Federal coyote hunter in West Seattle? Seola Beach encounter

June 25, 2012 at 9:59 pm | In Coyotes, West Seattle news, Wildlife | 103 Comments

That’s Seola Beach Drive in southernmost West Seattle, a street that first leads through a ravine, and then to a small beach community. It’s where one WSB’er had an encounter last night that might portend the arrival of federal coyote hunters in West Seattle, from an agency that reportedly has killed a million coyotes, among other animals, and come under increasing scrutiny as a result. We are still investigating – but on the chance that someone else has had a similar encounter, we wanted to share his story, and the results of our first followup.

Garry says a “silver full-sized pickup” showed up at his neighbor’s home last night, while he was out with his dogs. A man got out of the truck and told Garry “he was from the Federal Government, and was out to find/ hunt and probably dispose of at least one, perhaps two coyotes that have been ‘getting too close’ to humans. He said he had some calls with the animals stalking kids, other dogs on leashes etc. …”

He gave Gary a cell-phone number, but not a business card. Gary says the man “drove down the street, was down there for a while, in the greenbelt below Arbor Heights Pool, then I went inside and never heard the truck go back up the street.”

The prospect of a federal agent hunting/killing coyotes sounded like something we read about recently, thanks to a comment here on WSB – a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture called Wildlife Services. Across the country, it has come under criticism for some of its “hunting” – looking for the latest headlines, in fact, we found this report datelined today, regarding a Congressional request for an investigation of its methods. That story mentions a California newspaper’s recent series of reports on the agency, which says Wildlife Services has killed more than a million coyotes, and many other animals – the link provided by this commenter last month.

Here in Western Washington, if you search for news coverage mentioning Wildlife Services, you will find a few cases of urban coyote hunting – one of its agents killed three coyotes last year in Lake Forest Park, after a controversial case in which a sheep kept in a backyard was found dead, a coyote feeding on it. (There is disagreement over whether the coyote killed the sheep or just happened to find it as food.)

In 2010, Wildlife Services trapped and killed an “aggressive coyote” in Magnolia (here’s coverage from our partners at The Seattle Times).

Back to our e-mail conversation with Garry from Seola Beach. After his first note this afternoon, we called Wildlife Services’ Washington state office in Olympia, and spoke with director Roger Woodruff. He said that without “checking with (his) field agents,” he couldn’t confirm whether a Wildlife Services agent had been assigned to hunt coyotes in West Seattle, and asked for details we didn’t have at the time – did the truck have government plates? Was the purported agent wearing a uniform?

We asked Garry. He didn’t notice the former, but confirmed the latter. And he recalled the man’s first name – Aaron. So we will be checking with Wildlife Services again tomorrow. What Woodruff did say – repeatedly – during our conversation this afternoon is that his agency “does get calls” about coyote concerns but that it “never goes onto private property without permission.”

In the five years we’ve published coyote reports here on WSB, we don’t recall hearing about coyote hunters – federal or otherwise – so we’re wondering if you have encountered anyone like this recently, as we continue researching what’s going on. If you have, we’d be interested in hearing from you (editor@westseattleblog.com, or post a comment).

Meantime, we drove Seola Beach Drive just before dusk tonight, looking for any signs of a coyote hunter. Garry tells us that he called Aaron earlier this evening after “happen(ing) upon an eviscerated doe near the side of the road, which is strange, because I have never seen a deer on this street.” Garry wondered if it were some kind of bait or trap; he says Aaron denied involvement.

We’ll keep following up.

ADDED 10:30 AM TUESDAY: Pending a longer, separate followup, we’ve learned more overnight and this morning.

This may be related to two reported cases in April of dogs being killed by a coyote, north of Seola Beach Drive. One area resident e-mailed us overnight to mention the incidents, including one in which the resident said a coyote came into a neighbor’s yard and grabbed an unleashed dog that was out relieving itself. She said there was talk among the neighbors of hiring a hunter/trapper for $1,200. This morning, commenter Beth reminds us that she e-mailed us after hearing something about this in April. We lost the trail of the story at the time while trying to confirm the dog attack report with the city – which apparently was not in the loop. At the time, we hadn’t heard of Wildlife Services, but some information Beth shared from a neighbor at the time indicates they are the ones who collect $1,200 to send a coyote hunter; an agent named Aaron (same name as the person mentioned in our original story above) is described as “specializing” in West Seattle.

103 Comments

  1. This we don’t need.

    Comment by Mike — 10:07 pm June 25, 2012 #

  2. Good. About time.

    Comment by Under Achiever — 10:08 pm June 25, 2012 #

  3. This creeps me out and saddens me. The apparent lack of transparency is especially disturbing. I can’t thank you enough for pursuing this, WSB.

    Comment by goodgraces — 10:22 pm June 25, 2012 #

  4. OMG more nut jobs here in West Seattle..so glad I am moving out of here next month. I have been here 14 years and who knows what someone with a gun will do now. This area is becoming hillbilly haven. Next thing you know “Deliverance”.

    Comment by bob — 10:27 pm June 25, 2012 #

  5. Thank you for investigating this. If this is really happening, it needs to be stopped now.

    Comment by rocky raccoon — 10:47 pm June 25, 2012 #

  6. Coyotes have lived here for thousands of years and represent little if any actual threat to people. This is a completely unwarranted and heavy-handed approach that in itself can cause major problems (they’ve shot other animals? Dogs? Cats? Is it just a matter of time before they mistake a child for a coyote?).

