Coyotes become growing problem for some Lowcountry residents

MT. PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) – The number of coyote sightings, especially in residential areas, is on the rise. Growing development is pushing them out of their natural surroundings and into neighborhoods. Some coyotes are getting too close for comfort for some Lowcountry residents.

"They had no fear of me and attacked me when I got in between them and my cat that was obviously their prey," said Allison Lockwood, who had a coyote in her yard.

Lockwood remembers Nov. 24, 2009 all too clear. That is the day she stepped in between her cat and two hungry coyotes.

"They were biting and clawing and we ended up falling though the bushes and they took off," Lockwood said.

She says that very experience on her back porch in a Mt. Pleasant subdivision changed her habits when it comes to letting her pets out unattended.

"Be aware and constantly looking around," Lockwood advises.

Robert Vanwormr with Southern Trappers says those types of encounters are more likely now with the numbers of coyotes starting to increase. Coyotes are increasing mainly in the marshy areas like Patriots Point.

"The marsh is easy access," Vanwormer said. "There is unlimited food for them shelter and safety for them."

He says these highly intelligent animals are very hard to catch and almost always come out when its dark and hunt for mainly rabbits, raccoons, deer and in most cases they pose little threat to humans. The numbers continue to grow as the coyote continues to be pushed away from the forest.

"There is nothing stopping them from coming this way," said Kevin Murphy with Critter Control. "There is no way to put a boarder from the woods to here."

Murphy recently captured a coyote. He says a catching a coyote is rare.

"They are so hard to catch because they are so smart," he said. "That's how they have existed."

As for Lockwood, she says her cat would not be here if she had not gotten in between the coyote and her cat.

There are rules when it comes to hunting coyotes, but they are pretty relaxed...

There is no closed season on hunting on private lands, but you do have to have a hunting license. Coyotes cannot be hunted from a vehicle.

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