I grew up in Whitman County, Washington. (population 42000.) If you check out the county's website, not only are there many pictures of scenic rolling hills and serene wheat fields, there's also this important disclaimer about rural life. It points out useful facts that outsiders should know before they consider moving to Whitman County, such as there are about 200 miles of paved roads and about 1200 miles of gravel and dirt roads. (Should you live on one of the latter two categories of road, your road will not be plowed until it accumulates at least six inches of snow. Good to know!)
Because so much of the area is rural (the largest city, Pullman, has a population of 25000) you see a lot of wildlife. And as in many rural areas, "varmint huntin' " is an important form of entertainment. (Brian once laughed at me when I became upset because one of the gun shops in the Boise area was advertising a sale on "varmint guns" and didn't specify the caliber.) Especially coyotes.
Why coyotes? Partly because they're available and not endangered. But mostly because they're obnoxious. While their tendency to eat anything and everything does mean that roadkill disappears fairly quickly, they also prey on livestock, garbage, and pets. (Average life expectancy of a barn cat: 18 months.)
Hunting coyotes is so entrenched in our collective consciousness that during a discussion last year on the political situation in Iraq, my brother described Anbar province as "It's like hunting coyotes--except you're the coyote."
And then I saw this sign as we were driving through Golden Gate National Recreational Area last week:
Definitely not in Whitman County any more.