    They sound like vigilantes in search of a trumped up “problem.” I sure hope we can get the order reversed if this agency actually approved it. Normally government agencies allow several weeks or more for comments from residents and then respond. The public process should take months if done properly.

    To my knowledge, no one here is in imminent risk of harm from coyotes. The information on their website seems to directly conflict with our situation here in West Seattle.

    Comment by ws suzanne — 11:00 pm June 25, 2012 #

  7. Here’s a chance for people whose neighborhoods are being terrorized to get some help.
    .
    The sad thing is people who need help can’t get it because of ignorant fools who keep spreading misinformation about coyotes and how they “were here first.”
    .

    Comment by JoAnne — 11:24 pm June 25, 2012 #

  8. Coyotes were hunted and killed on 49th Ave. S.W. between Brandon & Findlay last year. I think I heard it was done via FDA, but I could be wrong. There are still coyotes in the ravine. I believe there are many coyotes and won’t be wiped out.

    I’m 100% against killing them.

    Comment by I. Ponder — 11:34 pm June 25, 2012 #

  9. Not sure if I’d trust just a business card. All Federal workers have a ID card with a picture.
    .
    It also doesn’t smell right. The “agency” would be the the Department of Agriculture/Interior and they usually work with farms and range land, not the city. They would likely leave it up to WDFW to deal with coyotes in the city.
    .
    But on the other hand, who would “BS” their way into the city to kill a few coyotes when you could do that in the countryside legally? And a homeowner could just kill one at night with a low powered rifle and not get in trouble.
    .
    Quite odd so I’d actually bet it was an actual government worker since it doesn’t make any sense.

    Comment by eric — 11:35 pm June 25, 2012 #

  10. I live above Seola beach drive overlooking the ravine. Sometimes I hear the Coyotes under my house making crazy noises. They don’t seem to be causing any harm down there though. It’s a pretty huge ravine full of wildlife. I really hope it stays that way.
    The thought of some guy down there hunting makes me way more uncomfortable than having a few coyotes.

    Comment by Lolaleah — 11:41 pm June 25, 2012 #

  11. Terrorized?
    .
    Seriously?

    Comment by datamuse — 12:34 am June 26, 2012 #

  12. Good riddance coyotes!

    Comment by Long camper — 5:36 am June 26, 2012 #

  13. Wow another huge waste of money by the federal govt

    Comment by Nick — 6:21 am June 26, 2012 #

  14. Shoot. Shovel. Shut up.

    Comment by CB — 7:17 am June 26, 2012 #

  15. Is there someplace we can call about this? I’m up on Puget Ridge, and I KNOW we have Coyotes in the green space (seen them, heard them). Yes, an occasional cat gets taken. These animals belong here and I don’t want them shot!

    Comment by Alyxx — 7:27 am June 26, 2012 #

  16. I live on Seola Beach Drive, and see coyotes routinely. I know of no incident or time when they’ve ever approached anyone down here.

    I find this creepy and disturbing – an eviscerated doe? There are no deers down here, and certainly no predators large enough to eviscerate one.

    Comment by Tbone — 7:28 am June 26, 2012 #

  17. “Terrorized”, JoAnne? Wow, hyperbole much?

    Comment by Blinkyjoe — 7:39 am June 26, 2012 #

  18. The sad thing is coyotes getting shot because of ignorant fools who keep spreading misinformation about people in West Seattle being “terrorized” by them.

    Comment by brizone — 8:07 am June 26, 2012 #

  19. Yes, absolutely terrorized. There are several people in North Admiral who have found mutilated cats in their yard. One woman has found several.
    .
    This is a traumatic for the pet owners AND the neighbors who find dead cats in their yard.
    .
    There have also been packs of 3 to 7 coyotes seen walking brazenly through people’s yards and down the middle of streets in broad daylight.
    .
    They get bolder every year. The coyotes in North Admiral are already at the stage where they are comfortable being seen in daylight. They attack pets not just for food but to eliminate the competition.
    .
    Coyotes are an invasive species, a pest animal, and a threat to human health. But I suppose none of that makes a difference to you. You probably also oppose killing rats.

    Comment by JoAnne — 8:20 am June 26, 2012 #

  20. Is Seola a federal run park/beach? If not and this ‘hunter’ is really a Federal employee, which local authority called him in? My guess is this guy is a whack job running around near homes and kids with a rifle. Last thing I want is some nut job with a rifle shooting crap in public.

    Comment by Mike — 8:25 am June 26, 2012 #

  21. The ravine is private property. Owned by all the home owners that surround it. So that is an interesting point mike…

    Comment by Lolaleah — 8:41 am June 26, 2012 #

  22. If anyone see’s this clown again, call 911. Make him prove to a police officer what he is doing. Shooting a gun in a populated area seems dangerous to me, has anyone been reading the newspaper lately?

    Comment by Jeff B. — 8:43 am June 26, 2012 #

  23. In the five years that WSB has been publishing coyote reports, I don’t recall of hearing of any “The dingos ate my baby!” incidents.

    .

    Joanne, you think the coyote terrorists are bad, just wait until the Cows with Guns hit town! =:-O

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 8:44 am June 26, 2012 #

  24. Yes, it is my understanding that this is a federal agent hired by an Arbor Heights resident after his two dogs were attacked in his yard. According to other neighbors, a total of three other dogs (two on leash) were killed in April, and there had been a lot of talk about trying to find a solution. I’d actually emailed WSB about the deaths but it was never posted. I’m sorry and saddened that the coyotes are being hunted, but in my mind going after a leashed dog is far more aggressive than going after a stray cat, and the aggression changes our previously peaceful co-existence.

