Coyotes get wiley in winter

A coyote in Yosemite
National Park. (Photo by Christopher Bruno/Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

The winter weather may be keeping people inside, but it’s not decreasing the number of coyote sightings
in Wood County.
Reports of coyotes in the area seem to be equal to past years.
Jim Witter, a naturalist at the Wood County Park District’s W. W. Knight Nature Preserve, said he wasn’t
aware of any particular increase or decrease in the numbers of the animals, which are reported in every
county of the state.
"I know that our rangers who’ve been on patrol out around dusk do see some around the railroad
tracks area behind W. W. Knight." He said he also sighted some of the animals along Interstate 75
one morning about two months ago.
"There were two that were walking through a field," he said.
Another park district employee, Witter related, saw one near U.S. 6 around the Bradner Preserve in
southeastern Wood County.
"Coyotes are still active throughout the winter," he said. "During particularly severe
conditions, really bad blowing snow, a blizzard or really cold (weather), they might try to hunker down
or shelter," but not usually out in the open.
Also, he said, January and February can be mating time for coyotes.
Jeff Studer, animal control officer for Perrysburg Police, also indicated that reports of the animals are
"about the same," with sightings in the city taking place largely along the Maumee River. He
said the police department keeps track of the locations for future reference but indicated that, beyond
the reports along the river, there’s no particular spot where the coyotes seems to appear.
"It’s kind of weird to them," he said of the residents that report the animals. "They want
to tell somebody."
Chris Gajewicz, natural resources coordinator for Bowling Green’s Parks and Recreation department, said
he’s "seen them in the farm fields outside of Bowling Green."
"They tend to be very shy around people," he said.
However, he said, "if they were going up in number I think we’d see more of them."
The coyotes tend to go after smaller mammals, like rabbits, mice and squirrels, and will pounce in the
snow to try and get at the tunnel systems created by some of their prey, said Witter. They’re able to
smell the other animals through the snow.
The animals will also keep to the roads, looking for easy sources of food, like roadkill.
Gajewicz said coyotes are also known to be in St. John’s Woods.
"They don’t live here, I don’t think, because I’ve never found a den. I’ve never seen them, just
evidence of them."
He said that, sometimes, the carcass of an already dead deer discovered and moved by park staff will
later be found well-picked over, the clear work of hungry coyotes.
"They do a pretty good clean-up job," he said.