Ohio wildlife biologists are frequently contacted by concerned residents who spot coyotes in highly developed areas. This is often not cause for alarm. Coyotes are highly adaptable animals that live in a wide variety of environments thus there is no need to report sightings to wildlife officials unless the animal appears hurt, sick, or habituated. Here are a few steps to keep in mind when you encounter an urban coyote in your area.
1. Understand that coyotes are common throughout Ohio’s 88 counties and are regularly seen within developed areas. Read more about coyotes at the Department of Natural Resources at http://ohiodnr.gov/. (Use the search window)
2. There are no wolves living in the wild in Ohio.
3. If you spot a coyote on your property, make sure to remove all “attractants” to deter the coyote from returning. This includes removing garbage and pet food primarily before nightfall and cleaning up around the grill. Do not feed coyotes directly.
4. Coyotes prey primarily on small mammals such as rabbits and rodents. However, interactions with domestic pets do occur sometimes. Keep small dogs and cats inside (especially after nightfall) or leashed when outside. Motion-sensitive lighting tends to be helpful too at keeping wildlife away from your home.
5. Occasionally, an inquisitive coyote will stay put and watch you curiously. Make noise. Clap your hands and shout; the coyote will likely move on at this point. If it doesn’t, throw objects like rocks at it to scare it away. A coyote that loses its fear of humans could potentially become a threat.
6. If the coyote visiting your yard does not respond to harassment techniques such as loud noises or it is presenting a conflict even after removing attractants from your yard, contact a nuisance trapper. Nuisance trappers use highly regulated techniques to reduce urban wildlife conflicts. Coyote populations in rural areas can also be managed through legal hunting and trapping methods. Consult the yearly “Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations” digest for more information.