    To my recollection, the agent was to have come from the Mill Creek office of the federal wildlife service, if anyone is interested in further investigating the matter.

    Comment by Beth — 8:50 am June 26, 2012 #

  25. This is what happens when you feed the coyotes. This is what happens when you coo and take photos of them rather than chase them away. The coyote lovers have created the need to shoot them because you taught the coyotes that it’s perfectly fine to be around humans, approach humans, and hang out in our yards.

    Have coyotes been around a long time? Yes. And they used to fear humans and domestic dogs. You changed that. So they’re getting shot. Good job coyote fans.

    Comment by Rebecca — 8:52 am June 26, 2012 #

  26. JoAnne – the same could easily be said about outdoor cats.

    Comment by HP Rez — 8:54 am June 26, 2012 #

  27. All I can say is that I live in North Admiral right next to a large open space ravine area and I am far more “terrorized” by the local raccoon population then I have ever been by any Coyote. Yes, it is unpleasant to find a dead animal of any kind in your front yard (want to know how many bird parts I have cleaned up in front of my apartment… lovingly left there by our local cat population). If you let you cat outside there is a risk that cars, dogs, raccoons, birds of pray, people, the elements, and yes coyotes could bring harm to your pet. If you are ok with that risk, so be it, but don’t expect me to indorse the unneeded killing of one animal to protect yours.

    It is highly fishy that there was no ID shown. I grew up in rural Oregon in ranch country and any time there was any sort of population thinning program in place, residents were given tons of advance notice and all agents were readily identifiable (though that may be because randomly roaming around on someone’s land with a gun in Eastern Oregon is not an advisable past time)

    Comment by Thistle — 8:56 am June 26, 2012 #

  28. JoAnne — It’s clear you don’t like coyotes and it’s also clear that the fear you feel isn’t based on fact. Coyotes are not an invasive species. If they were, we’d be overrun with them, which we clearly are not. Nor are they a pest animal or threat to human health.

    You equate them to rats, when they (coyotes) are some of the best rat control out there. (And no, we are not opposed to killing rats. Why would you even say this?)

    We humans seem to put a lot of energy into dividing the world up into two camps, things we love vs things we hate. We put a lot of energy and fear into the things we hate, warranted or not.

    Comment by ws suzanne — 9:08 am June 26, 2012 #

  29. @Joanne-I live above the greenspace that runs parallel to Admiral. In fact we know there is a den with multiple cubs not more than 100 yds. down the hill. Not one of my neighbors, even those who have lost cats, want to see a predator which has actually helped control the raging raccoon population taken out. When my neighbor’s cat went missing he hired an animal tracker, according to this well known tracker it’s not the dogs taking the cats it’s the boreal raccoons. Keep your cats inside and you won’t suffer the terror of losing them. Oh and yeah, the dogs have also helped control the rat problem we have living on the hill.

    Comment by Sam — 9:13 am June 26, 2012 #

  30. Here is a program that should be defunded. I’m pleased that coyotes sometimes enter my urban neighborhood and cull rodents and other small animals. Folks, keep your domestic animals in your house.

    Comment by RayK — 9:25 am June 26, 2012 #

  31. JoAnne, if cat owners would try using their brains and keeping their pets inside, they wouldn’t be “terrorized” by coyotes eating their cats. Also, coyotes are NOT a threat to human health.

    Comment by Peabody — 9:30 am June 26, 2012 #

  32. “These animals belong here and I don’t want them shot!”

    No, they don’t. They have millions of acres to live on elsewhere in the state. They are a threat to human health and safety in urban areas and should be removed.

    Comment by vraxvalhalla — 9:36 am June 26, 2012 #

  33. Yea! Urban living is urban. I have lived in WS my whole life and we didn’t have coyotes around here in the 70-80s like we do now…NOT okay…happy hunting.

    Comment by Jack Spara — 9:38 am June 26, 2012 #

  34. Yes ask for ID and also check the license plate to see if it says government on it. Does sound rather fishy.

    Comment by M — 9:39 am June 26, 2012 #

  35. Sedate them & move some to new surroundings. Why must these beautiful creatures be killed. No need for it. They do this sort of thing with other animals

    Comment by Norma — 9:47 am June 26, 2012 #

  36. They are saving our household pets–cats and dogs. We thank them!

    Comment by eric — 9:50 am June 26, 2012 #

  37. thanks for mentioning our exchange from April, Beth. I found it in archived e-mail, including one last note from you that went unopened, about the letter your neighbor sent explaining the process. I was barking up the wrong tree at the time, trying to investigate with the city, which apparently doesn’t figure into this loop. I had never heard of Wildlife Services at that time. Now I have concrete information for checking back with the federal agency – TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:57 am June 26, 2012 #

  38. Does anyone know how we can contact the Federal Coyote Hunter organization so we can have them come to our ravine too? Cats should be able to wander around the yard safely, they do no harm as long as the owner keeps them away from birds, feeders and birdbaths.

