Active coyotes not a cause for alarmDecember 26, 2019
By ALLEN LAMAN
Have you seen a coyote lately?
’Tis the season.
According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, the prairie wolves are on the move, and Hoosiers may spot more of them during this time of the year.
This should not be a cause for alarm, however. Seeing more coyotes doesn’t necessarily mean they are increasing in number, and problems between humans and the animals are uncommon.
“Coyotes are common everywhere in the state, even in urban areas,” a DNR press release states. “Coyotes become more active during winter, and the bare vegetation this time of year increases the chance of catching a glimpse.”
The release also says young coyotes leave their parents to find a new home in the winter, making them more likely to be seen during the colder months. In January, the animals will be looking to breed, making them even more active, according to the DNR.
Dubois County is no exception. According to Kevin Shepherd, manager at the Great Outdoors store in Jasper, “you’re going to experience it everywhere.”
“Coyotes are everywhere,” he said. “As we approach and get to the peak portion of the breeding cycle, there’s a potential to be able to see more activity. And more activity will extend into daylight hours, which means most of us are gonna have a greater opportunity to be able to see them.”
The animals aren’t concentrated anywhere in particular in the county, and they can be found in towns and cities, as well as wild areas. The DNR reports that where people are, coyotes follow.
“Coyotes like to eat animals and plants that thrive around yards and homes, including rabbits, mice, fruit and squirrels,” according to the press release. “They thrive around people because of the abundant food that comes with human development.”
According to the DNR, coyotes are important members of Indiana’s wildlife community that help control rodent populations and clean up carrion. Shepherd explained that coyotes try to avoid human contact and aren’t particularly dangerous to people.
The predators can present problems for pets, though, and the DNR recommends keeping those animals leashed, in a kennel with a secure top or indoors. Still, many coyotes live around pets and livestock and never have negative interactions with them.
Cleaning up fallen fruit from trees or gardens, keeping garbage secure and making sure pet food and treats are not left outside are all measures that can make a property less attractive to coyotes.
Shepherd said coyote hunting is popular locally, especially in areas that are home to livestock and could be negatively affected by them. Their hunting season runs through March 15. More information about coyotes and hunting licenses can be found on the Indiana DNR website.
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