A resident in the Pine Crest area posted on Facebook on Saturday that she had seen a coyote in the area at about 9 a.m. She warned residents with pets to be aware of it. In this case, she said, a neighbor’s dog had run it off. Walton County Assistant Fire Chief Craig League confirmed that he’d seen one close to the same area a few weeks ago crossing McDaniel Street.
Kaitlin Goode, the urban wildlife program manager of game management at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, had warned recently about sightings of more wildlife when addressing an issue with a rabid fox attack in Monroe. She said spring is the season where animals may be a little more aggressive and could be encroaching on the urban population more.
“This is the time of year when animals are having young so they’re working non stop to bring food back to den or the nest to feed their young. If you have any concerns, you can call us. The best number to call is 1-800- 366-2661. That number has longer than normal business hours and they will direct you to whomever the agent on call is,” Goode said. “If there is wildlife in your backyard, we encourage you to scare them off. We call it hazing – you being the dominant animal so you’re scaring them out of your yard. This works for deer, coyotes, foxes and raccoons ”
Goode suggests hazing them by making loud noises such as shouting, using air horns or banging together loud objects such as pots and pans. Last week, the Georgia DNR Wildlife Division in Social Circle put out a Public Service Announcement advising people to expect these sighting because of the easy access to food. It is important to keep pets, especially smaller pets, safe.
“Wildlife can, and will, take advantage of ‘easy food’ opportunities. So, it is our job, as homeowners, to ensure that we are keeping these non-natural foods away from wildlife – for our safety, the protection of our homes, and for wildlife,” Goode said, giving the following tips.
Following are some basic tips:
• Don’t feed wildlife.
• Keep items such as grills and pet food off-limits. Clean and store grills when not in use, keep pet food indoors and feed pets indoors.
• Refill bird feeders infrequently and in small amounts.
• Make trash cans inaccessible. Keep lids securely fastened or store trash cans in a secured location until the morning of trash pick-up.
Options for resolving human-wildlife conflict, including a list of professional nuisance trappers, fact sheets, wildlife rehabilitator information, tips on managing land for wildlife, and much more can be found at www.georgiawildlife.com, and then click on “Living With Wildlife.”