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Meeting will help Orange County residents manage coyote encounters

Posted January 23, 2013

— Orange County Animal Services and other local law enforcement agencies on Wednesday will host a public information session in Chapel Hill to give residents strategies for humanely dealing with a growing coyote population. 

The meeting is in response to several coyote encounters that have spooked some Orange County residents and their pets. Although they are usually not a threat to people, the animals are seen as a nuisance and concern for pet owners. 

Experts say that attacks on people are rare, but that it is more common for them to attack pets for food or to get rid of what they perceive to be competition. 

"There's a lot of debate in our neighborhood about whether the coyote should be trapped or shot or just be left alone," said Lauren Hodge, a Chapel Hill resident who encountered a coyote while walking her dog last summer.

In 1985, the coyote population in North Carolina was contained to four counties – Burke, Gaston, Washington and Beaufort – according to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. By 2005, the population had spread to all 100 counties.

Part of the reason is that coyotes are "opportunistic feeders" that feed on a variety of food sources – including animal remains, garbage and pet food – and survive anywhere there is abundant food sources.

The Wildlife Resources Commission recommends securing garbage bins with tight-fitting lids and putting it out for pickup in the morning, instead of at night, to keep coyotes from scavenging the trash.

Another recommendation: Don't feed or try to pet them. Doing so, the Wildlife Resource Commission says, rewards them for coming into close contact with humans. Once they becomes used to people, the animals lose their natural wariness of people and could become bold or aggressive.

Wednesday's public information session is scheduled from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Orange County Animal Services Center, at 1601 Eubanks Road in Chapel Hill.

The session is free, and registration is not required.


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  • fed up in vance Jan 24, 2013

    I grew up hunting in Vance and Warren Counties and can remember when there were no coyotes. Then in the mid to late 80's we started seeing a few here and a few there. Seems that the fox pens over in Virginia where hunters could run their fox hounds had them inside and they were illegal to have so instead of getting caught with them and fined they turned them loose. They made there way across Lake Gaston and Kerr Lake and started breeding in the areas around the lakes that were teaming with wildlife. Since then there has been nothing but a steady increase in the population. Coyotes have no natural enemy in the wild. If left unchecked the boom in their population with end up hurting the population of deer, quail, rabbits and other wildlife. Coyotes also love feral cats and dogs and will get into chicken coops, rabbit hutches and other pet enclosures. I have seen their damage first hand. They need to be controled. Maybe NC needs a bounty like VA has.

  • medassist61 Jan 23, 2013

    Saw one in a field in southern Wake County yesterday where deer normally mill around. No sign of any deer yesterday but I'm sure the coyote was hot on their trail. Between Highway 42 and Rock Service Station Road

  • kidretro19722 Jan 23, 2013

    the comments coming from outside orange are just dumb

  • idoofus3 Jan 23, 2013

    Hee, Hee, Hee....
    The Peoples Republic of Chapel Hill holding a discussion about what to do with problematic coyotes? ROFL!! Probably decide to humanely trap them all and open up a petting zoo.
    Personally I just leave them alone and enjoy watching them along with the rest of the wildlife around my property.
    I've have only had to deal with two troublemakers in the last 5 years or so. In the garbage, after the pets, dog and cats both. Not to mention ripping a rabbit hutch to pieces last year.
    One of those nasty, terrifying, soccer-mom fainting, super-size magazine, with more than two "military type" features such as a hand grip, AR-15 does the trick nicely out to about four hundred yards.

  • dirtydozen431 Jan 23, 2013

    Tax the coyotes and they will leave like everybody else has.

  • lrfarms27572 Jan 23, 2013

    HEADLINE: Chapel Hill descriminates against Coyotes. "American Dream" unavailable to natives.

    TheDude abides...


  • mautry Jan 23, 2013

    wait until they breed with the feral cats and you have a hybrid to contend with. lol

  • zile1porkey Jan 23, 2013

    They have come to Wake County off Sunny Brook Rd seen them while walking the trails they said back and watch you.

  • TheDude abides... Jan 23, 2013

    5 bucks says they were introduced statewide by the State of reduce deer population without giving hunters more tags or extending the season.


  • TheDude abides... Jan 23, 2013

    HEADLINE: Chapel Hill descriminates against Coyotes. "American Dream" unavailable to natives.