This is getting weird.
There seems to be a rash of coyote attacks on people, and it doesn’t matter where you live – whether it’s out in the boondocks or on the main drag of a city.
Don’t believe me?
Within a span of weeks, the following reports have comes across the Associated Press and Tribune Media news services at The Lima News:
• Columbus, Ohio. A police officer was bit by coyote when he was helping a stranded motorist on Interstate 70.
• Kensington, New Hampshire, a town of 2,100 residents. A man wrestled with a coyote for 10 minutes before strangling it to death after the animal attacked his 2-year-old son.
• In that same New Hampshire city, a 62-year-old woman was attacked and bitten by a coyote while walking her two dogs near her home.
• Solon, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. Last Tuesday, a video was taken of a coyote getting so close to a business that the animal almost touched the window of the building.
• Chicago (yes, Chicago). Two attacks were reported. One involved a boy “bitten in the head” and a man who told hospital staff he had been bitten “on his behind.”
This brings up several questions, besides the obvious, “What is going on?” Would you know a coyote if you saw one? Are there coyotes around here? And what should you do if you see one?
A coyote resembles a fox in appearance, only bigger. They typically measure about 2 foot from ground to shoulder and weigh anywhere from 15 to 35 pounds, though they appear much larger now due to their dense winter coats. They’re fast, able to hit speeds from 35 to 45 miles per hour.
Trevor Darville, the animal warden of Solon, said not a day goes by that he doesn’t get a call about a coyote. “Every day, I start work at 6 a.m. and by 6:05 a.m., I get a call of a complaint of a coyote,” he told Fox 8 News in Cleveland. “This is the time of the year. It is mating season; they are looking for food.”
Of course, he’s in Eastern Ohio with its hills and vast wooded areas. How about good ol’ flat Northwest Ohio?
“Yes, there are coyotes in northwest Ohio,” said Justin Harrington, of the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s District Two office in Findlay. “In fact, there are coyotes in all 88 of Ohio’s counties.”
Ohio didn’t always have coyotes. They migrated here from the western states 100 years ago. At that time, many of Ohio’s forests had been converted to farmland, driving away the wolves who lived there. With the main predator of small animals gone, it left plenty of easy meals for coyotes, a perfect environment for them to thrive.
“They’re a wild animal that is very adaptable,” Harrington said. “They can live in an area with people, but most of the time, they avoid people. They’re nocturnal, mostly active from dusk to dawn. Seldom are they seen during daylight.”
It has been almost seven years since police officers in Lima shot a coyote near the McDonald’s on Cable Road. It happened around 3 a.m. on a Friday in May. Officers Nate Garlock, Jesse Harrod and Ben Thompson received a report that a dog-like animal was growling, showing its teeth and charging passers-by. When the policemen arrived, the coyote growled and charged the officers. It was the last time the coyote charged anyone, as the officers responded with a volley of gunshots.
People should stay away from coyotes, Harrington said.
“Understand, these are wild animals. … predators,” he said. “They’re not pets; they’re not cute. Don’t leave food out to feed them. You’re just asking for trouble.”
Harrington doesn’t want people to dead-bolt themselves inside their homes in fear of coyotes. However, if you would see one, the wildlife officer said make as much racket as possible.
“Clap your hands and yell at them to scare them. Then back away from it without turning your back,” he said. “Whatever you do, don’t approach it.”
ROSES AND THORNS: The rose garden finds a guard and gets a few kicks.
Rose: The Super Bowl will be special for Mike and Mary Lou Schepp. Their daughter, Kelly, a 2004 graduate of Bath High School, is married to Mike Person, who will be wearing No. 68 as the starting right guard for the San Francisco 49ers. The game will have an added significance for Mike. He signed with the Kansas City Chiefs on Nov. 2, 2016, but was released at the beginning of the 2017 season.
Rose: A few Lima residents got a special kick out of watching the NFL championship games. Tiffany (Robey) Kern, a 2005 graduate of Bath High School and the daughter of Ron and Lynn Robey, is married to Brett Kern, the all-pro punter of the Tennessee Titans. Kern was named last week as the punter for the American Conference in this year’s Pro Bowl. Meanwhile, the punter for the Green Bay Packers, JK Scott, is the nephew of Ruth and John Huffman of Lima. He is the son of Ruth’s sister, Mary Schuler Scott, who graduated from Parkway High School in Mercer County.
Rose: To Andrew Boone of Lima, who is among 10 marketing students from the University of Northwestern Ohio who will be working the special events during the three days leading up to the Super Bowl.
Rose: Customers of Chief Supermarket on Harding Highway said they’ll miss Rex Mumea now that the store is closed. They called him a “friendly face” and “a great manager.”
Rose: To Shane McCroy, director of student life at The Ohio State University in Lima. He was the university-wide winner for the Outstanding First Year Advocate Award, which goes to a person who goes beyond the call of duty in helping students make the most out of their first year.
Rose: To Jane Whitney-Clark, of Lima, whose idea was featured in the nationally syndicated comic strip “Pluggers.” She wrote you’re a plugger if you remember watching the Andy Griffith show and thinking Aunt Bee looked like an old lady.
Thorn: Three weeks hadn’t gone by, and Lima recorded its first murder.
PARTING SHOT: “He’s so huge that instead of a number he should have a license plate.” — What you want to hear the announcer say about the team you are rooting for in the Super Bowl. “The only way they can gain yardage is to run their game films backward.” — What you don’t want hear them say.
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.