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Reports of Coyote Sightings Increase in Nearby Communities

Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials say the animals are more visible this time of year because it's their breeding season. Have you seen one in Fenton? Leave a comment!

According to Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials, coyotes are more common in rural Livingston County than any of the surrounding areas, yet there has been in increase in sightings in areas such as Canton and Farmington Hills.

However, Livingston County law enforcement officials said that they have not received any word of increased sightings. 

[Have you sighted a coyote in Fenton? Leave a comment!]

One Hartland resident says her family is feeling the strong presence of coyotes, sometimes too close for comfort, in her own backyard.

"We had a coyote run through our backyard," Lynn Ruona wrote in an email to Patch. "My husband and golden retriever were out walking and it ran right past them trying to chase down a deer."

Ruono, who lives in the area of Pleasant Valley and Hyne Road said this also wasn't the first incident for her and many of her neighbors. Last year, one coyote had even chased Ruono's 80-pound golden retriever right up to her front porch.

"I was on the porch screaming and yelling but he/she showed no fear of me at all," she wrote.

Coyotes in Hartland are nothing new, however. In 2010, Patch reported that two subdivisions had been put on alert and told not to leave children and small pets unattended after coyotes had been spotted in the area.

According to Tim Payne from the Wildlife Division of Michigan's Department of Natural Resources, however, an increased coyote presence in suburban areas does not necessarily signal a problem.

While coyotes often are associated with the wilderness of northern Michigan, they can thrive in urban and suburban areas, Payne said. Because of an abundance of small rodents and, in warmer months, vegetables growing in gardens, coyotes often occupy the same spaces as humans.  

Julie Oakes, DNR Senior Biologist for the Livingston County area said coyotes are more visible this time of year because it's their breeding season. The typical coyote breeding season begins in January and lasts through March. 

Oakes said that coyotes' main diet consists of small rodents, such as rats, mice, rabbits and even sometimes roadkill. 

"They hunt at night, so unless you're letting a small 2-year-old child run through the fields where they're hunting at night, they're not a danger," she said. "But their opportunistic. If an animal (dog) comes into their path, their known to attack, but it's not usually to eat them. These incidents usually happen in the spring and they attack to protect the pups in their den." 

Oakes said that bird feeders are one of the biggest attractors that bring coyotes up to houses. 

"That (feeder) is what's attracting rats, mice, raccoons and everything else that come in at night to eat that bird feed, and then the coyotes come up and hunt those critters," she said.

If a coyote does pose a threat, though, Payne says Michigan's laws allow the animal to be killed. However, he says such problems can be rare.

"We want people to live with wildlife and enjoy coyotes," Payne said. "Most of the time they are not a problem."

If you encounter a coyote

To assist in minimizing a potential conflict with a coyote:

  • Never approach or touch a coyote
  • Never intentionally feed a coyote
  • Eliminate all outside food sources, especially pet food
  • Put garbage out the morning of pick-up
  • Clear out wood and brush piles; they are a habitat for mice and may attract coyotes
  • Do not allow pets to roam free when coyotes are present—consider keeping pets indoors or accompany them outside, especially at night

Because residents share the community with wild animals, a coyote sighting should not automatically be considered a cause for concern.

candice montie March 01, 2013 at 11:52 AM
We see them pass through once in awhile but thats why I live out here. you have to be smart
C.C. March 01, 2013 at 01:06 PM
We live in the city of Fenton and have one in our yard who is a regular visitor. Our pets are in before dark and supervised for late potty calls. Very beautiful creatures!
LD March 01, 2013 at 03:35 PM
Have heard a LOT of cpyote activity behind our home in Flushing lately. Now I know why. Thanks for article.
mrs. k. March 01, 2013 at 04:20 PM
we are taken away some of their Habitat, they only do what is natural to them looking for food. Watch your pets.Respect our Wild Friends.
Leslie Ellis March 01, 2013 at 09:10 PM
You're welcome, LD!
Cathryn Therese March 03, 2013 at 12:36 AM
Did you know that coyotes can climb and jump a fences easily? They can carry mange and defecate all over their lovely worm loads. Small children/toddlers, small pets, small dogs, and cats are not safe in a fenced backyard unattended. Coyotes are powerful and can tear up many different types of fencing. Poultry fencing and non woven rabbit fencing are child's play for a hungry coyote. I am not happy at all to have coyotes in our city.
Kristi Anderson March 03, 2013 at 03:55 PM
We had one chasing a rabbit in our front yard yesterday morning in broad daylight. We went out the to chase it off and it just stood there for a few and finally walked off. We live in Byron and have been hearing/seeing a lot more than normal.
DON March 03, 2013 at 05:03 PM
I hear them near Center road and Green road in the early morning hours about 4:30am at a friends house, sounds like a pack passing through near North Ore Creek heading south.
Cathryn Therese March 03, 2013 at 07:41 PM
Mrs. K, Coyotes flourish where there are people. We have not taken their habitat, they move into areas where there are people. They carry parvo, mange, rabies, distemper, ET... Defecate their worm loads in your yards and will return over and over again in the hopes of getting what they perceive as an easy meal. As a pack they'll call a large dog to them and kill it. Your cat is a snack. Coyotes make no distinction between a pet, toddler, and their usual prey. Forget trapping them or snaring them, they'll dig around the traps but not go into them. Friends dealing with them have had calves and foals eaten alive by coyotes as the calf and foal are being born. People need to put their trash out in the morning in barrels, no outside feeding of dogs and cats, no bird feeders that attract mice, voles, and rabbits because they attract coyotes. Coyotes are not afraid of people, lights, and sounds, and quickly figure out the predator eye lights are just that. Coyotes are not an animal to respect except to protect your pets, and smaller family members. What if a coyote decides an area around your home is a good place to have their pups? You'll find yourself with a heap more problems than you ever dreamed off.
Norm Mackey March 26, 2013 at 06:17 AM
It is unfortunate that there are so many people frightened and intolerant of these unique, intelligent, and sensitive animals. I would suggest researching the phrases "living with coyotes" and "coexisting with coyotes" on the internet and visiting at least the unbiased state, city, and Canadian provincial sites to learn more about these animals and the vital roles they fulfill in the ecosystem, or simply visit http://www.projectcoyote.org/

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