Is Grand Island coyote problem getting worse?

Posted at 7:21 PM, Jan 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-30 10:36:21-05

Grand Island officials are now in the process of collecting information about the coyote population. The action comes as a result of a recent debate over trapping and whether it will hurt or help control the coyote population.

Many residents say they have seen and heard coyotes especially in the areas near Beaver Island State Park - where trapping is illegal by state law.

However, some feel the town needs to do more to control the animals which prey on family cats and dogs during winter months when food is scarce.

Grand Island councilman Mike Madigan is warning pet owners to be extra cautious over the next three months.

7 Eyewitness News reporter Ed Reilly spent the day talking with people about the coyote problem and their thoughts on the trapping debate.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation provided the following information to 7 Eyewitness News to help inform the public about coyotes:

The Eastern coyote is firmly established in New York, and has been present in New York State for about 70 years. They live in New York as an integral part of our ecosystem, and DEC estimates that there are currently 20,000-30,000 coyotes statewide. People and coyotes can usually coexist if the natural fear of people that coyotes have is maintained. As coyotes become more adapted to living near people, hearing or seeing coyotes may become more common. These increased sightings should not be interpreted as aggressive behavior. A coyote seen in overgrown fields, brushy areas, woodlands, or habitats in between these areas of natural cover is normal.

Some background information about Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators:

DEC does issue Nuisance Wildlife Control Licenses to qualified individuals to act as an agent for a property owner or lessee. The licensee is permitted to take, temporarily possess, transport and release wildlife, at any time whenever the wildlife becomes a nuisance, destroys property or menaces an individual or domestic animal.

While people usually enjoy having wildlife around, problems sometimes arise when the activities of people and wildlife clash. Please note that most wildlife is protected by state and federal law, and some control activities may require permits. Licensed nuisance wildlife control operators are listed in the yellow pages under "Pest Control Services."

Below are some steps that DEC recommends to reduce/prevent coyote problems or negative encounters with coyotes from occurring.

  • Never feed or attempt to get close to a coyote.
  • Keep pets under control, and be sure not to leave them out at night. Coyotes may kill or injure a pet, especially small dogs and cats. Walk your dog on a leash and accompany your pet outside, especially at night.
  • Provide secure shelters for poultry, rabbits, and other vulnerable animals.
  • Control other sources of food that may attract a coyote-keep your trash secure and compost bins covered; closely monitor your bird feeders to ensure that they are not attracting other wildlife, and keep dog and cat food bowls inside. Coyotes that rely on wild food sources remain wild and wary of people.
  • Coyotes like areas where they can hide, yet still be near food. You can help by thinning brushy areas in your yard and closing off crawl spaces. Coyotes may use areas under buildings for resting or raising young.
  • If others in your neighborhood are attracting coyotes, tell them about the hazards posed by coyotes and ask them to take the measures recommended above.
  • Be cautious and sensible.
  • People should never try to get close to coyotes. Any coyote that shows unusual boldness or acts tame should be avoided.
  • They are opportunistic omnivores and eat things like seeds, fruit, insects, rodents, small mammals, infrequently deer, and carcasses as they encounter them
  • Home range of 0.5 to 5 miles
  • Regulated trapping and hunting is the preferred way to control furbearer populations, such as coyotes
  • A generous 6 month hunting Season extends from  Oct. 1 to Mar 27

Should anyone notice a coyote acting strangely or causing a nuisance, they can call DEC at 716-851-7000 to report the animal. New York State has a yearly coyote hunting season to manage the coyote population.

Information on hunting coyotes and hunting regulations is listed in the 2015-16 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide and also on DEC's Web Site.




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