CRESTVIEW — Most residents are aware of the prominence of deer in our area, but thre is one prevalent animal people might not think of as often: Coyotes.
A video on Facebook by Rhonda Strickland Martin shows a coyote walking through Liveoak Park Memorial Cemetery last week. According to Panhandle Animal Welfare Society Executive Director Dee Thompson, coyotes are very prominent in Okaloosa County.
“They’re not just in the north end, they’re also located in the south end of the county,” Thompson said.
Thompson said other counties around the area, including Escambia and Walton, have the same issues with roaming coyotes.
“They were brought in by hunters from the Texas area to train their dogs on,” Thompson said. “Then we were told the population exploded because our weather is conducive to them being in heat because we don’t really have a winter time, so they go into heat more often.”
According to Thompson, coyotes move around when they’re trying to find a new food source, which causes issues when trying to trap them.
“They aren’t an animal you can really get into a trap,” Thompson said. “The camouflage needed to trap them is difficult at best, but we (PAWS) do not trap them.”
She said coyotes are more likely to be seen at night when the sun goes down, but it’s not impossible to see some during the day.
“We have a big education push on nighttime and twilight hours,” Thompson said. “They’re usually hunting for food at those times.”
Thompson said while a coyote’s main goal is to find small food sources, she can’t say they are harmless to people.
“Stay as far away from them as possible. They are considered a nuisance animal,“ she said. “Don’t give them the possibility of a food source such as dog food or cat food or trash that is uncovered or not in cans. Also, don’t leave animals outside to wander at night. Put them inside and when you walk them, keep them on a leash.”