Are coyote sightings cause for concern in Lancaster County?

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. -- Coyote sightings are causing some concern in Lancaster County.

But should they be?

The concern comes after a man shared a photo online that showing a coyote dead near Route 30 and Pa-23, a busy area.

A spokesman for the Pennsylvania Game Commission says it's just a part of living in the Commonwealth.

A park ranger in Lancaster County echoed his message.

“It’s just like any other animal. Inevitably, they’re going to have contact with people, and unfortunately, get hit by cars," said Benjamin Arnold, the chief park ranger for Lancaster County Department of Parks and Recreation.

“Over that hill, pretty much straight across from us," said Arnold. "We think there’s a den."

Arnold is talking about a treeline just beyond a field off Exhibit Farm Road in West Lampeter Township.

“One of our park neighbors actually saw a coyote in this wood line, two days ago... so the sightings are pretty frequent," explained Arnold.

Is it common for people to see several coyotes at once, like folks are sharing online?

“Coyotes for much of the year will live in family groups. It’s not unusual to have several coyotes in one group and the potential for seeing many coyotes, but with that said, coyotes sightings are somewhat rare, because they want to keep themselves scarce most of the time," explained Travis Lau, a spokesman for the Pa. Game Commission.

Lau says there is one thing that’s unusual to hear about.

"In most cases, a coyote is going to want no part of altercation of any close encounter with a person. Attacks are very very rare," he said.

Which is why officials say if you hear a howl in your backyard...

"My advice would be, with sightings being as rare as they are, to enjoy it… and count your blessings," said Lau.

"Just admire them from a safe distance… because just like that, they’re gone. So look at them why you can," added Arnold.

Lau says the bulk of the mating season for coyotes is done mid-February, but with that said, every year, there’s early and late breeding so some of the sightings could be triggered by that breeding activity.

 

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