimand and fine those who did it, it’s wrong and illegal. But look deeper at what bothers you and what doesn’t. The friends of abortion cut off goat heads and dumped dead animals in church parking lots in Sioux Falls in 2008 yet the media including DWC ignored it as a non-story. I’ve not ever conversed with anyone at Madville who cares in the slightest what gets done to children in their mothers wombs and so for him to rise up in pious righteous indignation and faux outage over this is disingenuous. (e.g. Kate Looby’s new cause is the Sierra Club – it’s cathartic -to help people feel good about themselves after being advocates of such evil, they become a voice for the less fortunate fauna of the world.) The earlier comment was right, there are bigger things to get deeply disturbed about. Perhaps we should encourage these energetic students to head west this winter on snowmobiles and go after more real coyotes so our ranchers don’t suffer the livestock losses to the coyotes who rip lambs apart just because they can. If not treating our unfortunate roadkill with respect constitutes “a disturbing act” which must be decried, let’s make sure our zeal doesn’t wane in speaking against a real atrocity and outrage such as ripping apart living human beings without anesthesia just because we can.

      1. 73*

        Why are you justifying it Steve?

        What pro-choicers do is wrong. Don’t use it as an excuse.


        A coyote is an animal. Pure and simple. Treat GOD’s creatures with respect.

        I expect more from a pastor.

        1. Steve Hickey

          73, I didn’t justify it. Read my comment again. I said it’s illegal and wrong and immature. What I did was put it perspective and move us on to more important matters.

      2. BF

        So I take it you?re going to take your little kids over to see the funny dead coyote then, Hickey?


        Any minister who advocates for this kind of cruelty loses all credibility with me. Sorry.

        1. Steve Hickey

          Where did I advocate cruelty? Notice what you are doing. You fixate on the treatment of a coyote which I expressly said was WRONG. Yet you entirely ignore – like it’s invisible to you – the fact that a human being pulls away from pain at eight weeks.

  6. caheidelberger

    …though I must confess, when Bill.Hans says he agrees with me, I think he must be trying to trick me. Listen for the crackle of the walkie-talkie as he calls his psychotic blond henchman Karl….

  7. BF

    So I take it you’re going to take your little kids over to see the funny dead coyote then, Hickey?


    Any minister who advocates for this kind of cruelty loses all credibility with me. Sorry.

    1. Steve Hickey

      Again, where did I advocate cruelty? Notice what you are doing. You fixate on the treatment of a coyote which I expressly said was WRONG. Yet you entirely ignore my point ? like it?s invisible to you ? the fact that a human being pulls away from pain at eight weeks.

      1. BF

        “My friends, it?s a varmint. It?s a college rivalry. It?s a billboard not any sort of material desecration or vandalism of personal or public property.”

        Is that your writing or not, Hickey?

        1. Steve Hickey

          Yes that is my comment – but you clipped off the conclusion of my point which was that it’s wrong, illegal and immature but in the scheme of things its a college prank. If you take or only read a fragment of my statement you can make it say whatever you want, as you have done. I expect more of you BF.

        2. BF

          (Ellis and Hickey would try to turn a thread about the Post Office into an abortion debate if you let them, BC. This situation is ugly on it’s face, and if they can’t see it, they need therapy. One attribute many mass murderers have in common is sadistic treatment of animals.

          1. Steve Hickey

            Whatever. I haven’t written about abortion in months. So, let me get this straight, those who can’t see blatant cruelty to animals need therapy. What do those who can’t see the cruelty that is abortion need? I made my point, so let’s get back to talking about this poor coyote. To prove that I’m a compassionate pastor, I’ll tell you what I’ll do, I’ll open the church up this afternoon for a memorial service for this coyote and all other unfortunate roadkill. BF, I want you to come say a few words.

            1. BF

              You don’t know that it was roadkill, Steve.

              And even it is, that doesn’t mean you get to hang it up on a billboard where little children can see it.

              Same with the gory signs you guys get people to carry around on street corners.

              Believe me, you don’t want me speaking in your church. I’ll have a lot to say about how you abuse young children’s minds and scare them to death with fairy tales about how people they love, and they themselves are going to burn in hell if they don’t do what you want them to do, and think the way you want them to think.

              I guarantee you, you don’t want me there, Pastor Steve.

              1. Steve Hickey

                BF: You have no idea what I teach and don’t presume you do.

