Coyote joins National Night Out party

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August 10, 2012 by Sarah M

// By Maggie Kane //

LINDEN HLLS — Attendees of an Aug. 7 National Night Out block party on the 4200 block of Vincent Avenue South met a furry new neighbor.

“We saw this creature and we all figured out quite quickly that it was a coyote,” said Jean Johnson, who lives in the neighborhood and was at the party. “He was just kind of jogging along, looking pretty relaxed.”

Urban coyote sightings happen often, said Bryan Lueth, north Metro area wildlife manager with the Department of Natural Resources. In February, the Bryn Mawr Neighborhood Association emailed neighborhood residents when coyotes were twice spotted prowling the area.

“They’ve adapted to living in close proximity to people in urban areas across the country,” Lueth said. “I do get reports of them fairly regularly.”

Lueth said coyotes are typically looking for food when they emerge during the day. Appearances often increase in January and February, during mating season, and again in June as mothers search for food to feed their young.

“There’s nothing we can really do to get rid of these critters,” said Jason Abraham, fur-bearer specialist with the DNR. “Our whole approach to coyotes, more or less, is to learn to live with them, accept their presence in urban areas.”

While the department does not officially track coyote populations, Abraham said their numbers appear to have remained steady over the past 10 years.

In addition to looking for food, coyotes sometimes enter yards when they see domestic dogs.

“A lot of times they will take pets outside as a challenge to their territory,” said Abraham.

Coyotes may confront dogs they feel they can dominate. Abraham said they shy away from dogs that seem large to them, like Labradors.

Abraham recommended keeping dogs in a fenced-in area or going outside with them if coyotes become a problem nearby.

Lueth said keeping garbage lids secured, locking up any dog food kept outside and sweeping around bird feeders every couple of days also helps to deter coyotes.

The best way to deal with coyotes when spotted is to harass them.

“Yell at them, throw things at them, squirt them with a hose,” Lueth said.

Coyotes are typically shy animals and will learn to avoid humans if they have unpleasant encounters.

The Vincent Avenue block party’s wild visitor was more courageous than other members of his species. Johnson said the coyote was not put off by the music and activity of the festivities, although he stayed around 20 feet away from the action.

“He was just minding his own business,” Johnson said. “It was just kind of a funny thing to have happen on a National Night Out.”

More tips on dealing with coyotes can be found on the DNR website, dnr.state.mn.us

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