Local News

Orange Co. addresses coyote problems with public info meeting

Posted January 15, 2013

— Lauren Hodge, of Chapel Hill, recalls walking her Jack Russell terrier last summer when she was approached by a coyote.

"I saw a great big, fat rogue coyote that had been plaguing our neighborhood," she said Tuesday. "My dog was going crazy. I was terrified."

Her daughter, Hannah, had a similar encounter when she and her dog were chased into the woods by one.

Encounters with coyotes, like the Hodges', are becoming more common.

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 because 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.

That's why they are highly adaptable to urban and suburban living areas that are pushing into the rural areas they once occupied.

Orange Co. addresses coyote problems with public info meeting Orange Co. addresses coyote problems with public info meeting

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.

The question Orange County residents now face has to do with what to do with the coyote problem there.

"There's a lot of debate in our neighborhood about whether the coyote should be trapped or shot or just be left alone," Hodge said.

That's why Orange County Animal Services, in conjunction with Hillsborough, Carrboro and Chapel Hill police departments, has planned a public information session to help residents humanely deal with coyotes.

For example, 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.

The public information session is scheduled from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Jan. 23 at the Orange County Animal Services Center, at 1601 Eubanks Road in Chapel Hill.

The session is free, and registration is not required.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Whatdaheck Jan 22, 2013

    A .243 Marlin will do the trick nicely. ;-)

  • goldenosprey Jan 16, 2013

    "A red wolf is a coyote crossed to a wolf. They are not endangered... shoot them too."

    This is why not just anybody should have a firearm. Red wolves (Canis Rufus) in one of the most endangered species in the world. It was wiped out of the wild 30 years ago and we only have about 300 now, about a third of them in northeastern NC because of extensive breeding projects around the county. But don't believe me, believe the federal officials who will knock on your door if you shoot one.

  • mluddysr Jan 16, 2013

    A red wolf is a coyote crossed to a wolf. They are not endangered... shoot them too.

  • ncpilot2 Jan 15, 2013

    Please allow me to translate the headline in this story into language we can all understand.

    Actual Headline: Orange Co. addresses coyote problems with public info meeting.

    Translated headline: Local government officials again prove they are incompetent by holding a public meeting under the guise that they were actually doing something about the problem.

  • jblake1932 Jan 15, 2013

    Orange Co.could follow NY's lead and ban the coyotes from their county. That would put a stop to them coming in.

  • mmtlash Jan 15, 2013

    "Didn't take long for this to turn to a liberal bashing thread."-goldenospray

    I know and what's sad is once u get north of Chapel Hill and Carrboro which is basically the bottom 3rd of the county, Orange County isn't really that liberal. Especially once you get north of I-85, which by the way is some of the prettiest scenery in the Triangle thanks to it's lack of development and rolling hills.

  • westernwake1 Jan 15, 2013

    The proper way to deal with coyotes is to shoot them.

  • fed up in vance Jan 15, 2013

    Also what the general public doesn't know is that the NC Wildlife Commission has released male cougars in several counties in NC to help combat the population. These cougars are all male so there will be no reproducing and all of them wear tracking collars linked to satelite so there is 24 hour tracking and GPS monitoring of them. This information was never released to the general public and I found out when a game warden slipped up and mentioned something about it after several chained dogs were killed in my area.

  • fed up in vance Jan 15, 2013


    Go to NC Wildlife's website to learn more about coyotes.

    Yes they do look similar to the Red Wolf but the Red Wolf has only been re-introduced into 5 counties down on the coast so I doubt shooting at a coyote in Orange County will kill a Red Wolf down on the coast.

  • BuzKiller777 Jan 15, 2013

    Yet ANOTHER reason to be able to carry a defensive weapon - concealed or otherwise!