Coyotes a growing concern in area

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Coyotes terrorize small animals and get into trash cans in the summer, and it’s best to know how to deal with them safely and legally.
Areas in Union County, like Milford Center, have already seen the start of coyote activity, and there is concern about how to deal with them. Lieutenant Matt Warden, division commander at the Union County Sheriff’s Office, said there are simple ways to deal with coyotes if seen on one’s property.
“Coyotes are scared to death by people,” Warden said. “They get used to surroundings, but yelling, screaming and making loud noises does a great job of scaring coyotes away.”
Though he has never heard of reports of humans being attacked by coyotes, Warden said they will instead go after small pets and livestock. They also go after feral cats.
According to information from the Union County Sheriff’s Office, out of 395 calls made to the sheriff’s office about “miscellaneous animal” problems, six of them involved coyotes.
Despite the low number of coyote complaints, Warden said property owners should still exercise caution.
He stressed not to shoot coyotes in town, as most municipalities have laws against discharging firearms within city limits. According to the codified ordinances for Marysville and each village in the county, “no person shall discharge any… firearm within the corporate limits of the Municipality.”
Warden said residents can shoot coyotes they were fearing for their own or family’s lives. However, he said it’s difficult to prove self defense when coyotes are harassing pets.
He said those guidelines generally fall under hunting laws set by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
“Everybody has a right to defend themselves and their family, so I don’t think it’ll be an issue if those facts are there,” he said.
Though shooting laws within municipalities are tricky for handling coyotes, Karen Norris, from the ODNR Division of Wildlife, said hunting laws concerning coyotes are “very liberal.”
She said since there is a healthy coyote population in Ohio, so there is no closed season for hunting coyotes. However, “the methods you take to harvest that coyote are controlled by municipalities.”
If hunting coyotes isn’t feasible, Norris said there are other ways to deter them.
She said they’re very cowardly toward humans, and aren’t known for initiating attacks against them.
Norris said coyotes have crepuscular habits, meaning they’re the most active during the early morning and dusk. She said they’re also active during the mid to late summer when their pups are old enough to explore beyond their dens.
By observing these trends, Norris said safety can be maximized when protecting livestock or pets.
“If you know there are coyotes in the area, you need to be a good pet owner and responsible pet parent and not let your dog or cat outside unattended,” she said. “Your presence with your pet is going to be the biggest safety measure they have.”
Norris said coyotes aren’t aggressive. She said pet dogs usually initiate attacks against coyotes because they’re defending their homes.
She said coyotes are animals that “simply want to exist,” so they have a higher aversion to whatever bothers them.
“If you make it uncomfortable and undesirable to be in a place, they’re going to go somewhere else,” Norris said.
With Central Ohio having many rural environments, Norris said people are more accepting of hunting and trapping coyotes. In urban communities, she said cities like Columbus and Dublin unintentionally lure coyotes with open sources of trash and an abundance of small pets outside.
If a resident is concerned about coyotes potentially entering their property, she recommended hiring trapping services to help root them out. They can also call the Union County Dog Warden or the ODNR for assistance in removing them.



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