Illahee Community Update 9-15-11 Responses to Coyote Email, Work Party, Compass Circle Project

Coyote Concern Email. In the last update we included an email we received regarding concerns over the increasing numbers of coyotes in the area, they felt there was a group of 30-40 coyotes, at least it sounded like it to them.


Informed Responses. We were happy to have some informed responses come in quickly, and before we had an opportunity to contact the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW).  The first three this morning were:

Response #1.

I was a professional forester with the USDA Forest Service for 23 years.  I am educationally qualified to serve as a Forest Service wildlife biologist.  I am fairly familiar with the coyote (Canis latrans), having worked and lived alongside them during my entire career. 

 

I just read your Illahee Community update for 9/14/11.  The coyote densities referenced by your correspondent are far higher than possible.  Coyotes occupying the very best habitat approach densities of about five per square mile. There certainly are not “30 to 40 of them” in the Illahee area.  Following pup dispersal, coyote density never gets much higher than this because coyotes are very aggressively territorial.  Howling and yipping are the coyote’s primary means of territorial defense against intrusion by other coyotes.  They do their best to sound numerous, but they really are not.   Coyotes are not dangerous to humans, but will readily utilize cats and even small dogs as food.

 

Efforts to control coyote numbers are usually expensive and not very effective.  Coyotes respond to heavy population suppression by increasing litter sizes.  Suppression efforts must be constant or the coyote population quickly bounces back to pre-suppression levels.

 

Humans walking a small dog through prime coyote territory should keep their pet leashed, especially if the dog has a tendency to run a considerable distance from its owner during walks.  Cat owners in coyote country should keep their pets indoors, especially at night.

 


Response #2.  The link provides some great information.

Regarding coyotes, people can find more information on living with coyotes athttp://www.westsoundwildlife.org/wildlife/FunFacts/FF_Coyotes.html  

We’ve got them in our neighborhood, too.

 


Response #3.  The link provides additional information and a video.

Lets limit the fear mongering on coyotes.  Here is a link http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/coyotes.html .  Pack size is typically around 10 individuals.  They are normally territorial so the same pack will occupy an area unless something (like removal) happens.  I would be very surprised to see a pack of “30-40” individuals.  They only typically become a problem if people feed them (as raccoons, bears and any other nuisance wildlife).  So keep your pet food, garbage and pet cats inside.  They like to eat rodents, berries and carrion (and kitty cats in more suburban settings but your cats should not be outside unless enclosed or supervised anyway).  If the noise is the main problem ear plugs are much more effective and cheaper than removal (if they are removed more will just move in and claim the territory).  If the coyote population goes away the rodent (i.e. RAT) population will increase.  Rats/rodents are more of a human health concern.

Thanks! Thanks for the informed responses, which should alleviate any fears residents might have.

Illahee Preserve Work Party Saturday. On Saturday morning there will be another major Illahee Preserve work party, sponsored by the East Bremerton Rotary Club, with the Washington Youth Academy.  The remaining wood chip pile should be pretty much depleted after Saturday as the chips are placed on trails, an unauthorized trail should be closed, some more logs should be placed around the rain garden to replace those stolen last winter, scotch broom should be removed from along the detention ponds and the Almira Road right-of-way, along with various other projects.

Compass Circle Mowing. The Compass Circle area of the Preserve was mowed on Wednesday in anticipation of a major work party later this month or in October to restore that area to a wildlife meadow.  This is a big project that is part of Nathan Clemen’s Eagle Scout project.  Nathan and his Boy Scout troop put in a perimeter trail around Compass Circle this summer and will later install some meadow viewing areas.  The meadow will be planted with a wildlife seed mix, which needs to be planted as soon as the rains begin, which is planned for October.  Once that is completed the paths through the middle of the meadow will be closed so as to enhance the use of the meadow by wildlife.

Jim Aho