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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Commission looks at adding coyotes to deer program

  • During a study session Tuesday, the Leavenworth City Commission discussed the possibility of adding a new animal — coyotes — to the city’s already existing wildlife management plan.

     


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  • During a study session Tuesday, the Leavenworth City Commission discussed the possibility of adding a new animal — coyotes — to the city’s already existing wildlife management plan.
    “They are becoming more prevalent in Leavenworth County,” City Manager Scott Miller said of coyotes, as well as neighboring Atchison County.
    Miller said he has been receiving reports from residents on Vilas Street west of 10th Street about coyotes coming into backyards from the surrounding wooded areas. Considering concerns about safety both for household pets and people, Miller said he investigated options the city could pursue to mitigate coyotes.
    Checking with state officials, he said coyotes are an unprotected species and policies on regulating the species are left to individual municipalities. However, Miller also said some methods of population control were not recommended.
    “Certainly we don’t want to be shooting coyotes, you don’t want to be shooting guns off in the city limits,” he said. “Traps, you don’t want that either.”
    One feasible option for the city, Miller said, would be to add coyotes to the city’s existing urban deer management program. Under that program, said to be enacted to curb the instances of deer-related vehicle accidents, deer can be hunted on city property and on other properties with written consent from the landowner by licensed bow hunters who pass both a written test and a target test.
    Jesse Jones said he lives in the area of Vilas Street where he sees coyotes regularly. While he has not had any attacks, he does worry for his neighbors, whose children play in the backyard regularly.
    “If one of those coyotes is rabid and jumps over that fence and gets a child, it’s not going to make a difference to them,” he said of the coyotes.
    However, Mayor Mark Preisinger, who lives in the same area as Jones, said he did not think the city had a “coyote problem.”
    “I’m not a hunter, but I very much support hunting,” he said. “I do believe that coyotes probably do form some ecological purpose, they’re somewhere in the food chain, do something necessary.”
    Preisinger added that the last recorded death by coyote attack was in 1980 in Los Angeles, Calif. Miller confirmed that according to state officials, there are no recorded coyote attacks on humans in Kansas.
    Preisinger said coyotes typically hunt moles, squirrels and other “targets of opportunity,” of which he said there were plenty in the wooded areas on the west side of the city. Killing an excessive number of coyotes off could also cause unintended consequences.
    But Jones said he had no other way of dealing with the problem and that he would be worried of the potential of an attack.
    Page 2 of 2 - “They are dangerous animals,” Jones said.
    The commission reached a consensus to move the proposal forward for a final vote.
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