This coyote was trapped near Hunt Road Dec. 8, 2020, after several sightings and complaints by residents in the area. Submitted photo by Lt. Randall Collins/Fort Leavenworth Police Department

Katie Peterson | Staff Writer

During the Fort Leavenworth Community Update Jan. 20 on the Fort Leavenworth Facebook page, Neil Bass, Directorate of Public Works natural resources specialist, addressed the concerns about coyotes on post.

Recently, residents have reported seeing coyotes walking around housing neighborhoods and some approaching backyard fences seemingly unafraid of the family pet.

Bass said, unless coyotes are provoked, coyotes don’t generally pose a threat to humans.
“No one has ever been attacked on post by a coyote,” Bass said. “There is no real threat, but if you were to get into a coyote-human conflict, you would most likely just receive a bite, very similar to a dog bite.

“You’re much more likely to be injured by your neighbor’s dog than you are by a coyote,” he said.

Currently, Bass said there are two traps and three cameras around post to track coyote activity around the installation. Three more traps will be set up in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, to keep coyotes from approaching a home, Bass said to secure and clean-up trash, pet food and food waste in the area.

“Coyotes are an integral part of the ecosystem. They are also highly adaptive and live among people,” Bass said. “They’ve adapted to live right on the periphery and right in our urban settings.

“They have benefits to us, and if we are good neighbors and don’t provide them with easy food sources and don’t allow them to be habituated, we can all coexist,” he said.
Maintaining clean areas around the home will also discourage other wildlife such as opossums, raccoons, red fox, skunk and deer, from coming near homes, too.

“A lot of things that you can do to discourage coyotes will also discourage these other animals,” Bass said.

According to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, coyotes may be attracted to people walking their pets, Bass said.

“They’re really interested in the other dog. In the natural world, canids are very territorial and very defensive,” Bass said. “They don’t always see other animals as food; they see it as a threat to themselves or to their pups or their food source.

“But in general canids kill other canids. Coyotes will hunt down and kill fox. Wolves will hunt down and kill coyotes,” he said. “I’m unaware of a coyote ever killing a domesticated animal on post.”

Coyotes can carry diseases such as mange, rabies or distemper, but there has been no evidence of that in the coyotes seen or caught on Fort Leavenworth recently.

“There has never been any rabies transmission to people by coyotes on post,” Bass said. “Coyotes moving around in the daytime does not mean they are rabid. Coyotes get out and move around all the time.”

Overall, coyotes pose more benefits than threats, Bass said.

“Coyotes clean up a lot of dead animals, like roadkill, deer that were shot and left in the woods,” Bass said. “The benefit of that is they can prevent disease by getting rid of those carcasses.

“Another thing they do is a huge portion of their diet is made up of small mammals like mice,” he said. “Without coyotes around eating mice, there would be a ton more field mice and cotton rats all getting into houses.

“The fact that we get to see wildlife on post, in our neighborhoods and right outside our houses, we’re lucky because a lot of people don’t.”

If a coyote is spotted in housing areas, call the Military Police at 684-2111 or Fort Leavenworth Frontier Heritage Communities at (913) 682-6300 to make a report. The use of archery equipment or any other weapons in the housing areas is strictly prohibited.


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