Department of Natural Resources officials say coyotes are on the move in Nova Scotia during this time of year as the wild animal is in pursuit of a mate and food. (Department of Natural Resources photo)
The local Department of Natural Resources office has received reports of coyote sightings within the Town of Windsor.
Dana Orr, district supervisor at the DNR office covering Windsor and West Hants, says his department has received two reports of coyote sightings “in the vicinity of” the town this winter.
This is not uncommon, Orr adds, as coyotes are more active during breeding season, and Windsor is a town with fields and wooded areas.
He says he has not heard of reports of coyotes being aggressive with humans in Windsor or West Hants.
“Coyotes, by and large, are pretty shy animals that don’t want to interact with human beings,” he said.
Coyotes tend to wander into residential areas in pursuit of food.
“Leaving food out for your pets is going to catch their nose and tempt them,” Orr said.
He says the local Department of Natural Resources office should be informed of coyote sightings in residential areas.
Mike Boudreau, a human wildlife conflict biologist with DNR, says it makes sense for coyotes to be drawn to Windsor.
“There’s a fair amount of wooded and or dyke land that’s within the town limits, which is extremely good habitat for all sorts of wild animals, including coyotes.”
He says composts, gardens, dog food, bird feeders or dog bones are prime examples of attractors that may lure a wild animal to a property.
“I think the No. 1 thing is not to encourage them, so try and remove any food items that may be available to them,” Boudreau said.
It is important to remember coyotes are wild animals, and avoid approaching or feeding them at all times, Boudreau said.
“We get reports from all over the province and right now, because of the weather and the time of year and the snow cover, they seem to be moving a little bit more.”
He says walkers should carry noisemakers and a walking stick, and pet owners with reason to believe there is a coyote in the area should keep a close watch on outdoor pets.
“We do get calls on pets being approached and, in some cases, attacked but it’s not that common,” he said.
For more tips on how to co-exist with coyotes, visit the provincial Department of Natural Resources website: http://www.gov.ns.ca/natr/wildlife/living-with-wildlife/be-coyote-smart.asp.