Keep your eye on Coyotes
by Gary, Steve
(Waterdown, Balsam Lake, Heart Lake, Oshawa)
We see coyotes all the time around here and North Burlington. The builders are destroying farmland and wooded areas to put up thousands upon thousands of poorly thought out house subdivisions on tiny lots right alongside deemed Environmentally Sensitive Areas (EAS's). Same thing they did to Milton. Generally we see a solitary coyote, sometimes up to 3 in a small pack. They are very adaptable to human activity and wary but unafraid. We live along ravines and treed areas as well. My neighbour has had one come into her yard and attempt to play with her Alaskan Malamute. Another neighbour has 5 bird feeders that become squirrel feeders that in turn become coyote feeders. They simply wait in the woods/tall grass for the squirrels to run back to the woods and pick them off for an easy meal. They can get very interested in small dogs even on leashes and not in a good way and I have met walkers who were followed and were quite shaken. One thing they hate to see is me walking my German Shepherd. Male, only 75 pounds but bigger than any of them I have seen. I have witnessed them seeing him but not vice versa and still bolt and that's a good thing. He's also run them off many times but not too far as his recall is excellent and I won't let him get out of sight. Thankfully, he's the Alpha in this neighbourhood but I love seeing them even though I think they may have displaced the fox family.
Steve from Balsam Lake wrote ... at about 6 am, a full hour after dawn this morning, May 27, my wife spotted a coyote or coy-wolf on our property with it's front paws on our deck. She describes it as being greyish/brown, standing 18-24 inches off the ground, with a body about 24 inches long and a thick, bushy tail. One of our cats was under the deck and it's obvious this guy was after our cat but we have 6 other small dogs and cats and their scent is all over our property although they were not outside at the time. We have an 8' H chain link fence with 3' of barbed wire above it around the entire property. However, the animal could have walked through the water, around the fence or...I found a dig mark under the fence approximately 12" wide by 8" deep. A coyote, not a coywolf, could have made that hole and accessed our property. When my wife saw the animal through the window, it saw her and took off. It's unlikely it exited through the hole under the fence as it must have been in a hurry at that point. We saw paw prints where the animal had been standing which indicate an animal at least 40 lbs but I saw no similar prints on either end of the fence leading to the water...which must have been its exit point. Two years ago, a neighbor's 12 lbs dog was taken right off their property in full view of the family, which is why I built our fence. That animal was described as being 80-100 lbs but eyewitnesses aren't always 100% accurate. Still not sure about whether it was a coyote or a coy-wolf but it was definitely brazen in full dawn's light.
A reader from Heart Lake wrote ... me and my dog were hanging out in the backyard. The backyard backs onto a very populated area of Heart Lake "right by the splash pad and the main trail". Because of how populated the area is I’ve grown accustomed to my dog running up to the fence, playing guard dog and barking at passersby. Hence when we were relaxing August 9th, in the middle of the day, at around 2.30 pm, I though nothing of his guard dog barks. My dog's a decent 22 pounds of fluff, it was a really nice day out and I could hear kids screaming and music playing in the park therefor, theoretically, we should have been safe from the coyotes. But we weren’t. My dog was barking like usual when I got an eerie feeling and my 22 pound fluff ball started growling aggressively. Curious I quietly walked up behind my dog thinking "maybe there’s a cool animal, you know, not a hungry coywolf". Boy was I wrong. Right by the fence there was a massive golden coywolf. If you didn’t know they look like a coyote mixed with a German Shepherd. This guy is big, the deer are gone and he’s hungry. I’m about 5' 4" and my bf's German Shepherd is bigger than me" ANYHOW. Completely freaked out I start screaming and waving my arms around. Mr-German-Shepherd-Coyote just looks at me like nothing but an animal it could kill. Terrified because I’m standing in between a hungry ballsy coywolf and my dog "this thing won’t leave". So I start throwing handfuls of rocks at it. IT STILL DOESNT LEAVE! "It’s was not cornered". It took over ten handfuls of rapid-fire rocks and screaming to get this thing to back up. It was like curious and hungry and dog like, furthermore, as soon as it took cover, I knew I asserted my territory, grabbed my dog and went inside. This is repetitive but, Mr Coywolf wasn’t scared. When I’m walking back with my dog in arms I realize this thing only backed up to take cover. So I’m in complete panic mode and when inside I grab an Airsoft gun and run outside. The neighbour's are looking over the fence saying this coyote has been prowling the area for some time. (((Suddenly things click I've seen this thing for years on my forest jogs, this is his territory and he’s running out of food sources)). Devastated that this thing has been planning an attack on my dog and is a large animal, I walk out into the forest and start screaming. I see this thing cunningly sneaking around trees WALKING TOWARDS ME. So screaming didn’t work, I yell to check for humans and shoot. I scream more more and walk back. While I’m walking back I get ANOTHER EERIE WAVE SO I TURN I turned around and it’s there again. Displaying dog-like behaviour even though this is NOT A DOG. "It has puppy eyes tho". Without thinking I start chasing it and it’s still like prowling around. When I scared it away I side stepped home. Called my mom and tried to coyote-proof the backyard. This thing is a threat. He wasn’t scared of me at all I’d hate to see him near a kid.
A reader from Oshawa wrote ... a coyote killed my chihuahua in the backyard 2 weeks ago. It was on a bright sunny day at 11 am. The yard was bordering on the ravine and Oshawa Creek close to the Oshawa Golf Club. Heartbreaking !! My dog was an older dog approximately 12 years old. She had only been outside for a couple of minutes and only about 50 feet from the back door. I had no idea that this was happening in the city. At night I always watch her closely but during the day I’ve always felt safe, as she never goes far from the house. Absolutely heartbreaking !!