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Coyotes seen in Openwood Plantation

A concerned reader alerted the Vicksburg Daily News about an uptick in coyote activity in the Openwood Plantation area.

Openwood Plantation (Photo by David Day)

They saw two coyotes kill a fawn in their yard Monday morning. A neighbor of theirs, according to them, observed on his security camera a coyote walk up his driveway early in the morning. One of the individuals reporting the information noted they were now afraid to go for a morning walk with the coyotes on the loose in the neighborhood.

Ricky Flynt, a Wildlife Coordinator with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks said that if you encounter a coyote you “…should make your presence known. We’ve always had coyotes in this area, it’s nothing new, they’ve been there. They just become a little more visible because people have their phones and cameras and social media.” Flynt went on to clarify that he is not aware of any coyote attacks in Mississippi but cautioned that they have occurred in other states.

If you see a coyote, you should not turn your back on it. Normally it is suggested that you make yourself as large and threatening as possible to the animal – make your presence known. However, the best advice is to avoid the animal. They are almost always just looking for food.

The state of Mississippi defines a coyote as a nuisance animal. The Mississippi State Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks website states, “Wildlife in both rural and suburban areas will utilize food sources, as well as buildings and other physical structures, that are not intended for use by wildlife.  Depending on the situation, once wildlife becomes accustomed to food sources or structures, deterring them may be very difficult.”

One of the steps you can take to avoid a coyote encounter is to reduce their food opportunities. That includes keeping your pet food inside. Keep your BBQ grills clean by burning off any food left stuck to the grill. The smell of that meat will attract coyotes.

Always supervise your pets while they are outside. If you are walking your pet keep them on a six-foot leash. Flynt cautioned, “Don’t allow your pets to free-range, feed your pets inside, keep garbage secure with locking lids. If you take easily available food out of the element of (the coyotes) home range, they will go elsewhere to find food. It’s normal coyote behavior.”