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Camera spies coyotes

August 24, 2007|By ERIN JULIUS

WASHINGTON COUNTY - A hunter whose camera equipment captured images of coyotes in Washington County on Sunday is concerned about the animals hunting local game, pets and children.

Coyotes are an animal that people must be wary of, said Eddie Clipp, whose motion-activated camera, which is meant to shoot images of deer, caught several photographs of the wild predators. Clipp's camera was stationed off of Business Parkway, west of where Interstate 70 intersects with Greencastle Pike.

The photographs taken Sunday show at least two coyotes with their muzzles to the ground in a wooded area.

For some time, local residents have speculated that coyotes preyed on cats that went missing, said Paul Miller, executive director of the Humane Society of Washington County.

A cat would be fair game for a coyote, but the predators, which Miller described as "very intelligent creatures," usually stay out of people's sight, so there have been no confirmed reports, he said.

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Every county in Maryland has an established coyote population, said Karina Blizzard, associate director of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources' wildlife agency.

"A lot of people really aren't aware they're in Maryland," Blizzard said. When coyotes first appear in an area, the DNR usually receives phone calls because people are afraid of the unknown, she said.

About two years ago, the DNR started studying the local population, but it's too early in the study to know how large the population is, Blizzard said.

The coyotes usually prey on small rodents, Blizzard said. Deer usually only are susceptible to the predator when they are small or sick, but coyotes have been known to prey on small livestock such as chickens, she said.

Coyotes usually leave domesticated pets alone, but foxes usually move out when coyotes take over their area, Blizzard said.

Hunters can go after coyotes all year, she said.




For more information about coyotes, call the Maryland Department of Natural Resources' Indian Springs office at 301-842-2702 or go to www.dnr.state.md.us/wildlife/furbearers.asp.

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