FINS

COYOTE CALLS – A coyote scopes out the author’s neighborhood in Mechanicsburg.

Feral cat. Wild turkey. Black bear. Big Foot. Coyote. Opossum.

At the thought of them walking around the outside of your house at night, which of the aforementioned creatures give you the heebie-jeebies?

It’s not a trick question. In Pennsylvania they are all scoping out our neighborhoods in the dark.

Seeing a trail camera photo posted on social media this week of a coyote cruising our neighbor’s yard, was yet another shot of reality that wildlife squeezed out of its natural habitat is adapting to humans, whether we like it or not.

Truth is, coyotes live in every county. I have seen quite a few trail camera photos of coyotes moving about in Adams County. Thank you, Pat Naugle, for some of those.

Coyotes are monogamous. They maintain pair bonds for several years.

Litters are born from mid-April to early May and litter sizes average five to seven pups.

Known denning sites range from beneath overturned trees, piles of tree stumps, rock dens, and dug-out red-fox dens.

Young coyotes begin to disperse from the family group during October, when they are six months old. Studies indicate some juvenile coyotes dispersed up to 100 miles.

An influx of coyotes entered Pennsylvania in the late 1960s from the Catskill Mountains in New York. Coyotes expanded their range during the 1970s and occupied the entire state by 1990. The highest populations are found in the northern half of the Commonwealth.

There is no closed hunting season for coyotes or limit on how many may be trapped.

Primarily nocturnal, coyotes often hunt in the morning. They may howl at any time of the day, but will moreso at night when they are most active. Their senses of hearing, smell and alertness are very keen.

Though typically private, coyotes can pose a danger to people and pets. A nurse leaving work in Jefferson County last year around midnight was mauled by a coyote. It was the time coyotes are on the move. Pennsylvania Game News reported that it may have had rabies.

Coyotes are movers. As you’d think, they are motivated and hold to territories based on available food supplies. In most instances that is pet food and refuse.

The wiliest of coyotes are opportunistic omnivores. That is they eat what comes easiest. The longer they co-exist with people the more resourceful they can become.

In the wild, deer make up much of a coyote’s diet. Farmers lose livestock to them as well.

If we could just get them to develop a preference for groundhogs…

SAFE BOATING, FISHING

TAKE EYES ON THE SKY

It’s a nice-weather weekend to take advantage of National Fishing and Boating Week.

As with most days in late spring and early summer, it’s a smart and safe bet to keep an eye on the sky for threatening conditions.

A storm this time of year can deliver damaging, strong winds and rain or hail to an isolated area while having little or no impact on areas not far away. We’ve seen that in Adams County just in the last week or so.

“That can be problematic for boaters or even anglers wading in a creek or river,” says Jeff Jumper, state meteorologist with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA). “Areas impacted directly by the storm may experience high, fast-moving water almost immediately. Those impacts can also carry downstream to waterways that did not experience any precipitation.”

Boaters can add an extra layer of protection by getting a portable NOAA weather radio and wearing a life jacket at all times.

According to PA Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) boating accident reports, about 80 percent of all boating fatalities occur because boaters were not wearing life jackets.

Just last week, a 16-year-old kayaker lost his life when his kayak overturned on Mill Creek near Levittown. He is the first recreational boating fatality for 2019.

“We want people to enjoy the water during one of the most beautiful times of the year,” says Ryan Walt, PFBC Boating and Watercraft Safety Manager. “Keeping an eye on the weather forecast before and during your trip is a smart practice to make sure you don’t get caught off guard.

“Heavy winds can make paddling more difficult when you’re trying to get yourself off the water,” Walt adds. “Prepare yourself for inclement weather by becoming familiar with your waterway in advance. Map out your trip and file a float plan that includes several places you can stop along the way for a break, check the local forecast, and if needed, ride out a passing storm.”

LICENSES JUNE 17

The 2019-20 Pennsylvania hunting and trapping licenses go on sale at midnight on Monday, June 17. License buyers will get a free copy of the digest of regulations.

Send your wild thoughts to bjsmall@comcast.net. Follow on Twitter at Arrows2010.

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