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That is not a dog

Posted: June 19, 2013 - 12:00am

Forget the lions and tigers and bears, oh my! If you live in Columbia County, you might want to keep your eyes open for coyotes.

Lee Taylor, a biologist and regional game-management supervisor for Georgia’s Wildlife Resources Division, said complaints about the secretive predators are particularly plentiful this year.

“So far we’ve had 20 to 30 coyote complaints,” he said. “This time of year, they often have a litter of pups they are taking care of so they’re more active and out hunting.”

How common are coyotes in Columbia County?

Dan Eaton, a professional trapper and owner of CSRA Trapping Services, estimates he has removed about 100 coyotes for clients in Columbia County this year alone.

“They don’t have a natural predator,” Eaton said. “They’re at the top of the apex – the only predator they have is us.”

– Rob Pavey,
Augusta Chronicle outdoor editor

COYOTE Q&A

Here are some things you might need to know:

What part of Columbia County has generated the most complaints this year? Evans area, in particular the subdivisions around the Walmart; and Camelot and Orchard Hill subdivisions.

Are coyotes dangerous? Attacks on humans are rare, but they will eat cats and small dogs.

When do attacks on pets occur? Either at night or at dusk or dawn.

Will the Department of Natural Resources remove a nuisance coyote? No. State officials will offer advice on how to keep them away, but requests for removal should be made to professional contract trappers.

Will coyotes eat foods other than meat? Yes, especially fruits. They are particularly fond of watermelons and cantaloupes.

Do they affect wildlife? Yes, and whitetail deer populations in particular.

Can they capture or kill adult deer? No, but studies show they kill and eat large numbers of newborn fawns each spring.

SOURCE: Georgia Department of Natural Resources

COYOTE FACTS

Coyotes are found throughout Georgia and have been found in every state except Hawaii.

In Georgia, coyotes typically weigh15 to 30 pounds, and males tend to be larger than females.

When running, the coyote usually holds its tail at “half-mast” or straight out behind it, unlike most domestic dogs.

Coyotes play an important role in the ecosystem by helping to keep rodent populations under control, but can and do prey on domestic cats and small dogs.

Most coyote attacks on pets occur either at night or at dusk or dawn. During these times especially, be careful if you’re walking your pet in wooded areas.

Residents can help prevent coyote problems by never feeding them – intentionally or unintentionally.

Residents should also close off crawl spaces under porches and sheds. Coyotes and other animals use such areas for resting and raising young.

Coyotes eat whatever is available, including fruits, nuts, seeds, dead animals, rodents, garbage, pet food, house cats and small dogs.

They breed every year, with two to 12 pups per litter. Pups are raised in a den.

Removing coyotes from one area can result in other coyotes moving in from surrounding areas and producing more pups per litter.

Georgia officials did not import and release coyotes to control white-tailed deer populations.

Coyotes made it to Georgia by their natural territorial expansion across the Mississippi River and/or they were brought in and released in fox pens.

SOURCE: Georgia Department of Natural Resources

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