Have you been seeing or hearing more coyotes lately? This report from the biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission explains why. October and November are the months when young coyotes — those born in early spring — are leaving their parents’ territory to find a mate and establish their own territory. Young coyotes often travel with their siblings during this time and can travel long distances — upward of 300 miles before settling down into their own territories.

During these wanderings, their characteristic yipping, howling and barking often can be heard as they keep track of each other, as well as other coyotes whose territories they are passing through. Because of the hollow tone of the howl, two coyotes often sound like a huge group and may seem closer than they actually are.

Contrary to popular belief, hearing a coyote howl does not mean it has just taken down prey, although some people do find their howls unnerving. Fortunately, hearing or seeing a coyote, even during the day, is usually no cause for alarm.

“Coyotes rarely attack humans,” said Falyn Owens, the agency’s extension biologist. “Coyotes are curious, but wary whenever they are near humans; however, they can become bold and habituated to humans if people feed them, either purposely or unintentionally.”

Owens recommends that people follow several tips to keep coyotes, and other wildlife such as raccoons, from being attracted to their homes:

• Secure garbage in containers with tight-fitting lids; take trash out the morning of pickup.

• Keep bird seed off the ground and bird feeding areas clean.

• Remove fallen fruit from trees.

• Feed pets indoors or remove food when a pet is finished eating outside.

Because coyotes view outdoor cats and small, unleashed dogs as a potential food source, people should keep their pets inside, leashed or inside a dog-proof fence at all times.

By having no unnatural food attractants available, coyotes are more likely to stay wary of people and avoid them and their homes.

Additional tactics can help them actively avoid certain areas. “Hazing, or standing your ground and scaring the animal off can be a good way to ensure these wild animals develop or maintain a healthy fear of humans,” Owens said. “You can effectively intimidate a coyote by throwing small objects toward it, making loud noises, or spraying it with a water hose. Keep it up until the coyote leaves.”

SMALL GAME: Autumn ushers in more small game hunting. Rabbit and quail seasons open Nov. 2 and close on Feb. 29; Wilson snipe opens Nov. 14. and closes on Feb. 28. The daily bag limits are five for rabbit, six for quail and eight for snipe. Dove’s second segment closes on Nov. 3, but will reopen Dec. 8 – Jan. 15, a limit of 15 per day.

Last year the woodcock season was shifted two weeks later on the calendar to better match the bird’s southerly migration through Tennessee; and this year it is a split season: Nov. 9 – Dec. 1 and Jan. 10-31. The daily bag limit is three. Remember that the Tennessee Migratory Bird Permit ($2) is required for dove, snipe and woodcock.

INPUT: The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is seeking comments for its 2020-21 waterfowl and other migratory bird hunting regulations, including sandhill cranes. This is an opportunity for the public to provide ideas and share concerns about hunting regulations with TWRA staff. The comment period is open Oct. 21 to Dec. 2.

Due to changes in the timing of the federal regulation process, waterfowl and other migratory game bird hunting seasons are now proposed to the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission at its January meeting and voted upon at its February meeting.

Public comments will be considered as proposals for regulation changes. Email submissions to twra.huntingcomments@tn.gov. Include “Waterfowl Season Comments” on the subject line. For comments by postal mail, send to: 2020-21 Waterfowl Season Comments, TWRA, Wildlife and Forestry Division, P.O. Box 40747, Nashville, TN 37204.

GRANTS: For those concerned citizens who would like beautify their communities, here is some state money to help. The TWRA has grant dollars available to assist community organizations, civic groups, watershed organizations, and conservation groups with riparian tree planting projects. The best tree planting season in Tennessee is December through March. The TWRA will accept proposals through Dec. 1.

Five grants of $500 each are available for each of TWRA’s four regional Aquatic Habitat Protection projects, a total of $2,500 per region. The grants require the group to have a nonprofit tax number. The projects are to be completed, the money spent, and a report submitted by June 30, 2020.

Applicants should have complete contact information in their request, including the leader’s tax number. The proposal should also include the name of the stream, county or counties involved, and the project area and description. For more information contact Della Sawyers at 615-781-6577 or Della.Sawyers@tn.gov.

Email wiest.tom@gmail.com to share your news with Tom Wiest.

Tom Wiest is a long time columnist on all matters outdoors. He welcomes news, questions and comments from readers.

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