LIMA — Anyone who may have spotted a medium-size dog in a field or even the city roaming around may be surprised to know it could have been a coyote.
Coyotes can be mistaken for dogs but a closer look should show a gray color, sometimes with a little rusty, brown or off-white coloration. Coyotes have bushy tails usually tipped with black.
Coyotes are all over the state in all 88 counties. From late January to March, coyotes are mating. For that reason and the continual search for food, people may be seeing more coyotes in recent weeks, said Craig Barr, a wildlife officer in Allen County for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources division of wildlife.
“Right now, food is a little bit more scarce so they may be a little more active during the daytime,” Barr said.
Barr said the coyote population is thriving and it has been for a number of years.
Coyotes do not pose much danger to humans unless they are in fear, such as being cornered, Barr said.
“They are more afraid of you then you are of them,” he said.
A full-grown coyote weights between 40 and 50 pounds. With a couple exceptions, people hunt coyotes year around for the fur, not to eat, Barr said.
Some hunt coyotes that are a nuisance on their property, he said.
Coyotes eat small game such as rabbit and mice, sometimes small pets, even road kill or dead deer a hunter shot but could not locate. Some go into the cities looking for food, Barr said.
“Pretty much anything they can get,” Barr said.
If someone is having a problem with coyotes he or she should keep pets inside, remove garbage and pet food from the outside and keep the outdoor grill clean.
If a coyote is on a person’s property, usually clapping hands and shouting will be enough to scare it off.