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Surrounding Areas Report Increase in Coyote Sightings, Animals Common in Livingston County

State DNR officials say coyote sightings can increase during breeding period.

According to State DNR officials, coyotes are more common in rural Livingston County than any of the nearby surround areas, yet there has been in increase in sightings in areas such as Canton and Farmington Hills.

Livingston County law enforcement officials said that they have not received any word of increased sightings. 

One Hartland resident, however, says her family is feeling the strong presense of coyotes, sometimes too close for comfort, in her own backyard.

"We had a coyote run through our backyard," Lynn Ruona wrote in an email to Hartland Patch. "My husband and golden retriever were out walking and it ran right past them trying to chase down a deer."

Ruono, who lives in the area of Pleasant Valley and Hyne Rd. said this also wasn't the first incident for her and many of her neighbors. Last year, one coyote had even chased Ruono's 80-pound golden retriever right up to her front porch.

"I was on the porch screaming and yelling but he/she showed no fear of me at all," she wrote.

Coyotes in Hartland is not anything new, however. In 2010, Hartland Patch reported that two subdivisions had been put on alert and told not to leave children and small pets unattended after coyotes had been spotted in the area.

According to Tim Payne from the Wildlife Division of Michigan's Department of Natural Resources, however, an increased coyote presence in suburban areas does not necessarily signal a problem.

While coyotes often are associated with the wilderness of northern Michigan, coyotes can thrive in urban and suburban areas, Payne said. Because of an abundance of small rodents and, in warmer months, vegetables growing in gardens, coyotes often occupy the same spaces as humans.  

Julie Oakes, DNR Senior Biologist for the Livingston County area said coyotes are more visible this time of year because it's their breeding season. The typical coyote breeding season begins in January and lasts through March. 

Oakes said that coyotes' main diet consists of small rodents, such as rats, mice, rabbits and even sometimes roadkill. 

"They hunt at night, so unless you're letting a small 2-year-old child run through the fields where they're hunting at night, they're not a danger," she said. "But their opportunistic. If an animal (dog) comes into their path, their known to attack, but it's not usually to eat them. These incidents usually happen in the spring and they attack to protect the pups in their den." 

Oakes said that bird feeders are one of the biggest attractors that bring coyotes up to houses. 

"That (feeder) is what's attracting rats, mice, raccoons and everything else that come in at night to eat that bird feed, and then the coyotes come up and hunt those critters," she said.

If a coyote does pose a threat, though, Payne says Michigan's laws allow the animal to be killed. However, he says such problems can be rare.

"We want people to live with wildlife and enjoy coyotes," Payne said. "Most of the time they are not a problem."

If You Encounter a Coyote

To assist in minimizing a potential conflict with a coyote:

  • Never approach or touch a coyote
  • Never intentionally feed a coyote
  • Eliminate all outside food sources, especially pet food
  • Put garbage out the morning of pick-up
  • Clear out wood and brush piles; they are a habitat for mice and may attract coyotes
  • Do not allow pets to roam free when coyotes are present—consider keeping pets indoors or accompany them outside, especially at night

Because residents share the community with wild animals, a coyote sighting should not automatically be considered a cause for concern.

If you've had a coyote sighting in your area, tell us where in the comments below:

