MASON CITY — Those wily coyotes are on the increase in North Iowa.
We’re seeing more of them thanks to urban sprawl, and the fact that they’re moving north and east through the country, said Ron Andrews, a furbearer specialist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources in Clear Lake.
Also, coyotes are extremely adaptable.
“They’ve adapted very, very well to human activity and to all sorts of different landscapes,” Andrews said. “It’s been said, after you and I have left this earth, the coyote and the crow will still be here, because of their adaptability.
“I think out of all the animals we have in North Iowa, they’re one of the most versatile,” said Roy Hennagir, owner of Hennagir’s Animal Damage Control Service in Mason City. “Pretty amazing little animals.”
Andrews said coyotes first showed up in significant numbers about 15 to 20 years ago in North Iowa.
There have been recent reports of the animals in a resident’s yard, and in the parking lot of a Mason City business.
A coyote was shot Nov. 10 when it stole food from coolers at tailgate parties in University Heights near Iowa City during the Iowa-Minnesota football game.
University Heights Police Chief Ron Fort said he tried to chase the animal away, and shot it when it refused to leave.
“In those cases where they’re interacting with people, you need to protect the people first,” Hennagir said. “It’s unfortunate those police officers were put in that situation. But I think they did the right thing.”
The shy, nocturnal coyote is not interested in harming people. But they might attack stray cats or rabbits, Andrews said.
He added that, while most livestock is confined, the old “evil creature” stereotype remains — unnecessarily.
The coyote, Andrews said, has its own niche in nature.
It asserts itself with characteristic music (a long howl lets friends know where he is; “yipping” welcomes a new pack member, according to www.nhptv.org).
“In some respects, it’s kind of neat that, ‘I live out here on the edge of town and I see a coyote.’ That’s kind of nifty,” Andrews said.
“I say, savor the moment. The coyote is just another one of those critters to enjoy.”