RALEIGH, N.C. (October 25, 2021) – Just in time for Halloween, expect to see and hear more coyotes over the coming weeks as young coyotes leave their parents’ territory to establish a home of their own. They may wander long distances – upward of 300 miles – before settling down somewhere that’s not already occupied by an established coyote pair. As young coyotes roam, biologists at the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission experience an increase in reported sightings.
According to data collected through the agency’s N.C. Wildlife Helpline, the most common calls about coyotes are about:
At first, littermates often travel together before splitting off in search of a mate. Young coyotes will yip, howl and bark to keep track of each other, as well as other coyotes whose territories they are passing through. The hollow tone of their howl and a tendency to vocalize rapidly in a constant stream of sounds can make two coyotes sound like twenty.
“These days coyotes are common across North Carolina - even in residential areas - though they can be very good at not being seen. Hearing or seeing one is no cause for surprise or alarm,” said Falyn Owens, the agency’s extension biologist. “Coyotes usually try to avoid people as much as possible.”
Owens warns, however, that coyotes are opportunists and their typical standoffish behavior toward people can turn indifferent if they regularly get food near where people live and work, especially if they experience few consequences for hanging around.
To make homes and neighborhoods less attractive to coyotes, Owens recommends the following tips:
Eliminating easy food sources and creating an active deterrence can help coyotes maintain a healthy fear of humans. Owens advises, “They’re territorial animals, so they understand when they’re overstepping their bounds into an area that doesn’t belong to them. Actively scaring off coyotes helps show them where they’re not welcome.”
For more information about coyotes in North Carolina, visit the Wildlife Commission’s coyote page or call the agency’s N.C. Wildlife Helpline toll-free at 866-318-2401, Monday through Friday (excluding holidays), 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Coyotes can be hunted year-round and can be trapped during the statewide regulated trapping season (Nov. 1 through end of February).
Shutterstock, Matt Knoth