DES MOINES, Iowa -- Residents in Des Moines say they’ve been seeing more coyotes recently.
At first, a Des Moines couple only heard the coyotes in the field near the woods across from their house on 30th Street. But just a few days ago, they actually saw them.
“I did see two actually. They came out into the field,” Des Moines resident Courtney Ford said.
Ford said she heard about coyotes attacking a dog on the Beaverdale Facebook page and said other residents are worried.
“I understand why people would be worried. I have a family myself. I have a dog, a cat. I don’t want them to get hurt, but I would just leave them alone,” Ford said.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said it is not unusual to see more coyotes this time of year.
“They may be a little more visible, especially any time you get snow on the ground where folks are just seeing them out hunting. The other side of it, too, is that it’s breeding season as well, so they are more active with that right now,” Iowa DNR Furbearer Biologist Vince Evelsizer said.
Ford said she’s personally not too concerned by the coyotes themselves but feels uneasy about unwanted action in the neighborhood their presence could bring.
“I heard there’s like open season on coyotes or something. That gets me worried about stuff like this because yes, it is very close to my house, but we’re not hanging out outside in our front yard, and our backyard is fenced in. I don’t really know a whole lot about them,” Ford said.
Evelsizer said coyotes usually aren’t interested in people and tend to eat rodents and other small prey, but sometimes those in urban environments can act differently. They have some tips for those who are concerned.
“Couple of things they can do is to try to make noise or appear large when they’re out and about on their walk or jog. Go in the middle of the day more often. Maybe don’t go in low light periods if you can help work it in around your work schedule. Another important thing they can do is to report it to city administration officials of the town that they’re in so that they are aware of those issues. If a coyote is acting emboldened, when you know it’s just getting too close to you or pets, then that’s a safety issue and something might need to be done specifically with a couple of individual animals there,” Evelsizer said.
If coyotes are becoming a problem in your area, it's best to start by calling the police. The Iowa DNR said you can also contact them with any questions or concerns at 515-725-8200.