    Comment by eric — 9:57 am June 26, 2012 #

  39. If the coyotes around Seola Beach have gotten aggressive then I actually do approve thinning them out (which might surprise some people), not least because it’ll make those that remain more wary, which is good for everyone including the coyotes.
    .
    But if I were a resident there I’d also be very concerned that no one had told me there’d be a guy down there shooting them. Seems like the sort of thing the neighbors would want some advance notice about.

    Comment by datamuse — 9:59 am June 26, 2012 #

  40. WSB, please remove the coyote map. While very interesting, some may misuse it. I believe we would be told by the state if there has been some type of “pest control” going on. Unless this person has been given a hunting license, which I would be very surprised, gun use and hunting is illegal. Recommend calling 911 if he or others are seen doing this activity. The police can then determine if legal or not. Sounds like there also may be baiting or poisoning going on also.

    Comment by wswildlife — 10:32 am June 26, 2012 #

  41. The Seola greenbelt is not privately owned – it was designated as a greenbelt about 13 (?) years ago. We never saw coyotes in the late 1990′s, instead we had lots of fox, but never see them anymore. Coyotes don’t have natural predators (just cars) and the pack here has grown over the past few years. I live here and have never heard of dogs on leashes being attacked….would want proof if this is being used as “evidence” to thin the pack. I agree – pets should be kept inside and nature will take its’ course.

    Comment by Sue — 10:33 am June 26, 2012 #

  42. “Yes, it is my understanding that this is a federal agent hired by an Arbor Heights resident after his two dogs were attacked in his yard.”

    Since when are “federal agents” available for hire by private citizens/neighborhood groups????

    Comment by goodgraces — 10:35 am June 26, 2012 #

  43. Cats are a non-native species, and they decimate native species: birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. They should not be running loose, outside of their own yards, but society generally accepts their roaming and resulting predation.
    .
    Just as roaming cats are predators, they are prey for coyotes (and some racoons). The coyotes are not surviving/thriving on meals consisting only of pets; there are plenty of shrews, mice, mountain beaver, birds, moles, racoons, etc. providing them with a robust food source. Killing 50 coyotes will have no long-term impact on the presence of a resident population in Seattle. They are intelligent, have expanded their population along with expansion of human habitation, and are successful in a variety of environments, urban, suburban, rural and wilderness. It will take a nuclear war to change that.

    Comment by lt fd — 10:36 am June 26, 2012 #

  44. I have added information to the story which leads me to believe at this point that this is true. Still a lot of questions, which we’re pursuing.
    .
    Re: the coyote map. Its point is that they are everywhere, which I believe serves important purposes. Those who didn’t realize they are everywhere are not likely to take the steps required for coexistence – learning (a) not to feed them and (b) to scare them away when you see them. We have heard countless cases of people who did that because that information has been shared here. Much of the information on the map is years old, as some had complained – it doesn’t discern whether a report was from 2007 or 2011 – if someone means them harm, it’s not going to be of much use as a “where to find them.” To my knowledge, none of the reports are about dens, but rather coyotes just spotted while in transit – in a park, on a street, etc.
    .
    So many questions. We’re back out to seek answers… TR

    Comment by WSB — 10:43 am June 26, 2012 #

  45. And meant to add: I have no doubt that this “federal agent” denied connection to/knowledge of the “eviscerated doe” that Garry found. If he admitted to planting it, that would be baiting, which is clearly illegal. Which it sounds highly likely that he is doing (since Tbone comments he has never seen deer down there). So disturbing.

    Comment by goodgraces — 10:43 am June 26, 2012 #

  46. Beth, so are you saying the coyotes went after some dogs on leashes while being walked by people? If so, that is crazy to think they would come that close to humans.

    Comment by Westie — 10:51 am June 26, 2012 #

  47. Yes Westie, they are coming right out into the open attacking dogs and cats during the day in front of owners as reported by several readers last summer. There are just way to many, inhabiting all of the ravines around West Seattle.

    Comment by eric — 11:30 am June 26, 2012 #

  48. goodgraces, also, if the rotting doe is being used as bait then the “agent” could have left coyote snares around it too; which could seriously harm (kill?) dogs.

    Comment by RG — 11:40 am June 26, 2012 #

  49. Westie, coyotes get very curious about dogs and will often pace one being walked by a person, which can be a little unnerving. If they actually got aggressive enough to attack one, that’s a bad sign. I’ve never heard of it happening, but it’s the sort of thing I worry about because coyotes getting comfortable enough to do that will end poorly for them.
    .
    Norma, coyote relocation has been tried before. It doesn’t work very well because other ones move in. Like it or not, our quasi-suburban environment with lots of greenspace, readily accessible scavenging (from garbage cans among other things) and small prey (coyotes eat mice and rats), and no other apex predators is perfect for them.
    .
    Plus, well, they live in packs. It’s not like relocating a bear where you usually have one at a time to deal with.

    Comment by datamuse — 11:43 am June 26, 2012 #

  50. We live in a disrupted environment here in Seattle. The predator/prey balance is out of whack in all our greenbelts. Some human management is necessary. It’s why there are naturalists in the parks department. However, I have not heard of any city or county wildlife assessments of the greenbelts calling for management/killing of coyotes. In the absence of such an assessment, why are the feds getting involved?
    Dear WSB, could you check with our local parks department naturalists and see if they know anything about this supposed “coyote hunter”? It would also be nice to know what their assessment of the coyote situation is.

    Comment by Amy Thomson — 12:06 pm June 26, 2012 #

  51. I’m talking to city and state people this afternoon, just off the phone with one city dept. and another is on my list.

