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Coyote Spotted in Darnestown

"Coyotes don't normally pose a threat to people, but there's always a risk."

A coyote was caught on film roaming the grounds of a private farm in Darnestown in the early morning hours of July 31. Holger Kray, a Darnestown resident and volunteer with Patriot Land and Wildlife Management, said he set up a trail camera there, along with various other properties in the area.

Patriot LWM helps landowners with environmental improvements and wildlife management.

Kray sent the photo of the coyote out in a Tweet earlier today. He said he didn’t do it to alarm anyone.

“We’ve had several sightings of coyotes,” Kray said. “It’s fascinating to inform residents of the beautiful and diverse wildlife in a suburban area. I’m a true wildlife enthusiast.”

Kray said coyotes are present in the area, but should not be considered dangerous to human beings, including children. His neighbor spotted one four weeks ago on Berryville Road in Darnestown, and his wife saw one on their property last year.

Kray said coyotes are here as a natural migration and that they are afraid of humans.

“Their first choice is to run away from humans. This is why you hardly ever see a coyote. They feed on small rodents, on little deer and human beings should not be afraid of them. The same holds true for foxes, dogs and cats.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the government agency that manages coyote sightings in the state, said there is no available estimate for how many coyotes there are in the county, only that coyotes have a presence in every county of the state.

“It is a very rare and exciting experience to see a coyote. People normally don’t get to,” said Patricia Allen, Wildlife and Heritage Information Manager at DNR. “Coyotes don’t normally pose a threat to people, but like any wild animal, there’s always a risk.”

Allen said wild creatures are allowed to roam freely, but there are biologists at DNR who study their behavior. There are also two hunting seasons for coyotes: the firearm, bow and crossbow season, from October 15 to March 15, and the trapping season which runs from November 1 to January 19 in Montgomery County.

County residents who are concerned about coyotes may call the DNR nuisance hotline at 1-877-463-6497.

Susan Kim August 09, 2011 at 12:00 PM
Cool! I saw one in Germantown a few months ago. He/she was running down Great Seneca Highway looking completely frightened. I hope it made it to safety.
Katy August 15, 2011 at 12:48 AM
Mr. Kray is not completely informed when he discusses the predatory behavior of coyote in the area. We have a small Yorkshire and while walking on a paved path in Gaithersburg, a coyote calmly stepped from a wooded area adjacent and took our 8 lb dog into his mouth, holding her by the neck. Luckily she was wearing a doggy sweater and he snatched her by the collar. Our dog cried out and my father acted quickly striking the coyote with a back-pack. He knocked the coyote over, stunned, and I immediately pulled my dog from it's mouth. It retreated to the woods but followed my family for a bit. It was very frightening and we were shocked and shaking. This coyote did not appear frightened by humans and when we informed the DNR about the incident they said the animal may have been rabid. They also stated that area coyote are becoming more common and as a result less frightened by human contact. When we took our small dog to the vet to check for injury, she informed us that coyotes are responsible for many of the inexplicable disappearances of small pets in the area. The vet had reports of coyote jumping residential fences to attack small dogs and cats. I just feel pet owners should be aware of this threat and be very careful, especially off leash at night. Our incident happened at 4 o'clock in the afternoon in broad daylight. I love wildlife too, but these are not cowardly, shy animals.
tushara February 23, 2013 at 02:19 AM
My sister lives in rockville maryland. She told me that she saw a red fox and a coyote sometimes and especially during the summer, red fox and coyotes smell food cook out. I live in gaithersburg Maryland, and I sometimes see a red fox at the MVA. If I have a dog or a cat, I rather keep it in my home...

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