Fairfield residents raise concerns about recent coyote sightings

Fairfield officials addressed recent reports and concerns from residents about a rash of coyote sightings in the city.

But there is nothing government officials can do about coyotes roaming parks, wooded areas or backyards, said Brett Beatty, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Management supervisor.

Though coyotes aren’t going away, he said there are ways to avoid issues with the animals.

LOCAL NEWS: Fairfield Twp. commission recommends denying debated rehab facility expansion

“They’re just wild animals surviving in a human-dominated world,” Beatty said during a recent Fairfield City Council work session. “It’s up to us to modify our behavior to limit negative interactions.”

Residents should remove open sources of food, and secure garbage can lids, residents were told. There are between three to five human injuries per year across North America related to coyotes, and “all cases are associated with feeding” the animals, he said.

Other ways to limit coyote interactions include bringing pets, especially small pets and cats, in at night, leaving porch lights on at night, keeping pets on a leash and close to the house and harassing a coyote if one is spotted. Beatty said people should clap hands, yell or throw something towards it, and don’t stop until the coyote leaves.

“I think everybody’s afraid of coyotes,” said Fairfield Mayor Steve Miller “Just like a child, you want to keep an eye on them,” Miller said.

Coyotes aren’t native to Ohio, said Beatty.

“They’re very much a plains animal,” he said. As the country settled, major landscape changes happened, such as forests were cut down and rural areas became urban, and “keystone predators” native to Ohio were gone.

“And that left a big void in the predator niche,” Beatty said. “So coyotes being the adaptable critters that they were able to expand their range, and they are found clear across the continent, coast to coast from Mexico all the way up to Alaska.”

Coyotes aren’t big animals, Beatty said. They’re “leggy” animals that are larger than a red fox and slightly smaller than a Siberian husky. The yellow-eyed animals weigh between 25 to 45 pounds with an overall gray appearance, though they can have red highlights, and some can be blonde- or black-haired.

PHOTOS: Presidential candidate O’Rourke visits UAW workers on strike in West Chester

They also have pointed ears, which are never flopped, and reddish-brown legs. They also have bushy black-tipped tails that are always pointing downward.

“I think most people are surprised when they hear the size. I hear it all the time, a person calls and says, ‘I got a 100-pound coyote in my backyard,’” Beatty said. “Their size can be deceiving, and particularly in the wintertime they have thick fur, so it makes them look bigger.”

Coyotes usually travel by themselves or with a mate, but it may sound like there are more coyotes because of the range of noises they make to indicate territory or locate pack members.

“Coyotes usually travel with a purpose. Their head is kind of in a lower position, tail down and they’re usually going somewhere,” Beatty said. “They’re not like a domestic dog, jumping around sniffing every bush and fire hydrant.”

But Beatty said coyotes are not good or bad, “they just are.”

“They’re a wild animal, and they should be respected,” he said.


If a coyote is causing a problem:

• Focus attention on the problem animals.

• Harassment and hazing is the key to avoid individual encounters. Yell, clap hands, throw something towards it. Don’t stop until the coyote leaves.

• Turn on porch lights at night.

• Keep animals on a leash and close to the house.

• Bring animals in at night.

Source: Ohio Department of Natural Resources

About the Author