The City of Solon will not be culling coyotes.
That was the message by safety forces last week as the option was explored due to concern from some residents.
“We started getting more and more reports of coyote sightings and residents are concerned,” police Lt. Bruce Felton explained.
Often people who don’t know about the habits of coyotes become unnecessarily concerned about safety, he said.
Coyotes are mostly nocturnal and typically stay to themselves. They may, however be active in the early morning and at sunset. Residents who spot the animals sometime become anxious.
“Some got alarmed and reacted with a call to start a culling similar to deer,” Lt. Felton said.
Solon has for years culled deer with approval from the state through the use of professional sharpshooters stationed throughout the city.
Lt. Felton said the department conducted research on coyotes and looked at other programs.
“We found it is a widespread issue, but not necessarily a problem,” he said of growing coyote sightings.
Cities large and small have been dealing with coyote populations. The Ohio State University has been involved in a study with coyote population management being done in Chicago.
Lt. Felton said Solon does not have a coyote problem. “There are sightings, but there have been no major issues.”
Solon police said an average of five coyotes are killed each year by automobiles on Route 422 in the city.
There have been stories about coyotes, but no reports about coyotes killing pets or attacks on humans, Lt. Felton said. “That is rare in general.
“They are able to manage themselves if they are given space and they are not fed” by humans, he added. It is also important that people don’t try to get close to them.
“If coyotes are fed and allowed to interact with people, habituation occurs where they become less alarmed with being around people,” Lt. Felton explained. Naturally, coyotes don’t like to be around people, he said.
“They are good at being hidden,” he said.
He said that for many years, attempts have been made to exterminate coyotes, and unlike the wolf attempts, have been unsuccessful.
“Coyotes are members of fission-fusion society,” Lt. Felton said. “All that means is like humans, they can act in solitary numbers or they can act in packs and can change back and forth based on need.
“When people try to kill them, they become more solitary and when numbers decrease they naturally have bigger litters,” he said. “When you attempt to exterminate this animal, it’s ineffective and just complicates the whole thing.
“You can remove up to 70 percent of coyotes in an area and that rebounds just as much in 12 months,” he added “They’re effective at repopulating”
There have been no coyote counts done in Solon, he noted.
With larger programs, like at Ohio State, collars are used to trap and count the coyotes, which are then rereleased.
Consistent with other programs throughout the United States, “we found that coexistence is the name of the game here.” That involves educating residents that coyotes are probably going to be here and here to stay.
“Lethal extraction of a coyote is still an option if they become an issue or aggressive,” he said.
Coyotes weigh between 30-40 pounds and are incredibly intelligent animals, Lt. Felton said.
The main component of any coyote management plan involves leash laws. “Many coyote conflicts happen when walking a pet,” he said. Coyotes want to avoid bigger dogs, he said. A large dog off the leash may go after a coyote in an effort to protect the owner, he said.
“When confronted the coyotes will attack,” Lt. Felton said, “because they perceive the dog as a competitor for food.”
He said it is also important to not inadvertently feed coyotes by leaving filled bird feeders out at night.
Coyotes have a varied diet and typically eat small rodents, mice, squirrels, fruit and some vegetation.
If someone sees a coyote and it is far off, leave it alone. But if it is in a park, school or a place it should not be, and starting to approach people, “make yourself appear bigger.
“Yell loudly or fill a plastic jug with coins and beans and throw it toward it, not at it,” he said. Whistles and horns also work.
“You want to make the animal uncomfortable and wary of human contact,” Lt. Felton added “Keep it wild.”