CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Coyote sightings across the Carolinas are on the rise, including in the Charlotte area. A wildlife consultant says it's because this is the time of year when the animals are on the move.
Bill Crowder, a consultant also known as Coyote Bill, said the coyote population has increased and they are being spotted just as much in the daytime as they are at night. The increased sightings are raising concerns for some local neighborhoods but there are ways to protect your home and family.
“Everything is moving, they are searching for territory, and as soon as they find those territories they focused on those territories and stay there into the mating season,” said Crowder.
It’s migration season, and Crowder said this is when humans will see the most coyotes roaming around. He adds during this time, the current year's pups are released and dispersed from their families to make it on their own.
Yorkshire neighborhood resident Jon Lovelace caught one running across his yard.
“I caught it on the cameras on my home, just passing through, heading from the street side of my house towards the creek side in the back,” he said.
Linda Allen also lives in Yorkshire and has her own worries.
“My backyard backs up to an empty farm and wooded area, and my biggest fear is that a coyote gets interested in my dog,” she said.
Working with Crowder, Allen makes sure she has all the deterrents she needs when out on a stroll.
“I have my horn, a whistle around my neck, and I have the stick. We don’t go out at night unless we have to,” said Allen.
“The objective of the air horn is to keep the coyote at a distance. You don’t want the coyote coming close to you,” said Crowder.
The stick is to make yourself look larger. The idea is to wave it around aggressively and make yourself appear more threatening.
Crowder said his calls have quadrupled.
“Yesterday was very distressing for me. We got a call from one of our neighbors who we’ve been helping and she had seven of her turkeys attacked and killed,” he said.
Crowder notes it's important to determine the coyotes’ motivation for being in your yard. Once you know why they are roaming around it, makes it easier to get rid of them.
“We look for tracks, trails, scats, and carcasses to establish feeding patterns,” said Crowder.
Removing food sources is key. That means making sure your garbage cans are properly secure, removing pet food, and bringing your pets inside.
Attacks on humans are rare, but if you do run into a coyote, Crowder said to stay calm.
“If you have a small dog, pick it up. Turn and put your eyes straight on the coyote. Never cut eye contact with the coyotes," said Crowder. "Make your deterrent efforts, and they’ll back away. If they don’t then you back away but slowly. Don’t run. They will see it as a fleeing prey response,” said Crowder.
Remember, never feed coyotes. You don’t want wild animals to get comfortable with people feeding them.
“There are people that feel like the poor animal has been run out of its home and it doesn’t have enough food. So they want to feed it," said Crowder. "That is the worst thing to do because it creates the expectation of the coyote that they will be fed by a person and that is what bites people.”
Crowder said education is key to protecting your loved ones.
“We really have to learn to coexist,” he said.