                Again, please, forgive me. I’m heading to SAMS CLUB right now to get a case of kleenex because I had no idea there would be such sentiment for this abused coyote. If you don’t like my memorial service idea maybe I could get some candles and we could all hold a vigil at the base of the billboard instead of shooting pheasants tomorrow. Let’s cut funding to these schools to the degree they bow to our demands for justice. Someone please suggest legislation so this never is allowed to happen again. And believe me I have learned my lesson here that it’s ok to feel bad for coyotes but if you so much as hint about what actually happens to the unborn you face an unreasonable rage. Let the silence on all that continue and by God, what’s wrong with you people who sit quietly by when a coyote is strung up?!

                  1. Steve Hickey

                    Why does this turn personal? It’s hate. You lash out at my faith, and whatever else I stick out there. And how easy it is for you to say what you want from a place of anonymity. Sorry you don’t like my writing. I admit I’ve really appreciated and needed the work of editors in the publishing houses that publish my books.

                    1. LJDAM

                      Rev. Hickey, you seem like a decent fellow. Take the gnashing of teeth and the personal attacks as a badge of honor. As a casual reader & occasional poster, our Saviour’s admonitions in John 8:42-44 could have been meant for this one..

                1. pickles


                  I don’t see what this has to do with abortion.

                  I’m totally pro-life but you are being silly.

                  You don’t have to be anti hunting or pro-life in order to think something is distasteful. Visuals have a lot of influence on individuals. How do you think non-hunters view this picture? How do people on the fence view a picture of a dismembered fetus? I’m guessing one turns people off to hunting and the other turns people off to abortion. We don’t like to look at unsettling images.

                  Heck I might go out hunting coyotes after pheasant season’s opener but that doesn’t mean I’m going to be foolish enough to go out and hang them on a billboard.

                  After that I might go to a pro-life meeting or church.

                  All in a good days work.

                    1. Anonymous

                      probably why people are P’d Off. They take this matter seriously.

                      No one likes to be mocked when they feel passionately one way or the other.

                      Glad to see you care so much about the unborn though!!! That is certainly THE cause worth fighting. Animal rights people and human rights people should join forces – I have never understood why we view the discarding of one or the other so differently.

  8. Troy Jones

    Reality #1: Coyotes are predators in which they are hunted primarily to protect other animals (chickens, fawns, lambs, pheasants) as well as too often rabid or otherwise carry disease. Most are just disposed of or left in the field. This person just decided to display what otherwise would be disposed for discretely.

    Reality #2: College kids don’t always think things through. If it wasn’t a real animal, it is kinda funny in a buggs bunny/Elmer Fudd way.

    Reality #3: We too often find insignificant ways to express righteous anger. The fact is this coyote is a predator that public policy supports their eradication.

    1. BF

      Reality number #4. It is indecent to hang dead animals up by the neck on a billboard where little children can see them. It insults the soul.

      It IS a real animal, Troy. That’s the whole point.

      1. Troy Jones

        I agree Bill. I wasn’t trying to justify it. I was just trying to point out the indignation was misdirected. If they had said, it is public and not all who will see it are prepared for it, etc., I’ve have said nothing. That argument was too hidden.

  9. Anonymous

    These are the kind of pranks that give PETA a foothold around the country. The vast majority of hunters across the country are great people but there are a few number through stupidity paint us as bad with a broad brush.

    A lot of it is visual. The fact that you can see an animal that looks like a dog hanging off a billboard looks terrible. And I’m sure PETA would jump at the oppurunity to run with this photo.

    This act should be called out for what it is. Bad for the universal image os sportsman.

  10. Tour SD

    I can only imagine what the people who drove past thought of USD or South Dakota when the saw that on the interstate.

    This looks really great for SD’s tourism industry.

  11. aNON

    How much state money was spent to display that sign in the first place? The same group of people that cry about a lack of education spending waste money on an idiotic billboard. –That’s the real issue. Kids will be kids – I expect the adults who are tasked with spending state money to know better.

  12. Dukembe

    On a related note: with the cost of higher ed out-pacing inflation year after year, why in the world are the universities funding all these billboards within SD? I can see looking for nonresident tuition; but spending my money (both as a taxpayer and parent with kids in SD universities) on advertising within SD — especially for this silly rivalry — seems silly.

  13. ValleyGirl

    Okay. I didn’t know PETA was writing for Dakota War College these days. When I went to school at SDSU, dead jackrabbits were thrown on the floor during basketball games between USD and SDSU and I didn’t hear nearly the ruckus. Dead varmints have been slung for years by both universities and this is really the first time I’ve ever heard a stink.