    Comment by WSB — 12:18 pm June 26, 2012 #

  52. Listen people we humans are at the top of the food chain. We like or cats and dogs. We will protect them at all cost. To say that we humans or fellow animals have no rights compared to a coyote is nuts. I ask this question to you coyote lovers that think we invaded there habitat, What is and where is mans natural habitat?

    Comment by boy — 12:41 pm June 26, 2012 #

  53. @WSB – the remains of the deer are just to the right of the location of the photo above, on the other side of the logs.

    I spoke to another neighbor who also encountered ‘Aaron’. He knocked on her door at 9:45 pm and was asking about using her deck as a spot to shoot from. This just seems so impossibly stupid – live rounds from a sniper in a neighborhood? Really?

    Comment by Tbone — 1:12 pm June 26, 2012 #

  54. As far as the coyote hunter goes…Yes he had a Gov’t ID. Yes his vehicle had Gov’t plates. He is professional. They don’t hunt them during the daylight hours or early evening. They don’t set out traps. You will never see or hear them in the greenbelts hunting. You may see them tracking and planning the nights hunt, but not actively hunting.
    Coyotes are nocturnal and hunt at night. So that is when the are hunted.
    Yes, I have witnessed a coyote charging a leashed dog while on a walk in the early evening. Yes, I have seen coyotes along the edges of the greenbelt of Seola. Yes, I know of pets that were in a FENCED (8 foot high) yard that were killed. I have lost two cats to them.
    The issue is that because of the “awww ain’t they CUUUUTE” feelings that have prevailed the last decade and people passively/actively feeding them, they have lost the fear of humans and now see humans a food source/competition.
    I don’t blame the coyotes. They are just animals. I blame the humans that are responsible for the change in their attitude toward humans for the necessity of calling in hunters to “cull the herd”
    There are signs at Arbor Heights Swim and Tennis Club that warns patrons to be aware of VERY aggressive Coyote activity in the area.
    When you can’t even let you dog out in the back yard without the fear of a coyote attack happening then it is time to do something about them.
    Though it hasn’t happened yet, I wonder how long it will be before a man, woman or child is attacked/bitten by one. Will those opposed to killing them change their tune???
    I HIGHLY doubt it. To them WE are the intruders and should bow down to them and show them our necks!!!

    Comment by Ex-Westwood Resident — 1:17 pm June 26, 2012 #

  55. Tbone – Garry sent me a photo of the deer carcass. He noted that there was no blood around it. I am a lifelong city girl, not a hunter, not much for the wilderness outside established parks, so I have no idea what a deer would look like if killed by an animal vs. a human (and subsequently processed).

    Comment by WSB — 1:31 pm June 26, 2012 #

  56. I just talked with one of my contacts with WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife and learned that the USDA Wildlife Services wanted to kill a great blue heron by the Seattle Aquarium recently. The aquarium refused to allow them to do this. They’ve apparently been killing raptors by the airport.

    Here’s a broader picture of the impacts on wildlife that the USDA Wildlife Services has had — http://www.sacbee.com/2012/04/28/4450678/the-killing-agency-wildlife-services.html

    Comment by ws suzanne — 2:07 pm June 26, 2012 #

  57. One more thing I learned… the USDA Wildlife Services is known to use poisoned carcasses to attract and kill coyotes.

    If anyone hears a gunshot, they should call 911.

    Comment by ws suzanne — 2:11 pm June 26, 2012 #

  58. Worrying about dogs biting/attacking makes sense-
    .
    How big is the problem? According to the CDC:
    About 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year.
    Almost one in five of those who are bitten, a total of 885,000, require medical attention for dog bite-related injuries.
    In 2006, more than 31,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery as a result of being bitten by dogs.
    .
    According to one study (Coyote Attacks on Humans in the United States and Canada, White & Gehrt, 2009), there were 142 coyote “attacks” resulting in 159 victims bitten over a period of 46 years, 1960-2006. More good information can be found here- http://www.rockies.ca/coyotes/ecology.php
    .
    You should be much more worried about being struck by lighting than being attacked by a coyote. In the U.S. there are annually an estimated 360 injuries and 40 fatalities (noaa.gov). Compare that to coyote attacks and then to dog attacks.

    Comment by lt fd — 2:19 pm June 26, 2012 #

  59. The next time Elmer Fudd comes down from Mill Creek can you have him take out a few Barred Owls? This non-native species is driving the Western Screech Owl out of West Seattle and moving the Spotted Owls closer to extinction in other parts of the state. Now that would be a good use of his time, not shooting an animal that is actually helping the native bird populations by taking out cats that have irresponsible owners.

    Comment by Jeff B. — 2:36 pm June 26, 2012 #

  60. The seola ravine behind my house IS my property. I pay taxes on it, I maintain water drainage and such. It is private property.

    Comment by Lolaleah — 3:18 pm June 26, 2012 #

  61. Who was here during the big bang…no native species…or maybe all the American Euros should be asked to leave…WHO was here first, chicken or the egg?

    Comment by Jack Spara — 3:21 pm June 26, 2012 #

  62. Invasive Species:

    Unleashed (semi-feral?) domesticated cats allowed to roam, defecate and hunt freely throughout our neighborhoods and watersheds.

    - or -

    Coyotes?

    Can I hire wildlife services to take care of the wandering felines that poison my gardens and neighborhood greenbelts with their fecal matter?