Barbara Mickus February 28, 2013 at 02:29 PM
We have also seen them; however, during the day on several occassions between Hacker and 0ld 23 off of Hyne Road. It is not just a night time issue.
Barry Tackett February 28, 2013 at 05:30 PM
They were here before we were.
rose clark February 28, 2013 at 07:56 PM
Last week one crossed right in front of my car on M59 near Lakena. It was beautiful. I agree Barry, they've been here, so we have to learn to live with them.
Rosheen Hunter March 01, 2013 at 01:42 AM
Leaving Walmart in Hartland yesterday, my daughter and I spotted a coyote right on M 59 and Clark Road right on the corner. It was clearly a coyote
Rosheen Hunter March 01, 2013 at 01:43 AM
My concern is my dogs...
erik darabos March 01, 2013 at 04:10 PM
Erik D I seen one standing on the sidewalk two house down from me in autumn woods while taking my trash can to the curb.
Nicole Krawcke (Editor) March 01, 2013 at 06:21 PM
Hi Rosheen, When I spoke with the DNR Senior Biologist, she said that unless you let your dogs roam around at night alone, there shouldn't be any problems. Night is when they hunt, and usually, they don't see dogs as food. They will attack if one comes close to their den, where their pups are.
joe smoe March 03, 2013 at 08:01 AM
Coyotes are cool animals, but l have seen a large male chasing one of a set of twin yearling whitetail deer. The yearling did get away tho. l have several mounted coyotes in my man-cave. One is "howling-at-the-moon", with dim-able spot lights shining on it. Pretty cool. That coyote was hit by a car several winters ago, and l grabbed it and respect it's place in nature. But an overabundance of coyotes do prove detrimental to other species of animals, including dogs and cats. Anyone who would like me to address an issue they have with coyotes, local to Hartland, Howell, Milford areas, contact me. l would hunt them with my predator call, and they are not just disposed of. l find them fascinating and would mount them for my personal residence. l can be contacted at Ducklakeman@aol.com. Thank you.
DON March 03, 2013 at 04:19 PM
I hear them near Center road and Green road in the early morning hours about 4:30am at a friends house, sounds like a pack passing through near North Ore Creek heading south.
outdoorgirl March 19, 2013 at 12:55 PM
Last night a large pack of Coyote were just running out in our yard at about 2:20am.Our dog was barking and wanting to go outside. They must have got the Deer. We could hear them for a hour. When they were done they all were howling and it was quite again. On a walk about 2 weeks ago we found a Deer that they had gotten. We heard them that night to. This is all on Hamburg Rd in Brighton.We just don't want to let our dog out at night.Anyone else hear them? Spooky!!
Kate March 19, 2013 at 02:37 PM
Coyotes have every right to be here, and they don't trump dogs. They are beautiful animals and too many people assume that killing them is okay.
outdoorgirl March 19, 2013 at 03:10 PM
Did't say I wanted to kill them. My dog is part of my family and so is my daughter! It"s spooky to know they are out there killing something. Having some fear is okay.They have been known to kill domestic pets.
Erin Markwardt March 19, 2013 at 09:44 PM
Had one run after my dog at 11 am this morning in Shenandoah off of old 23. I have a licensed coyote hunter coming out tomorrow. They will attack pets and small animals. I am all for killing them!
Erin Markwardt March 19, 2013 at 09:48 PM
Kate they don't trump dogs???? Then can you tell me how one single coyote took out a Mastif and a pit bull last week in howell?
Nancy March 19, 2013 at 09:54 PM
I don't necessarily agree. They carry diseases such as rabies (which can be present in their body fluids), and other pathogenic bacteria to humans and domestic animals, in their feces. I've lived here numerous years, and their numbers are increasing. They are seen at various times of day, not just at night.
Kate March 19, 2013 at 10:19 PM
Erin, they aren't less important than dogs. If you think that they are, your priorities aren't in place. Bottom line, people need to be better pet owners and keep an eye on their dogs.
outdoorgirl March 20, 2013 at 12:07 PM
Kate, are you a pet owner?
Erin Markwardt March 20, 2013 at 01:31 PM
I was outside with my dog yesterday Kate, and a coyote came charging out of the woods. I think standing in the cold with your pet is being a good pet owner. And yes Kate are you a pet owner?
Erin Markwardt March 20, 2013 at 01:32 PM
I was outside with my dog yesterday Kate, and a coyote came charging out of the woods. I think standing in the cold with your pet is being a good pet owner. And yes Kate are you a pet owner??
Kate March 20, 2013 at 03:06 PM
Yep, sure am. Even if I weren't, I have a right to my opinion. Thanks.
Erin Markwardt March 20, 2013 at 05:25 PM
See I was told by her, that they will attack not as a food source but to mark their area. The whole alpha thing. I was told to call a pest control and I found a person who specializes in coyote. He should be interviewed for a follow up story. If you want his name and number Tatum let me know. You can find me on HM or HMU, you would be so surprised to hear his attack stories, I know I was.

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