Over the last few nights, I’ve seen and heard more and more coyote activity in the woods behind my house. The yapping and high-pitched howls continue to increase with the onset of cooler nights.
Coyotes are most active at dawn and dusk, especially this time of year. As we progress through January and the winter temperatures inevitably arrive with some consistency, coyotes become more active across the area, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Late January through March is the time of coyote breeding season. During the spring months of April and May, coyotes protect their newborn litters. They become territorial, resulting in a potential conflict with humans and their pets.
During this period of increased coyote activity, there isn’t a need to panic should you see one in your yard or around when partaking in whatever winter outdoor sport of your choice. Coyotes are very common and regularly spotted within city limits in all of Ohio’s counties.
They do not pose a threat like wolves do, as the two are sometimes commonly confused species. However, there is no wild population of wolves in Ohio, leaving residents nothing to worry about in that regard.
Coyotes prey on mammals like rabbits, mice, shrews and various roadkill. Coyotes may, however, attack dogs if they feel threatened in defense of themselves or their young, which, as mentioned before, are in their care around April and May.
If walking or letting your dogs out, keeping them leashed and having control of them can prevent any unwanted attacks should an interaction occur in the coming months.
If you do spot a coyote in your yard, put away your trash cans. Don’t leave any attractants outside like trash, pet food or anything else considered edible. Make noise to deter the coyote from your yard or property. Things like clapping and shouting should get it to move on as coyotes are more afraid of humans than we are of them
While coyotes are naturally curious animals, they are also fearful. Should the coyote not move on as a result of you making loud noises, calling the ODNR at 1-800-WILDLIFE to find a licensed nuisance trapper can help assist in taking care of the situation.
A coyote losing its fear of humans is the one that can potentially threaten neighborhoods and become a problem. Nuisance trappers can eliminate threats in urban areas where problems can arise.
For those in a rural area, coyote management can come from legal trapping and hunting, as there isn’t a closed season for coyote. Visit the 2018-19 Ohio hunting and trapping regulations book for more details.
Expecting a coyote to attack or threaten you during this time of year isn’t practical. But do be aware this season is when humans are more likely to encounter them. Educating yourself and being prepared should an encounter happen with you or your pets can help you handle the situation appropriately.
In the meantime, have a safe muzzleloader season for those going out as the time is running out to fill that last tag. Weather looks mild this weekend and snow-free until we get into next week.