    Comment by Zach — 3:26 pm June 26, 2012 #

  63. Lolaleah – Looking at the county parcel map and owner info a lot of the ravine is owned by Seattle Parks and Recreation. So some is private and some is public.

    Comment by ScottA — 3:56 pm June 26, 2012 #

  64. I’m posting this as an FYI to our Seola neighbors. Shorewood on the Sound had and has the same issues as described above re coyote packs. After many dogs and cats were killed by coyotes during the day last year, an agent was dispatched to kill the alpha of the pack. After this was done (neighbors were not notified of this beforehand), the coyote sightings were much fewer and daytime sightings disappeared. I waiver from YAY to NAY about this method because now a year later we are again experiencing pet loss. I keep my cats and dog indoors because I feel it would be reckless endangerment to let them roam where coyotes live. I am okay with this. Good luck!

    Comment by Renee — 4:42 pm June 26, 2012 #

  65. I’m fine with thinning coyote packs, too. Good luck, whoever you are!

    Comment by furor scribendi — 5:33 pm June 26, 2012 #

  66. Who “owns” the wild coyotes? Who has the right to kill them? This story is very distrubing to me. I can’t believe that “agents” can arrive in a neighborhood and shoot animals w/o notifying the people living in the neighborhood first — or getting some sort of permission to do so.

    Comment by bosslady — 5:46 pm June 26, 2012 #

  67. I think we should turn seola beach drive back to the old days of running illegal booze and a masquito fleet dock.

    Comment by boy — 6:35 pm June 26, 2012 #

  68. The Coyotes simply need to be seriously culled back. They are dangerous and are killing cats and dogs. I applaud the Federal efforts, and think local efforts should work in coordination to eliminate all the Coyotes in the greenbelts. Racoons too are a serious problem and should be culled back. Who do we contact to coordinate this effort?

    Comment by eric — 6:40 pm June 26, 2012 #

  69. The species that needs to be “culled back” is our own. We are the creatures whose very numbers have thrown the planet out of balance and are driving so many others into extinction.

    Comment by rocky raccoon — 8:07 pm June 26, 2012 #

  70. I think humans are more of a threat to well…. human health and safety than coyotes. Just ride the bus and try and breath the stench that folks who don’t take showers and you are sitting in those seats and touch those handle bars that have MRSA and ecoli.

    Comment by Jiggers — 8:27 pm June 26, 2012 #

  71. This from a cat lover and owner, who lost two beloved kitties before learning about urban coyotes: People. Keep. Your. Cats. Indoors. We confine our two remaining kitties and guess what – the vet bills also went down. These days I have nothing to fear from coyotes, as I’ve been educated the hard way. What annoys me is the neighbor cats who come and pee all over everything (yes, they are neutered cats but they still mark). The other thing that annoys me is neighbor dogs, roaming unattended while out to “do their business,” which they do in my yard, while knocking down my ornamental plants.
    Every time I see a “lost cat” poster, or I find cat pee on my car, dog poop or dead birds in my yard, I want to scream at the irresponsible owners.

    Comment by MMB — 8:27 pm June 26, 2012 #

  72. None of this adds up, and I am trying really really hard to be patient to hear what Tracy’s research yields. I simply do not understand how a neighborhood can collect funds, hire a federal (public!) employee, and “empower” him/her to enter neighborhoods with a rifle and/or poisoned carcases in an attempt to kill wildlife. Are we to take from this that any private group, with enough means (influence) can commandeer the government to eradicate “problem” species? Which ones are next? Who gets to determine which are problems and which are desirable? Talk about subjective!

    And do our local/city ordinances allow pedigreed individuals to hunt within the city? Surely not — so in this case, have the laws been (temporarily?) suspended?

    Finally, why all the secrecy? I cannot believe that no “Public Notice” is required when snipers (albeit ‘wildlife’-aiming ones) are walking amongst us.

    Comment by goodgraces — 9:07 pm June 26, 2012 #

  73. Europeans are an invasive species…

    Comment by 35this35mph — 9:38 pm June 26, 2012 #

  74. Good Graces, sorry the research is taking a while. I got bottlenecked today trying to reach state folks, who I need to talk with before going back around to the feds, and in reaching the right people at Parks to talk with regarding the issue of city-owned greenbelt in the area.

    Comment by WSB — 10:21 pm June 26, 2012 #

  75. To goodgraces, 100% AGREED

    To the Rogue hunter: You should not be stalking a neighborhood with a rifle and poisoned carcasses whether you’re a rogue citizen, hired gun, state or fed. I bet the majority doesn’t want you here.

    There will be collateral damage, including other wildlife and even people’s pets, dogs & cats.

    If you don’t believe it, read this article provided by ws suzanne in a previous post:
    http://www.sacbee.com/2012/04/28/4450678/the-killing-agency-wildlife-services.html

    Comment by wswildlife — 10:37 pm June 26, 2012 #

  76. Last july I witnessed and tried to save a cat from hunting Coyotes, was too late and let the have the carcass.
    I’ll bet the disappearance of pets might have sparked the hunting of the wild coyotes.
    Thriving in an urban setting, few or no predators to keep the population in check, conflicts will happen, as when they start to leave the undeveloped areas to hunt on habited properties. I have zero problem with culling. It’s an unpleasant but sometimes necessary task.
    Exwestwood, JoAnne, you have made fair and reasonable points.

    Comment by M. — 10:56 pm June 26, 2012 #

  77. “Europeans are an invasive species…”

    Negative- a subspecies maybe.

