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Coyote Strategies Discussed at Meeting

About 150 people gathered at the Church of the Epiphany outside Decatur to talk about ways to control the coyote problem.

Three speakers talked about the metro Atlanta coyote problem Tuesday night  at the Church of the Epiphany.

Mary A. Paglieri, a consultant with the Little Blue Society in the San Francisco area, a group that specializes in human-animal conflict resolution, said behavior modification is the only way to go.

"They will avoid things that are pretty much new," she said. "If they come into your back yard frequently, you need to modify your habitat. ... You start with the minimum of scare tactics and you escalate."

That could be done through scent, loud noises, shooting paintballs and moving large objects around, she said. Even parking a truck in a path habitually taken by coyotes will make them change their movements, she said.

Eradicating coyotes doesn't help, she said. When coyotes are killed, the reproduction and migration of coyotes increases, as does the survivability of coyote pups. "If you want fewer coyotes, stop killing them," she said.

The killing and trapping of coyotes appeared to be the friction point during the Tuesday night meeting, which was attended by about 150 people.

Some people in the crowd spoke out against that practice, saying it was inhumane. When coyotes are trapped, they must be killed, according to state law,

when they become too familiar with humans. They become "brazen" and venture into yards to eat pet food and sometimes attack cats and small dogs, he said.

"You want them to have that natural human fear," he said. He said this was a short term solution because other coyotes will move into the area.

When Elliott traps coyotes, he cages them for 72 hours to make sure nobody reports any rabid dogs or cats in the area. He didn't want to say how he euthanizes them.

Like the other speakers, Elliott said  humans must make some accommodations because coyotes are here to stay. That means keeping cats and pet food inside if coyotes are around.

"We have to tolerate a certain amount of their presence," he said.

Chris Mowry, head of the biology department at Berry College and a former intown Atlanta resident, provided a factual overview.

He said coyotes lived mostly west of the Mississippi before 1900, but can now be found in every state except Hawaii, including in urban areas.

Coyotes are very adaptable. They expanded their range, for example, because wolves were wiped out and "that created a vacuum," he said.

They're normally seen at dawn and dusk, but when they lose their fear of humans they become more active during daylight hours, he said.

, ended the meeting with an appeal for improved record keeping on coyotes.

She said there's little hard information on the coyote population, the number of coyotes killed and whether killing them is doing any good.

"We don't have a system and we desperately need a system," she said.

The Druid Hills Civic Association organized the meeting.

Previous Decatur/Avondale Estates Patch stories about coyotes:

  • Coyotes in your Backyard: Decatur Residents See Them Often
  • Decatur Residents Angry About Coyotes
  • Decatur City Commission: No Decision on Coyotes
  • Decatur Wants Help Tracking Coyotes
Ralph Ellis January 31, 2013 at 12:07 PM
Do you want to kill coyotes?
Warnin ToU January 31, 2013 at 06:21 PM
Yeah, One 22 shot to the head will do it every time.
Susan Phillips January 31, 2013 at 07:20 PM
Please keep your cats indoors.
Jim Miller February 05, 2013 at 09:31 PM
Political correctness caught in the act of being unfounded. Earlier in the article appears; Eradicating coyotes doesn't help, she said. When coyotes are killed, the reproduction and migration of coyotes increases, as does the survivability of coyote pups. "If you want fewer coyotes, stop killing them," she said. This of course makes no sence at all. Rats etc. may increase, but not coyotes. Then later we hear; She said there's little hard information on the coyote population, the number of coyotes killed and whether killing them is doing any good. "We don't have a system and we desperately need a system," she said. Which is it... or is this just a ploy for research money from tax payers?
Tom Meyer February 06, 2013 at 03:58 PM
Actually, Jim Miller, you've quoted two different people. Your first "she" is Mary Paglieri who says a stable population is the most effective birth control. The second quote you attribute to "She" is from Christy Borsage, whose presumably out door cat was killed by a coyote. Regarding cats killed by coyotes as a rational to kill coyotes... how many birds are killed every year by these outdoor cats? Perspective, and careful reading are attributes to be desired. A telling statement that backs up Ms. Paglieri's comment is from Chip Elliott, He said "...this (killing them) was a short term solution because other coyotes will move into the area." So you have continuity and consensus from scientific analysis and field study experts. Keep your cats indoors, fence your yard and work to reduce *human* populations... WE are the most dangerous and intrusive animals on the planet.
Richard Hart February 06, 2014 at 06:51 PM
Over 300 million people in this country with over 50 million guns--- and we have a coyote problem ? Our ancestors would be ashamed of us if any were still alive ! If you think there' a problem now, just wait until the coyote/wolf hybrid shows up ! Think you want to "co-exist" with that ?

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