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Co-existing with coyotes
Education and prevention best defense as coyote sightings increase
Coyote - photo by Photo provided / Coastal Courier
SOCIAL CIRCLE — The distinctive call of the coyote or “song dog” can be heard all across our state, from the more welcoming rural areas of wooded forests and open fields to the less inviting backyards of metro Atlanta neighborhoods.
Rapid human population growth across the state coupled with the coyote’s unique ability to adapt and thrive wherever food is available, contributes to today’s increased observation of coyotes in urban settings. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division encourages residents to educate themselves and take the proper precautions essential in co-existing with coyotes.
Though the coyote’s principal diet typically consists of small rodents and fruit, they are characterized as “opportunistic” and will prey on small domestic animals if given the opportunity. Because of this, small house pets (especially cats), young or small livestock and poultry are vulnerable and susceptible prey.
WRD advises landowners and homeowners to heed these precautions:
• Take pets indoors during the night, as this is the coyote’s primary hunting time. (In addition to coyotes, small pets may fall prey to free-roaming dogs and great horned owls.)
• If the pet must be kept outside, install fencing and flood lights to discourage predators.
• Small livestock or poultry should be kept in an enclosed or sheltered area.  Coyotes rarely bother larger livestock, although they are often blamed for such nuisance instances. (It should be noted that free-roaming dogs, rather than coyotes, are notorious for harassing, damaging or killing livestock.)
WRD encourages residents to also heed the additional following tips in an effort to minimize coyote food sources and lessen the likelihood of nuisance coyotes:
• Never feed a coyote.  
• Keep items, such as grills, pet food or bird feeders off-limits. Clean and store grills when not in use, keep pet food indoors or feed pets indoors and refill bird feeders infrequently and in small amounts.
• Make trashcans inaccessible. Keep lids securely fastened or store trashcans in the garage until trash day.
Additional solutions against nuisance coyotes include trapping and/or hunting.  Because coyotes are a non-native species in Georgia, there is no closed hunting or trapping season. WRD does not offer trapping services, but maintains a list of permitted and licensed trappers across the state.  Residents interested in hiring a private trapper can contact the local WRD office or call 770-918-6416 for a referral. For more information regarding coyotes, visit the WRD website at, contact a WRD Game Management Office or call (770) 918-6416.
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