Agassiz-Harrison residents might have noticed an uptick in coyote activity in the area.
Sgt. Don Stahl of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service said though coyotes are active throughout the year, residents should be aware of increased activity in mid-spring due to this being pup season.
“Right now, they’re having their pups and have to provide more food and are taking more animals like wild rabbits or house cats,” Stahl said. “They’re taking more prey now, but they’re active all year.”
Stahl said in the 20-odd years he’s worked in the area, he’s never heard of coyotes biting people in Agassiz, Harrison or Chilliwack.
“Where they’re getting into conflict with people is when they go after cats roaming outside or small dogs off-leash,” Stahl said. “We had a call from a rancher between Chilliwack and Hope two weeks ago about a coyote that ate a calf while it was birthing, and that’s an extreme example.”
Stahl added it’s common for coyotes to go after free-range chickens or even the odd lamb or baby goat.
Stahl said the attacks in the Stanley Park area in Vancouver are highly unusual and coyotes generally don’t pose a direct threat to people. Bear spray, a sturdy walking stick or a slingshot and marble (to the hindquarters, not the face) are usually enough to fight off a coyote if they come after pets and livestock.
“Don’t feed pets outside or clean up any (pet) food that’s left out there,” Stahl added. “Bird feeders can attract mice and rats, which attracts coyotes.”
According to COS call centre data, there have been no coyote calls from the Agassiz-Harrison area in the past couple months; there have, however, been three bear calls, three cougar calls and an elk call. Calls about the presence of coyotes are more common in the Surrey or Langley areas, where about 200 calls or more per year are recorded.