Truesdale residents worried about roaming coyotes


COYOTES REPORTED — Some Truesdale residents have reported signs of increasing coyote activity near their homes. Missouri Department of Conservation photo.
By: 
Adam Rollins
Staff Writer

Residents in the Heritage Hills subdivision in Truesdale are voicing concerns about an apparent increase in the presence of coyotes roaming the area, and are asking what can be done.

“You can hear them at night,” said Truesdale Aldermen Mike Thomas, who lives in the subdivision. The recently built homes of Heritage Hills are at the eastern edge of the city, surrounded by woods and field. Thomas said several neighbors brought their concerns to him after hearing or seeing the animals. They asked if the coyotes pose any threat.

After consulting with the Missouri Department of Conservation, city officials said they don’t believe the coyotes represent a major problem at the moment.  However, extra caution is advised for anyone who owns small animals.

“If you’ve got little dogs, I don’t know if you’d want to leave them out at night for an extended period of time, or even out in a fenced area for an extended time,” commented Missouri conservation agent Bob Lyons. He said dogs or other animals smaller than 10 pounds can be targeted as prey for coyotes if they’re left unsupervised, but that larger dogs or humans will keep coyotes away.

“They’re not going to mess with humans at all. They’re not going to put themselves in a position to get hurt, because they can’t just go see a vet like we would do with a dog,” Lyons said.

He explained that people in Heritage Hills might be hearing more coyotes for a couple reasons. First, it’s a new subdivision built relatively far from other developments, possibly extending into existing coyote habitat. Second, there isn’t a lot of coyote hunting happening right now, so the population is likely increasing.

Lyons said coyotes are most often hunted or trapped for their fur. Fur prices are low right now, so hunters aren’t as interested in controlling the population.

Truesdale officials said they aren’t currently planning to take any action against the animals. While hunting coyotes is legal with a permit, discharging a firearm within city limits is not. And the wooded area south of Heritage Hills, although undeveloped, is within the city limits of Warrenton.

“If it becomes a problem, we can maybe discuss calling a professional company to trap them,” Alderman Thomas commented.

Police Chief Casey Doyle suggested that an alternate solution could be to work with a landowner just outside city limits to get permission for hunting, but that there could still be some concern with discharging firearms close to residences. And from personal experience, Doyle said luring out coyotes to effectively hunt them during the day can be a challenge. 

The Missouri Department of Conservation has temporarily loosened the rules for hunting coyotes in response to increased population. In February and March, hunters may use nighttime lights, night vision or infrared equipment to hunt the animals, which is normally prohibited. 

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