    Comment by lt fd — 11:08 pm June 26, 2012 #

  78. 1. Don’t let your cats roam outside. It’s more likely they’ll be run over than attacked by a coyote. They also poop in other peoples yards and areas that kids play (which can cause illness and sometimes deadly diseases… do you let your kids play in the cat litter box?).
    .
    2. Don’t ever tie your dog up and leave them outside unattended. It’s inhumane and you put your dog at risk.
    .
    It amazes me how quickly people blame wildlife when it’s their own fault.

    Comment by Mike — 11:37 pm June 26, 2012 #

  79. So amazed at all the fear being expressed over coyotes. The odds of encountering one of them are slim — if you do, it is because you chose to live near them. If you live near a ravine or green space– and you honestly have no idea that there could be wild animals living in that ravine, and you are surprised and scared to learn coyotes and racoons live there — well I guess you are a bit daft and should probably install a bomb shelter or some such place to go and hide on your property because there will always be an even scarier probability that something beside coyotes will ruin your day. Cats get eaten by lots of predators, including domestic pet dogs… dogs get hit by cars, dogs get poisoned by lots of stuff in the city — dogs run off and get lost (cats are usually too smart to do this), lots and lots of ways our pets get killed or die — but the odds of them getting eaten by a coyote is pretty slim, unless you BOUGHT your home near a ravine or green space — then you should have KNOWN the coyotes and raccoons would be living there and it is not their fault, but yours, if your pet gets eaten. Good day.

    Comment by juniperberry — 12:22 am June 27, 2012 #

  80. Tie up the dogs, in prison the cats, but let the killers free, good luck kids with summer fun…makes sense to me. Who can I call to get some black bears and mountain lions back in our neighborhoods?

    Comment by Jack Spara — 6:59 am June 27, 2012 #

  81. For the record, the FDA does in fact handle these things. They handled the coyotes in magnolia a few years back. I had a chance to meet with one of the men involved. They deliberately try to keep a low profile as not to cause alarm. They are very well educated in the wildlife they are dealing with and keep public safety their number one priority. It’s not just some yokel with a gun shooting at random. Most likely a squeaky wheel with big enough pockets got them involved. City council would be the ones with the answers in that department.

    Comment by Long camper — 7:08 am June 27, 2012 #

  82. I have been watching the drivel about poor little fluffy and feel it is time to put my oar in the water.. fluffy belongs in the house….not on the street. so does the dog they are both helpless when on their own.wild coyotes are MOTHER NATURES MOUSE AND RODENT CONTROL. watch the cartoon they will eat anything…bugs are also a large part of their diet. so unless you want to take-over all that entails , zip-it. WORRY ABOUT THE GESTAPO LURKING AROUND YOUR BACKYARD WITH A SNIPER RIFLE PLAYING RAMBO. THAT IS SOMETHING TO THINK VERY HARD ABOUT COME ELECTION TIME. MORE CRADLE TO GRAVE CONTROL FROM YOUR LOCAL DEMONCRAT COMRADE CHAIRMAN

    Comment by robert — 7:44 am June 27, 2012 #

  83. …sorry, I meant to say USDA. Not FDA.

    Comment by Long camper — 7:57 am June 27, 2012 #

  84. Boats and oars are not indigenous to our region…please keep them out of the water. Demon crat seems an appropriate lable. Let’s bring back the dinosaurs and keep humans inside…oh wait, that means we gotta leave…where does it all end…maybe an asteroid, now that’s natural.

    Comment by Jack Spara — 8:46 am June 27, 2012 #

  85. Hi WSB –

    If I remember right… a few years ago a wildlife biologist of some sort came to West Seattle and presented a lecture on Coyote behavior. Do you recall this? And do you have a name or resource that might do this? I think that could be very helpful. I was pretty sure I read it in the blog but can’t seem to find it now. Does anyone else have this name or perhaps ideas about local resources that might be willing to talk? Maybe at Camp Long?

    Thanks

    Comment by jen - Admiral — 9:17 am June 27, 2012 #

  86. If I caught a coyote on my property trying to attack my dog, which is my property, I’d kill it too, and let the chips fall where they may. All of you whining that humans are the problems, and we need to be culled, why don’t you step up to bat and volunteer yourselves.

    Comment by cr — 9:24 am June 27, 2012 #

  87. 1) It is only hysterical speculation that the deer carcass is poisoned. I would wager it is not.

    2) With no natural predator, the coyote population will keep increasing.

    3) If they contacted the entire community about the proposed solution, nothing would get done. Much like local government, the issue would get debated and re-debated to death trying to please everyone, with the losing party appealing the outcome until they get their way or they prevent anything form happening.

    Perhaps we should just fence the entire greenbelt in. Then we can protect the pets and the children from the coyotes and the coyotes from cars. It’s a “win- win”.

    Comment by dix — 9:24 am June 27, 2012 #

  88. The real controversy is; is it pronounced ky-yoat, or ky-yo-tee?
    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 10:53 am June 27, 2012 #

  89. Mike – I pronounce it ky-YOH-tee. When I talked to the federal guy the other day, he pronounced it KY-yote. For all the Roadrunner/Wile E. Coyote cartoons we’ve watched, it’s always been three syllables in my head … but then they were all but mythical creatures when I grew up in almost-wildlifeless cities … TR

    Comment by WSB — 10:59 am June 27, 2012 #

  90. CR….I did volunteer myself more than 30 years ago to not bring more life onto this already overpopulated planet – meaning no children. It’s been a sacrifies that has cost me wonderful relationships with women that want children, but not willing to adopt one of the estimated 100 million adoptable children worldwide.
    I love nature and hate seeing what mankind is doing to it. We are the worst species on this small planet and we will find a way to destroy it.

