Recent coyote sightings in Rocky Mount should not be a cause for alarm for residents, a field officer for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission said.
“Most of the time, those animals don’t want to interact with us any more than we want to interact with them,” Nash County Game Warden John Lucas said.
Coyotes were seen in fields behind homes at the end of Bramblebush Court and the west end of Coleberry Trail, according to a recent email from the president of the Candlewood Homeowners Association to members of the association and nearby residents. They also have been spotted along Stony Creek, the email states.
Lucas said it’s not uncommon for him to receive calls about coyotes in rural parts of the county or within city limits. Often, he said, the animals are just passing through an area, which is a natural occurrence.
“We have a pretty good population of coyotes in and around Nash County,” said Lucas, who also serves as a field officer for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
The Candlewood community is located near fields and open areas, Lucas said. Wildlife tend to gravitate to places like that, he said.
Animals also tend to travel along Stony Creek, which is located near the Candlewood community, Lucas said.
The coyote population has grown during recent years, Lucas said.
“It’s just something we’re seeing more of,” he said.
Lucas encouraged people to make sure they do not leave out trash or other potential food sources.
“If a wild animal finds it, they’re going to keep coming back,” he said.
Many of the calls he receives could be avoided by people making sure their trash is closed and they are not leaving out food, Lucas said.
Many of his wildlife calls start in the late winter and early spring, when animals are looking for nesting areas or starting to hunt more to feed their young. That might increase the chances of someone seeing a wild animal, Lucas said.
Coyotes are wild animals, so people should be cautious around them, but usually people can yell or make a loud noise to scare the animal off, Lucas said.
Recent coyote sightings near the Candlewood and Lamplighter communities have caused some concern for nearby residents, especially those with pets.
“It’s just too close to home,” said Bob Bletsas, who lives on Stockbridge Circle.
Bletsas said he has seen a coyote in his yard at least four times on separate occasions during the past six weeks. He said he does not think it was the same coyote every time.
Bletsas has lived on Stockbridge Circle for 11 years. He said he had not seen a coyote in his yard until recently.
His home is located on approximately an acre of land that includes some wooded area, Bletsas said. He said he often sees other wildlife in his backyard, including rabbits and deer.
He said he has been keeping his German Schnauzers on a leash when they go outside.
Brad Herring, who lives on Candlewood Road, said he also has been keeping an eye on his dogs when they go outside. Herring said he saw what he believes was a coyote or a grey fox last week in his backyard. The email to homeowners association members said that foxes also had been sighted in an area near the end of Candlewood Road where it meets Stonybrook Road.
Rocky Mount police Cpl. Mike Lewis said the police department has been in contact with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
“We are interested in the concerns of our citizens and are looking at new ways to deal with situations like that at the same time,” Lewis said.
The main reason coyotes come around a home or business is because they’re looking for food, Lewis said. He encouraged residents to remove trash or food sources and to take precautions with small pets. Lucas said if people have questions about wildlife-related laws or problems, they can contact him at 886-3612.