    1. BF


      “During the 1980s and 1990s, in common with the trend in community orientation, interest, and education, the term [Vally Girl] metamorphosed into a caricature and stereotype of such women: a “ditzy” or “airhead” personality, and unapologetically “spoiled” behavior that showed more interest in shopping, personal appearance and social status than in intellectual development or personal accomplishment.[2]”

      …sounds about right.

    2. Anonymous

      Well it’s about time. And what does PETA have to do with this?

      You bring up PETA and Hickey brings up abortion.

      This is not an extreme issue. It’s common sense. It’s conservative it’s liberal it’s moderate it crosses party lines.

      Enough is enough.

      1. ValleyGirl

        BF: or my name is Val. Either way, by all means, soothe yourself with a “witty” retort when someone disagrees with you. BTW, wikipedia, that is an excellent citation for proving your lack of ability to do real research.

        Anonymous: the original post was in regards to the ethics of hanging a poor little coyote (a paraphrase, of course, but the inference was there) off of a billboard. What is the E in the PETA acronym? That’s all I’m saying.

  14. Anonymous

    As a rancher in western South Dakota, I was pleased to see that there was one more dead coyote that wouldn’t be ripping the guts out of my young and very vulnerable lambs and calves. For crying out loud, coyotes are brutal killers that deserve to be killed. Get a grip!

    1. Anonymous

      As an east river farmer I’m dissapointed in the act these young people made. It reflects poorly on a lot of us who enjoy hunting.

      It’s one thing to protect your heard and another to discrace GOD’s creatures.

      1. Anonymous

        The huge number of coyotes and other predators are the reason that game numbers are way down. I think hanging up the dead coyote was funny. Where is your sense of humor?

  15. Tom Lawrence

    I drove by the infamous billboard today.
    Obviously, it was designed and placed to provoke. It did. Mission accomplished, USD, at the cost of tens of thousands in dollars for this campaign.
    The SDSU students (or supporters) who killed and hanged the coyote reacted. No surprise there.
    I look forward to the resumption of this rivalry but trust people realize this is sports, a mere contest of kids in colorful outfits. Harming animals, even a vicious, skulking predator, and possibly each other, has no place in it. I hope.

    1. 73*

      I could not agree more! Keep up the good work at the MDR!

      Good article also. You are much more in tune than that Mercer fellow : )

  16. GOPDAD

    Where was all of the complaining when dead rabbits or coyotes come sliding out onto the floor at a STATE v U basketball game? Happened all the time, “back in the day”, and nobody bitched about it.

  17. GOPDAD

    Should the coyote have been hung there? NO! But, as a SDSU person I am disappointed that those U frat rats came up with a great billboard. Its funny and it was done in good humor to revive the football rivalry. Dont blame the reaction on the U dudes or duds? Chalk one up for the Yotes, maybe they have a better marketing program than at STATE? GO RABBITS!

    1. cornerstone

      The right reaction by SDSU would have been to have a campus wide competition to come up with a better billboard than USD is displaying. That would have increased school rivalry.

      Now that would be fun!

      What happened was disgusting.

  18. GOPDAD

    Speaking of roadkill. Obama could hire people to clean all of the roadkill up? Now THAT, is a shovel ready project.

  19. CaveMan

    Holy Cow Man; get away from this for just one day and everyone loses their cool about a damn coyote’. Funny though I somehow agree with both sides on the issue of poor taste and picking fights well but in the end this has nothing to do with SDSU or USD. When a slob goes into a field and slaughters half a dozen deer at 4AM with a MAC 10 it does not represent any of the honest law abiding hunters yet the deer is big game and guns are used to hunt; yes even the MAC can be used to hunt with legally if semi-auto slides are installed. (223 caliber or higher) Somehow little minds want to paint the terrific ad by USD as poorly written and the hanging of a dead coyote representative of SDSU students. The State sends GF&P personnel around to pick up all the dead deer as they know they have a responsibility towards taking care of those carcasses while their is a state bounty on all coyotes if the price of the fur goes below $5, so a value has been placed on them. I agree with TJ and Steve above to the degree that a prank of this mild non-life threatening nature has caused such raucous proves we really don’t have much to bitch about here in SD. Cut the damn coyote down off the billboard, bury the thing and shutup!

  20. Anonymous

    I think the dead coyote hanging off a billboard is pretty ugly. But that’s my liberal bleeding heart talking. But are conservatives actually showing compassion here? I didn’t think that was possible.