Coyote sightings increase this time of year

More people are reporting coyotes roaming in their yards.

Just a few weeks ago, Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini shot video of a coyote right outside our News Center 7 studio in Dayton.

VIDEO: Coyote seen roaming near Cox Media building

But experts said there are not more coyotes in the area.

“This increase in sightings is typically because at this time of year, there’s very little foliage,” said Kettering police officer Joe Farrell.

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Also, he said when there’s snow on the ground, like earlier this week, it’s easier to spot them and their tracks.

“So there’s no more coyotes per say, you’re just able to see them a lot easier now,” Farrell said.

The coyote — a slender animal similar in appearance to a medium-sized dog, with a bushy tail — is most active at dawn and dusk.

The Ohio Division of Wildlife said Montgomery, Warren, Greene and Darke counties have what they consider a “high-density population” of coyotes, while other counties in the Miami Valley have a medium density.

They generally don’t won’t stay long if they wander into your yard, but Farrell said it’s a good idea to remove any bait. “I think the best advice we can give is to keep your cats inside this time of year ... keep a small dog on a leash.”

People seeing or hearing coyotes may increase in January as well. This is when they breed, with their pups born in April and May, said Kathy Garza-Behr of the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

“Colder than normal weather can also lead to increased daytime sightings as they are spending more time trying to locate food outside their usual dawn and dusk time frame,” she said.

WHAT DO TO IF A COYOTE IS IN YOUR BACKYARD 

  1. Understand that coyotes are common throughout Ohio's 88 counties in both rural and urban settings. There are no wild wolves living in Ohio. 
  2. Identify that the canine is truly a coyote and not a stray dog. If you determine the animal is a stray dog, contact your county dog warden. 
  3. If you do have a coyote on your property, remove all “attractants” to possibly deter the coyote from returning. This includes removing garbage and pet food before nightfall and cleaning up around the grill. Coyotes prey primarily on small mammals, such as rabbits and mice. Small pets also may be taken. Keep small dogs and cats inside. Coyotes are curious, but generally fearful of humans. Clap your hands and shout in a stern voice to scare off coyotes that are investigating your yard. 
  4. If the coyote visiting your yard seems to lack a fear of humans or is presenting a conflict even after removing attractants, contact a nuisance trapper. Coyotes in rural areas can be controlled through legal hunting and trapping methods. 

Source: Ohio Division of Wildlife

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