If you live on the Old Mission Peninsula, you’ve probably spotted a coyote or two around your neighborhood. We’ve heard reports of sightings just about everywhere – on the north end at Old Mission Point Park, around Bluff and Boursaw Roads, in the subdivisions off Peninsula Drive, and near Phelps and Eiman Roads, to name a few.
We’ve seen packs of coyotes in the field behind our house on Bluff Road, often headed towards Blue Water Road. But coyotes are nothing new on the Old Mission Peninsula. They’ve been around as long as I can remember, although it does seem like there are more of them these days.
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Michigan Coyotes 101
Here’s a little primer to familiarize ourselves with Michigan coyotes…
- According to the DNR, coyotes are native to North America and can be found throughout Michigan. They generally roam between two and 12 miles.
- Coyotes are skilled hunters and provide people with free pest control services by keeping populations of mice and rats in check.
- Coyotes are valued by many people throughout Michigan as a part of the ecosystem, a predator, and a recreational opportunity.
- Coyotes are shy creatures, avoiding people whenever possible. However, they are also naturally curious and may venture into an area if they smell something that might be a meal.
- Coyotes live eight to ten years in the wild and are an incredibly adaptable animal. They’ve learned how to survive in just about every environment, including urban areas.
What To Do If You See a Coyote
With more people moving to the Old Mission Peninsula, worries about coyotes injuring or killing small pets is a real concern. According to the DNR, if a private property owner sees that coyotes are damaging or about to damage their property, that property owner or designee can hunt and kill coyotes year-round; a license or written permit is not needed.
However, if you’re not a hunter and see a coyote in your yard or while hiking on the OMP trails, here’s a little primer from the DNR on what to do and how to protect your pets. Basically, be as loud as possible.
- Be as big and loud as possible. Do not run or turn your back.
- Wave your arms, clap your hands, and shout in an authoritative voice.
- Make noise by banging pots and pans or using an air horn or whistle. These sounds can also alert the neighbors.
- Throw small stones, sticks, tennis balls or anything else you can lay your hands on. Remember the intent is to scare and not to injure.
- Spray with a hose, if available, or a squirt gun filled with water and vinegar.
- Shake or throw a “coyote shaker” – a soda can filled with pennies or pebbles and sealed with duct tape.
- Be sure and accompany your small pets outside.
- Remove bird feeders, as they attract small birds and mammals, which are a coyote’s natural food.
- Take in your trash, pet foods, or other things that might attract coyotes.
If you haven’t seen a coyote, check out the photos below, including a trail-cam photo on Johnson Farms, and OMP resident Pete Meyer’s photos of coyotes he spotted recently near Nelson Road. Thanks for the photos, Pete!
Have you seen coyotes around your house or elsewhere on the Old Mission Peninsula? Leave thoughts in the comments section below.