Hillsdale boasts a robust wildlife scene, but the local issue of coyotes has become a popular and pressing topic among residents.
In response to these concerns, Hillsdale County Commissioner Ruth Brown set up a Community Conversation on Tuesday, Jan. 21 to discuss coyote sightings around Hillsdale County.
“This has become a concern in the neighborhood,” Brown said. “So, I decided to have this Community Conversation at Rough Draft. I was hoping to bring awareness to the issue. I have Community Conversations every month on different topics, and I try, every month, to do a current topic.”
Hillsdale County Conservation Officer Edward Rice, who works for the State of Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources, spoke at the Community Conversation, addressing reports of coyote sightings on the southwest border of the City of Hillsdale.
With coyote sightings throughout the city and county, Rice said, residents can trap or hunt the coyotes year-round.
“I enforce the rules and regulations regarding the trapping,” Rice said.“You can hunt coyotes anytime in the year. And if coyotes are doing damage to your property, or about to, you can take them at that point. With this issue being in the city, you have to get permission to hunt within the city limits.”
Earla Carver, a resident living on the south side of Hillsdale, said she’s trying to combat the coyote problem in her backyard.
“When they are on a kill, it is the hardest thing in the world to be woken up by them and listen to the poor animal that they are killing,” Carver said. “I have requested that people hunt them. I do not want traps because we have a lot of neighbors who have cats that wander. We would kill a cat.”
Several weeks ago, Carver said she was surprised to have a band of coyotes underneath her deck. And although she does not always see them, she can hear them around her house.
“I have no idea how many there are,” Carver said. “Sometimes I have just heard one and know it’s just one. Sometimes I have heard that it sounds like a pack, five or six.”
Rice said that particular part of the city has lots of pets, specifically dogs and cats, so many residents are concerned for their pet’s safety.
“I talked to a few neighbors and they all voiced the same concern,” Rice said. “They had seen the coyotes roaming in the streets. I told them that the reason being is based on the fact that the habitat is down from a few houses, and coyotes are scavengers.”