    Comment by Cowpie — 11:22 am June 27, 2012 #

  91. Awful thing to say Cowpie when we’re created in his likeness. Surprised a person with your passion is living in an Urban setting.

    Comment by Jack Spara — 12:26 pm June 27, 2012 #

  92. There is plenty of wilderness out there cowpie if you want to go dances with wolves. Drive merely a couple hours east to have all the KY-yotes you want. We are talking about an urban setting, where we humans (the best species on this planet, top of the food chain, most intelligent) live, and don’t want our pet’s eaten.

    Comment by cr — 12:45 pm June 27, 2012 #

  93. TR @ WSB, any word on how we can stop Elmer Fudd from his nightly raids on our neighborhood wildlife that a large majority of educated people want to protect? A phone number and/or website that we can voice our displeasure with this ridicules policy? Thanks for your work on this issue.

    Comment by Jeff B. — 2:30 pm June 27, 2012 #

  94. Wow, people. Really? Let’s not confuse passion with a corner on intelligence. Putting down each other or our own species seems a little off the point. Claiming to speak for “a large majority of educated people” does, too.

    Comment by furor scribendi — 3:36 pm June 27, 2012 #

  95. I love how people on both sides of this are COMPLETELY sure that they have the reasonable position and that MOST people agree with them :P

    Comment by Jeff — 3:37 pm June 27, 2012 #

  96. The agency is US Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services. They say they work in coordination with the state Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. I finally have collected enough information for a followup and will publish it tonight – writing it now. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 4:36 pm June 27, 2012 #

  97. KEEP YOUR CATS INDOORS! It’s disturbing how many cat lovers and cat rescuers want safety for their own animal but care so little for the wild birds their cat destroys!

    Comment by cruzer — 5:47 pm June 27, 2012 #

  98. Go get ‘em Aaron!

    Comment by pigeonpointer — 7:59 pm June 27, 2012 #

  99. A big shout out to WSB and ws suzanne for sharing this information.

    Comment by sabrina — 8:08 pm June 27, 2012 #

  100. “a large majority of educated people” Not to be taken out of context; I was referring to the people that have educated themselves about the behaviors and scientific data related to coyotes. The more one can rely on scientific data and less on emotion, the more accuratly they can make a logical agrument.

    Comment by Jeff B. — 11:21 am June 28, 2012 #

  101. I saw the carcus, I’ve seen deer carcus after being butchered by a human, and I’ve seen them while hiking that were butchered by wild life. I have never seen one in nature with it’s meat cut so perfectly off of the spine and rib cage leaving the head perfectly in tact. The deer looked like it was ditched in our ravine by a poacher……..or a coyote hunter.

    Comment by SeolaJo — 7:55 pm June 28, 2012 #

  102. I live on Seola, and the coyotes live in the green space right across the street from my house. I’ve seen them in my front yard. But when people show up, they run away. They have never been aggressive around people that I have seen, and they have certainly not lost their fear of them. I feel no fear in walking outside when they are around, because they head for the hills like I was Godzilla.

    If anyone has directly seen them being aggressive toward humans, that would be a reason to remove them. But mostly what I’m seeing is fear, and hypotheticals.

    I do NOT consider them a threat.

    Comment by SeolaJohn — 8:12 am July 4, 2012 #

  103. Festive 4th of July @ 2:00 pm turned to tears and gut wrentching saddness. Neighbors, one house over called out to my daughter-in-law that they thought they had found her missing cat (15 hours). My son & his Dad went over to check. Daughter & I with 5-month-old granddaughter anxiously waiting. E could not wait any longer, as we crossed the boarding backyard we were stopped by the men. Don’t let E see her cat. My son and husband whispered to me that her cat was horribly torn up, gutted, her collar was misssing, no blood. E continued holding her baby daughter needing to despeartely hold her 8-year-old furry feline, her 1st baby. The neighbor ladies came up to me and quietly whispered that my daughter could not see the remains, it would break her down more than she already was. The ladies said that the cat was not on their front lawn when they went out & returned in the morning. This afternoon as they were leaving they saw our cat. She was visibly dead, torn open, no internal organs, no blood, her collar missing (?). Our son & Dad wrapped her in her favorite cat clawed towel, put her in a little box and buried her in the shady garden. Our cat was not a bird eater, only dry food & water. She was bonding with the baby and the baby with her. She was in our furry family tree. Their home is off the corner of Thistle & 39th by the Peace Lutheran Church. They’ve lived there over 2 years. They knew there were racoons in the area. Today I searched for articles pertaining to missing pets in their surrounding neighborhoods. Our dear furry feline must have been breakfast for coyotes BUT how could these creatures have removed her buckled collar??? I pray that Saint Francis of Assisi was merciful and lifted her spirit before she was ravaged. With tears in my eyes, thank you for letting me paint a picture of a grieving family. West Seattle needs to put out flyers about the roving coyotes, racoons and other predators. My dear little West Seattle family was not aware of the growing coyote population, most of all the endangerment to family pets.

    Comment by 'Lita — 3:51 pm July 6, 2012 #

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