This time of year Upper Cumberland communities could be seeing higher numbers of coyotes.
McMinnville being the most recent with officials approving the search for outside removal services for the population. TWRA Information & Education Officer Mime Barnes said coyotes are very common, but a late winter mating season makes the canine species more active.
“People should watch their pets,” Barnes said. “And, it is not because coyotes see their pets as a food source, but rather, coyotes see their pets from the territorial stand point, but they see them as a threat to their young and their food source.”
Barnes said removing access to food or trash and clearing brush are the best ways to keep the animals away from your home. Barnes said there is no scientific evidence that supports coyotes being a risk to humans.
“Coyotes are attracted to bird feeders. It is an easy meal for any wild animal,” Barnes said. “So, we encourage people put out bird food early in the morning and ensure all that food is removed by night fall. They also might be attracted to brush piles around your home that promotes small rodents.”
If you see a coyote, Barnes said people should act large and haze the animal. Do not stand near, take photos or feed coyotes, because this makes the animal feel safe and likely to return to the area.
“If you are having a coyote that is causing issues, that could be the coyote you want to remove from the landscape by hiring a nascence wildlife operator,” Barnes said. “However, if you see a coyote and it is not causing issues and you simply see it, that doesn’t necessarily mean a coyote issue.”
Barnes said the species comes out less during the spring until their puppies are born in the summer. That is when coyotes begin searching for food for new pups.