I came across an interesting story in the Warren Tribune Chronicle today. It’s about a problem we have in both rural and urban areas: the coyote.

Now it’s no secret that coyotes are all around us. They are adapting to living in urban areas. It’s just that their behavior keeps them away from people most of the time.

However in this story, written by Raymond Smith of the Tribune Chronicle, the city of Niles is hiring a trapping company to capture to coyotes that were recently seen there. They were photographed this past weekend just two blocks of a home in which a small dog was dragged out of the yard and killed Jan. 3 by what is presumed to be a coyote.

The coyote subject is something that should be on many people’s minds, this time of year. We are entering the peak of the mating season in February. This means all areas could be seeing more coyotes.

I know I have! I was driving along state Route 14 and a deer had been hit by a car. It was around 7:30 a.m. The deer did not look like it had been laying on the side of the road long. I looked again and there it was. A coyote was having dinner. I was shocked to see him so close to such a busy road. He or she wasn’t fazed by the traffic one little bit.

Another morning on my way in, I looked across the hay field at the family farm. There they were. There were three of them running across the field.

My point is that the population is definitely growing and we need to be aware, they are all around us.

After all, a female can deliver up to 15 pups in one litter. You read that right. 15 in a litter. No wonder the population is exploding and it is getting easier to see the animals.

One of the issues in controlling the population is that they don’t seem to be as easy to hunt as other animals. I have only heard of one or two hunters that have nabbed a coyote. The hunters I’ve talked to tell me coyotes are very elusive and most often, they can’t get a shot off in time.

It’s probably pretty clear, I am not a fan of coyotes. On my family’s farm, we have been the victims of the coyotes. We have lost our share of lambs to the creatures.

But I have another issue with the coyotes. My worst fear is that they will kill my Shih tzu! I’ve heard the bellowing and saw them too close for comfort. She is always on a leash but I worry! I’m sure that dog owner in Niles never expected to lose her dog to a coyote in the middle of town!

I guess it’s up to us whether we live in a town or in a rural area to take the necessary precautions to protect ourselves and our animals.

Stanley D. Gehrt, a professor at Ohio State University gave the following suggestions at a conference a couple of years ago. I thought I would share them with readers again.

Livestock farms can place dogs such as the Great Pyrenees, Akbash, Komondor or Anatolian breeds in the pasture to keep the coyotes out. We can also use llamas and donkeys in the pasture with the sheep.

Another way to prevent a coyote attack is to use different types of fencing, I think even in urban areas, this might work. Keep the fencing low to the ground and high enough so coyotes have difficulty jumping.

Kristy Foster Seachrist lives in Columbiana County raising sheep and horses with her husband, Kurt. She earned her degree from Youngstown State University and has worked in both print and broadcast journalism.
Kristy Foster Seachrist
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