Coyotes are not native to Ohio but they have been around for quite awhile, nearly 80 years. According to the Division of Wildlife at Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) most folks believe coyotes are aggressive animals and they fear them for that reason. Most wild animals, including the coyote usually run when they see or hear a human.
Coyotes adapt to their surroundings easily and need three basic things to survive; water, food and shelter. They are moving into cities because of the loss of their habitat and food is scarce. In human populations if coyotes find what they need to live on then this will increase a person’s chance of seeing them.
Coyotes eat pet food or garbage that is left out after dark and it attracts other nocturnal animals as well. Coyotes prefer to eat small animals like rabbits, squirrels and mice, but given the opportunity they will eat a variety of other food sources. They eat fruits, insects, plants and sometimes livestock or small pets left outside if they are starving.
Coyotes usually stay on their home turf in their own territory, when you hear of folks spotting a coyote in the neighborhood it is usually a small group of coyotes. Coyotes are scavengers and will hunt together in non-family packs. These animals can be hunted in rural Ohio all year long by any means but if you live in a city, village or town you need to find out what the local law says about hunting animals within your city limits and that includes discharging a firearm.
If you feel a coyote is a threat to your family call your local police or ODNR wildlife officer. Gather information on where you see the animal, what time and if they are alone or in a pack. If you live in the country, you can take matters in your own hands, according to the ODNR, you have the right to kill any coyote that is on your property. If you are off your property and one threatens you then you can kill it or call them to help if you don’t own a gun or know a trapper. In most cases if a coyote doesn’t act aggressively, but you want it removed from your area then you will need to call “nuisance” trappers or get the trappers names from authorities.
The ODNR says that if a coyote approaches to act aggressively stomping your feet, challenging them and making loud noises, so that the coyote will find you a threat and go away. The only time a coyote may not back down is if you are near their den of babies and they are starving for food and need food to nourish their babies.
Ohio Department of Natural Resources: 1-937-372-9261 or 1-800-WILDLIFE (945-3543).
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