In an effort to help educate residents on the need for coyotes and how best to potentially deter them, residents were able to attend an informational meeting Thursday night at Village Hall.
"This isn't just a Bayside issue, but a whole North Shore issue," said Andy Pederson, village manager.
Tom Issac of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources led the meeting with a PowerPoint presentation to help teach residents how to properly identify coyotes, which sometimes they are mistaken for red and grey foxes, as well as wolves.
He even brought in pelts of a fox, and a coyote to show the size difference between the animals. However, when it comes to wolves, Issac said there are now known wolves taking up residence this far south in Wisconsin. The DNR has a chart showing comparison information for wolves, dogs and coyotes here.
While the coyotes cannot simply be eradicated, Issac said the best way to deter them from taking up residency in yards is to not feed them. This is more complicated than leaving scraps of meat in your back yard though, he explained. Coyotes are scavengers, and Issac said they will eat just about anything from fallen bird seed to raiding garbage cans.
"Feeding them is the worst," he said.
Capt. Scott McConnell of the Bayside Police Department was also at the meeting, as he has affectionately been dubbed by both village employees and residents as the local coyote expert.
McConnell has been fielding calls regarding sitings of coyotes and sometimes even their dens for years and said there aren't necessarily more coyotes, there are just more sitings than 20 years ago because they aren't as fearful anymore.
"We've been trying to eradicate coyotes for years," McConnell said. "They're getting more and more brazen. That's because bird feeders, suet blocks, they can smell and hear, they just love the critters that come around."
"These guys are not necessarily coming for the bird food, but they're coming for what's eating the bird food that's falling on the ground," said PJ Winkelmann of Advanced Wildlife Control, LLC.
McConnell tried using wolf urine in January to deter coyotes at some homes that had reported multiple sightings, as wolves are a natural predator of coyotes. He said that while it seemed to make a difference temporarily, the rain and snow can wash the scent away and coyotes eventually figure out there are no wolves in the area.
Here's a few tips from the police department and village hall on how to deter coyotes:
- Do not feed coyotes.
- Remove bird feeders or keep them in areas where coyotes cannot get at the food or birds.
- Do not keep dog or cat food outside.
- Make sure your garbage can lid is secured on your container.
- Don't allow pets to run free.
If you ever come face to face with a coyote, Issac says do not run. This can trigger their instinctive nature to hunt and create a more dangerous situation. Instead, discourage them by shouting, waving your arms, making loud noises or throwing stones in their direction.
If you see a coyote or believe you may know of a possible den, you can report these sightings to the Bayside Police Department, 414-351-8800.