Do we really have a vicious coyote problem?
|This oddly colored coyote - that perhaps could even be a rare hybrid - is very aware of his environment and well blended with dry grasses in Brandon Township. ( Photos by Ronald Lapp, used with permission)|
|Coyotes, unlike domestic dogs and wolves always maintain a tail down position.|
Fact of the matter is clear: Coyotes cause emotional distress for more than a few residents, however coyotes do not pose a clear and present danger to well behaved humans going about their buisness in Oakland County. We seem to suffer from a wide spread perception problem, a foggy understanding as to why coyotes are here (abundent natural food) and how we should behave around them. And for those that are fearful they will be the next victim of a coyote attack, yes, coyotes are wild and they can bite. In all of North America there was only one fatal attack on a human by coyotes in over thirty years. That was last year: A pair of habituated coyotes attacked and killed a young woman trail hiking in Cape Breton Highlands Provincial Park in Nova Scotia.
Michigan averages 10 humans a year killed by deer (auto-deer crashes) with hundred injured. We don't fear deer. Domestic dogs kill over one hundred humans every year in the United States, with thousands injured. We still consider dogs our best friends. West Nile Virus infected mosquitos killed 25 in Michigan not that long ago. We still went outside. I won't even comment on human to human violence and drunk and distracted drivers~! And to take the statistics game further over 30,000 auto deaths a year. We still drive.
If you want a coyote off your property then you must change your behavior. You be bold~! Yell. Bang pans. Throw anything at them but food. Never ever let your behavior lead to a food reward or a sense of "Welcome! Come on over!" for the coyote. And you never back away or turn and run; that behavior shows you are fearful and acting like prey. Teach your children about them and let them know they should never ever run away. Running can elicit a predatory response. Accept the fact coyotes are here to stay. Breeding season is not that far off and come spring coyotes will turn to our goose problem. They love geese; for dinner. And goose eggs too.
Nature's way is full of surprise and drama and the coyote is an effective and smart player adapting to our human alterted environment faster than we adapt to their ways. And just for the sake of argument lets pretend a local unit of government foolishly bends to pressures and decides on lethal 'control'. As our western states learned over the decades, their foolish, fanatical death-dosing plans of extermination of this highly adaptable creature failed. Nature hates a vacuum and we have created perfect habitat where coyotes 'do their thing' taking down injured deer, fawns, geese, rabbits, mice, rabbits and rats. As winter arrives, coyotes turn to hunting mice and rabbits at the edge of meadows and often visit bird feeders. Not for the seed. Spillage attracts a host of prey species. Let your cat out at night? Not wise. But no one is screaming "control the cars" for they may kill wandering cats or off leash dogs. I for one enjoy the night yips and howls and walk in the country after dark, alone. You can too. Be smart. Be aware. Be coyote wise.
|Note the charecteristic tail down and ears up position even as this coyote trots off to the edge of the woods after an afternoon of resting and mousing in the meadow. The white tipped tail is extremely unusual.|