News 12 at 11 o'clock / Wednesday, June 19, 2013
COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW) -- They've been in the area for years, but as the community continues to grow, more and more coyotes are showing up in residential areas.
Dan Eaton has been trapping animals for more than 20 years.
"I've caught them in downtown Augusta, caught them in Atlanta," Eaton said. "I've caught coyotes just about everywhere you can imagine."
He's the owner of CSRA Trapping Services and says coyote sightings are on the rise.
"Recently I've been getting a flux of calls, like two or three a day," Eaton said. "I think we had three calls today about them."
But he says the number of coyotes in the area hasn't changed.
"They're not used to seeing the animals, but they've been here all along," he said.
A growing population has forced them into the public.
"Augusta's moving, growing and they're tearing woods down and building subdivisions and developments, and you're in their territory, so you're gonna see more of them," he said.
Georgia's Department of Natural Resources says many of the calls they are getting are from the Evans area near the Walmart. They say many people are surprised to find coyotes are wandering in such heavily populated areas.
Both Eaton and DNR say coyotes are naturally shy.
"If you leave them alone, they'll leave you alone for the most part," Eaton said.
But if you see a coyote in your area, you should take precautions.
"Put your food up at night," he warned. "If you have dog or cat food on your front porch, keep that put up. Your trash, put [it in the trash cans] and keep your lids on."
Especially if you have small animals.
"You have little dogs or cats or what not, keep an eye on them when they're out because [coyotes] are a creature of opportunity and they will take it if they need it," he said.
Eaton says he's trapped around 100 coyotes so far this year.
If you want to learn more about trapping and wildlife, the Georgia Trappers Association is having its annual convention at the Columbia County Fairgrounds on Sept. 14 and 15.