Monday, November 23, 2009

News Reel - Coyote fears grow

Ok - so I'm way behind in reading the news. I don't often find time to check out the papers but today I made some. I have come to the conclusion that sometimes you just have to make the time because it's never going to fall in your lap. There will never be enough time to do everything so pick the things you do want to do and do them! Anyway, here's the article I stumbled upon this morning. It is a topic I have been reading about all year and I thought I would mention it here since it fits.

This has been a pretty big issue in Ontario papers this year. Basically the gist of it is that Coyotes have been spotted more frequently than ever before. There was an article in the paper a few months ago that listed the amount of money farmers have been paid so far this year in compensation for Coyote kills. Said amount has tripled in the last five years. See below for that info.

We are seeing an increase of Coyote numbers where I live too. Just on Friday I drove by a rural elementary school. Beside the school they are doing construction and putting in a new subdivision. I don't know where all the workers were (it was lunch time so probably they went to town for a bite), but not one of them was about. There was however, a large Coyote hanging around in the construction site near the treed area between the elementary school and the backhoe. Lovely, eh? Never used to see them during the day but they are everywhere around here now.

I have lived on a farm in rural Ontario for many years. Before this year I have never been concerned with going out after dark; in fact I never thought twice about it. We have outdoor barn lights that are on solar energy and run all night long as well as night time radios, interior lights on timers, etc. running in the barn to keep predators at bay. Historically, the Coyotes generally stay away from our place and turn away to run if they see people. Unfortunately, our precautions are not working as well and these predators have come within a few meters of me and my dogs at night. We often spot them farther out during the day time and they usually stay pretty far then. I expect that soon enough they will come closer. Let them get hungry enough and they will come.

By the way ... in case you were wondering ... It's an extremely uncomfortable feeling to be hunted and I don't wish it upon anyone. You can tell they are thinking about it with the way they stalk around.

At this point, every time I walk outside with the dogs after dark I have something with me to fend off the Coyotes - baseball bat, big stick, flash lights. So far I haven't needed them *knock on wood* but that doesn't mean that I haven't started target practice with the .22. I don't want to shoot anything but if it comes to a choice between me and my dogs or a pack of Coyotes ... well, I'm sure you can bet which I will pick. I wonder how long it will be before I have to start taking it along with me during the day time as well?

Around here, there have always been instances where the Coyotes call out to the local farm dogs. When the dog goes out to investigate, the pack moves in for the kill. At this rate of increased sightings I can expect in the near future that we will be increasing our numbers of guardian animals. Even though we have never lost a dog to a Coyote attack, I certainly won't be letting my guys outside without supervision.

Day or night.

I don't recommend you let your guys out alone either; regardless whether you are in rural or urban areas. The Coyotes don't care if you are in a "safe" subdivision or on a farm. They are everywhere; hopping fences and grabbing pets/livestock. Keep your pets safe and make these important decisions for them. They are your responsibility and depend on you.


Cyndi and Stumpy said...

The number of coyote related in stories in Massachusetts' urban areas grow daily. The coyote are getting braver, more numerous and even run in packs (coydog hybrids?) A few years ago, ithad been 50 years since a coyote on human attack had been reported. In the past two years, just a quick look on google shows 6.

I am in Arizona, now, and coyote inmy yard is a daily occurence, multiple times. right now, they are skittish and wary, fleeing if I make a news in the house. I hope it stays that way. I enjoy watching them, and the puma, too... but I like that they are easily frightened.

Mel, Foxtail Farm said...

I lived in Arizona for 15 years and saw many, many coyotes (especially the last two years, when I lived on acreage out in the desert). Coyotes are cowards, and it's extremely unlikely that they will attack an adult human or larger livestock. A lot of times, they get blamed for attacks by loose/feral dogs. I guess it's unnerving to have new predators show up that you're not used to, but probably the worst problem you'll have with them is getting into your garbage. They will eat cats or small dogs, so small animals like that need to be protected, but even most goats are big enough to rarely be a target.

GoLightly said...

I think it can largely be blamed on people leaving food out, or letting their small animals out loose.
Free food to a coyote is irresistible.

My dogs are both 40 pounds. Too big for coyotes around here. I see them, and hear them, but they are never a concern or issue, for me.
They are cowards, as Mel said.
But they will thrive wherever there is easy food.
That's just nature at work.

Many of the worst offenders, imo, are coy-dogs. Hybrids. They are much tamer than coyotes. Much more dangerous.

LOL, reminds me of my husband's GSD Sam (all 100lbs of him).
The coyotes would come over and grovel to him. Then he'd put the run on them. A pack of coyotes was nothing to Sam.
He played with the few wolves still remaining in our area, until they disappeared.
Sam tried to introduce me to one, one day.
Scared me, and the wolf, reallly bad.
Sam could not understand what the big deal was.
They were his friends!

A Large dog is your best defense.
Your own confidence is also a good defense. Carry a big stick, and a noisemaker.

sorry for the novel!

I just don't want to blame coyotes for our foolishness.

My old neighbours had a heck of a time with skunks and raccoons and coyotes.
They left food out for their cats, 24/7.
It's like ringing a dinner bell, for goodness sakes!

Viatecio said...

LOL, GoLightly, about your story with Sam! That would have been hilarious to see the poor dog's face get all puzzled.

As for the coyotes, I was actually concerned for our suburban population this summer. We depend on them to keep down the rabbit population and it seemed as though the bunnies were outbreeding the most concerted eating efforts...either that or there were just no coyote around. The dog isn't outside without one of us anyway, and everyone (not including the one elderly couple who just let the Schnauzer roam ALL OVER) in my neighborhood is generally good about keeping an eye on their dogs, having dogs bigger than what a coyote would tangle with, and not leaving food out. We haven't even seen any on our friends' properties in the country; usually we catch a glimpse as they run away.

So as much of a pest as they are, and a danger to domestic animals, I for one am concerned about our population. Now the DEER population...if it were legal to hunt in the city, we'd have ourselves some home-harvested venison and enough extra for homeless shelters.

GoLightly said...

We had a terrible problem with mange, in coyotes, wiped out the population for a while.
I think they're coming back a bit.
I'm seeing MANy more raptors.