Economic development driving coyotes to neighborhoods

Monday, June 9, 2014 4:30 PM
Last updated 8:41 PM
  • Follow Metro

An increase in economic development is bringing coyotes into local neighborhoods.

A coyotes snarls after being caught in a foot trap.  Photo provided by Hooker
Photo provided by Hooker
A coyotes snarls after being caught in a foot trap.

“Their habitat is being destroyed,” said William Hooker Jr., a professional wildlife trapper at Hookers Trapping Service in Appling. “You can see all this development going on in Columbia County and adjacent counties.”

In the past, he’s caught coyotes in subdivisions in Richmond and Columbia counties.

Hooker estimates he has captured about three this year.

David Allen, the communications outreach specialist for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, said that it doesn’t appear the population is increasing and that the number of calls they receive is typical for this time of year.

Calls typically begin around April but suddenly climb in May, he said.

Although DNR gets calls about coyotes in residential areas, there’s not much for them to do except suggest a wildlife trapper to capture the animals.

Richmond County Animal Services also can’t do much to help.

“We don’t have the equipment to do that with,” said Edward Jefferson, the field manager for Augusta Animal Services.

Coyotes, which resemble small dogs in appearance, feed on small living and dead mammals and vegetation, which is one of the reasons they are sometimes lured to neighborhoods.

Jefferson said feeding a stray cat or even putting out bird feeders can lure coyotes looking for their next meal.

DNR advises that people bring in small pets at nighttime, which is a coyote’s main hunting time. If pets must be kept outdoors, fencing should be used to discourage an attack.

Jefferson said it’s one reason pet owners are advised to stay up to date on rabies vaccinations in case they tussle with coyotes or any other animals.

Hooker said coyotes usually keep themselves hidden and pose little threat to humans. “You could have a den of coyotes in your own neighborhood and never knew they’re there until they get together and start howling,” he said.

Hooker said it’s not only the coyotes that are making more of an appearance in the city. His call volume for all wildlife – squirrels, armadillos and even hogs – has been on the rise recently.

Comments (5) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
GuyGene 06/10/14 - 10:20 am
Habitat is not in GA

Coyotes aren't even native to Georgia. The rascals need killin'.

itsanotherday1 06/10/14 - 10:30 am
Amen Guy Gene. They and

Amen Guy Gene. They and armadillos are not native species, so are upsetting the normal balance. Eliminate them. (put a bounty on them-maybe some drug slingers could open up a sideline bidness to make some money)

corgimom 06/10/14 - 08:24 pm
Coyotes do a very valuable

Coyotes do a very valuable job. They kill mice, rats, and other vermin. They also get rid of feral cats.

But fencing doesn't do any good unless it's over 6'. They can jump or climb them if it's lower than that.

If you leave them alone, and keep your trash secure, they aren't a problem. If their food goes away, they go away.

Dichotomy, if you saw them during the day, they were sick, because they are very shy and don't like being around people. You rarely see them during the day. Either that, or a mother coyote had kits to feed, they don't like people.

turby2 07/08/14 - 09:38 am
"Size of a small dog' description is misleading.

According to National Geographic:
Size: Head and body, 32 to 37 in (81 to 94 cm); Tail, 16 in (41 cm)
Weight: 20 to 50 lbs (9 to 23 kg).
To me that is a tall skinny dog.

More info found on
Coyotes typically grow to 30–34 in (76–86 cm) in length, not counting a tail of 12–16 in (30–41 cm), stand about 23–26 in (58–66 cm) at the shoulder and weigh from 15–46 lb (6.8–20.9 kg).[3][12] Northern coyotes are typically larger than southern subspecies, with the largest coyotes on record weighing 74.75 pounds (33.91 kg) and measuring 1.75 m (5.7 ft) in total length.

Back to Top
Search Augusta jobs