GALENA, Mo. — You can see a coyote any time of the year in the Ozarks, but the peak of coyote mating season happens from mid-to-late February to early-to-mid March. You don’t need to be alarmed, coyotes often go after rabbits and mice.
But 10 to 20 percent of a coyote’s diet is young farm animals, poultry, and sometimes pets.
“She doesn’t play well with other dogs,” dog owner Melissa Harmon said. “She loves people, but she is just fearless until the other night when she was at the door.”
On a cold night in February, Harmon let Baci out before bedtime.
“We have a pretty large front yard, and she knows the area,” Harmon said. “A lot of times we’ll watch her. This time I just closed the door and did something else, and heard her barking at the door.”
After letting her back inside, she noticed something on her driveway.
“At first I thought it was a fox,” Harmon said. “It just kind of hits you. You’re not expecting something to be in your driveway like that. Then I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, that’s a coyote.”
The coyote then gracefully walked away.
“But, I mean, he was licking his chops at Baci,” Harmon said.
Francis Skalicky with the Missouri Department of Conservation says situations like Harmon’s don’t happen often, but it can.
“Particularly at this time of year, if there’s been a cold snap like we just had, you could have some hungry coyotes out there,” Skalicky said. “Some of their food sources maybe we’re not as available.”
If you want to avoid seeing a coyote on your property, Skalicky has some recommendations.
“Get rid of the leftover pet food that may be out at night, secure the trash cans so they’re not getting into that,” Skalicky said.
If that doesn’t work, scare it away.
“Throw something at it, make noise,” Skalicky said. “Anything to let them know that they’re not wanted. Try to keep your pets inside as much as possible. If you need to go outside in the evening with your dog, go outside with it. Just try to be as vigilant as possible.”
Skalicky says if you have a coyote problem in a rural area, hunting can be a solution for most of the year. Coyotes are most active around sunset.
He says 80% of their diet helps us, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.