Coyote sightings in Mohawk Valley

It's hard to believe that a busy city would be the place for coyote sightings, but just a couple weeks ago the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) received reports of a coyote roaming around the Utica area. And they say, that's not all too uncommon.

"Coyotes are real common here in the Mohawk Valley," said Steven Heerkens, a DEC employee. "We get lots of people to call up with concerns of seeing coyotes in their neighborhood."

Heerkens says places like New Hartford and Whitesboro, which have green spaces are much more likely to see coyotes roaming around, but just because you might not see the animals, it doesn't mean they're not there.

"Unless you happen to see it crossing in the morning, sometimes people don't even know that any of these animals even exist in their neighborhood," he said.

And it's not just green spaces that can draw coyotes to your property.

"If you attract them to your property through feeding or through throwing out compost, or what have you, then there's a chance you're going to encounter one," Heerkens said.

But if you see a coyote, don't be concerned. According to the Humane Society, more people are killed each year from flying champagne corks than are bitten by coyotes.

"I think that safety concerns, or that coyotes are aggressive, are somewhat overblown," Heerkens said. "I mean, there have been instances where coyotes have come into contact with people, but it's amazingly rare."

Another recommendation Heerkens has is for people who have pets to keep an eye on them whenever they're outside, especially if you live in an area prone to coyotes.

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