Oklahoma laws generally grant citizens substantive latitude to deal with wildlife problems and considerable assistance is available from USDA Wildlife Services. However, many landowners may prefer to employ individuals who are skilled and educated in handling human/wildlife conflicts. Although permitted and regulated by the ODWC, Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators (NWCOs) are not state employees. They operate as private enterprises and normally charge a fee or solicit a donation for their services.
You can find a Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Coyotes & Other Wildlife
Although not dangerous to people, they can be a nuisance at times.
The source of the problem is not the presence of wildlife, but the environment that humans have created for them. To prevent attracting wildlife to your neighborhood, we suggest the following 11 Things you can do to reduce problems with nuisance wildlife:
- Remove food sources. Pick up leftover dog and cat food at night and keep bird feeders out of their reach (or bring them in at night). Don’t let spilled food accumulate on the ground.
- Prevent access to chimneys with a commercial cap made of sheet metal and heavy screen over the top of the chimney. Repair soffits to prevent access to attics and install strong, metal vent covers. Keep dampers closed when not in use, but consult a knowledgeable source to prevent a fire hazard.
- Prune tree limbs away from the roof (10 feet away is best) or install a 3-foot wide band of sheet metal (6 feet above the ground), around the trunks of trees which overhang your house. This will reduce access to your roof by raccoons and squirrels.
- Non City or trash service issued garbage cans should be made of heavy metal and have lockable or tight-fitting lids to prevent access. Otherwise, keep them indoors as much as possible.
- Install metal skirting (i.e. strong hardware cloth) around the bottom of a deck to prevent a wild animal from making a den underneath.
- Provide shelter structures for fish in ornamental ponds and water gardens; cover the pond during the night with metal screening.
- Cover window wells with grates, bubbles or hardware cloth.
- Seal up holes around and under home foundations to help keep out mice, rats, insects and snakes. You can bury ¼ inch mesh hardware cloth 1-2 feet deep in places where animals might gain access to your crawl space through digging.
- Fence gardens and cover fruit trees and berry bushes with netting, or use an approved non-toxic repellent spray.
- Repair broken, weak, or rotted areas on the roof, soffit, and fascia of your house.
- Mark large windows with strips of white tape or raptor (hawk) silhouettes to avert birds from flying into the window.
All wild animals are opportunistic and will take advantage of the easy food, water, and shelter that people provide for them. Existence of these conditions causes animals to become habituated to neighborhoods and learn that meals and shelter can effortlessly be found within yards, trash cans, and homes.
Make sure all pets are vaccinated against rabies and licensed with the City each year. Protecting your pets from diseases that wildlife can carry will also protect your family from being exposed through your pet.
A Coyote’s Legal Status
In Oklahoma there is no closed season for coyotes. They may be taken by trapping or shooting, but it is illegal to use poison as a control method. It is a good idea to check with the state wildlife agency before undertaking any control methods. Call Wildlife Services at 918-299-2334 for more information.
Coyotes are elusive, adaptive, intelligent animals that manage to hold their own when living in close contact with humans. In urban areas they are more likely to associate people with an easy and dependable source of food and they can become very bold. They will come up to the door of a house if food is regularly present and coyotes have learned that small dogs and cats are easy prey.
Here are some steps you can take to reduce the chance of a human-coyote conflict:
- Do not feed coyotes;
- Eliminate outside sources of water;
- Position bird feeders so that coyotes cannot get the feed. Coyotes may be attracted by bread, table scraps and seed as well as by the birds that come to the feeder;
- Do not discard edible garbage where coyotes can get to it;
- Secure garbage containers and eliminate garbage outdoors;
- Feed Pets indoors and store pet food where it is inaccessible to wildlife;
- Trim and clean, near ground level, any shrubbery that provides hiding cover for coyotes or their prey;
- Don’t leave small children unattended outside if coyotes have been frequenting the area;
- Don’t allow pets to run free. Walk your dog on a leash and accompany your pet outside, especially at night;
- If you see coyotes around your home or property, chase them away by shouting, making loud noises or throwing rocks.
As for your safety, coyotes pose little risk to people.
Coyotes are generalists, eating whatever food is seasonally abundant. Coyotes are known to feed on mice, squirrels, woodchucks, snowshoe hare, fawns, house cats, carrion, amphibians, garbage, insects and fruit. Coyotes utilize forested habitats, shrubby open fields, marshy areas and river valleys.
The coyote is a social animal that selects a lifelong mate. Coyotes are quite vocal during their January to March breeding season. Both parents care for their young, occasionally with the assistance of older offspring. Four to eight pups are born in early May. Within a year some pups will disperse long distances to find their own territories, while other offspring may remain with their parents and form a small pack.
Territories range in size from 5-25 square miles and are usually shared by a mated pair and occasionally their offspring. Coyotes mark and defend their territories against other unrelated coyotes and sometimes against other canid species.
Coyotes, like all warm blooded animals, may contract rabies. Their close kinship makes coyotes susceptible where there are populations of unvaccinated domestic dogs.
Coyotes fulfill an ecological niche as a predator, thereby helping to regulate rodent and other nuisance wildlife populations. For this reason they should not be needlessly killed or removed.
Do Coydogs exist?
Coyotes are biologically able to reproduce with domestic dogs, but rarely do. Domestic dog/coyote hybrids, referred to as coydogs, are usually born in the winter. Since domestic dogs that manage to pair with a female coyote do not remain with her to assist in parental care, the young rarely survive.