'It's pretty scary'

Monique Chiasson
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Coyotes close to residential areas a growing concern

'It's pretty scary'

VALLEY - Recent sightings of coyotes in Bible Hill, Valley and Manganese Mines are making some people nervous and anxious to reduce the coyote population.
"There are more and more coyotes and they are bold and getting less fearful of humans," said Bible Hill's Bobby Matheson.
Matheson has a licence to trap coyotes and has snared two in less than a week. The first one he trapped was after a resident on nearby Phoebe Lane in Valley called him knowing Matheson has a trapper's licence. The second one was snared in Manganese Mines.
Matheson set a snare a week ago Friday about 300 yards in the woods just beyond Phoebe Lane, a subdivision in Valley, and within three days a male coyote about 43 pounds was found in the snare.
"They seem to get bigger and bigger ... this one could overpower me easily and there are lots of children around here," said Matheson. "I saw one on College Road near the recreation field and I had to apply my brakes ... they are out in broad daylight. I trap them to get rid of them and because I enjoy it."
Lori Atwater is a mother of three children between the ages of two and eight. She lives on Falcon Street, one street away from Phoebe Lane.
"It's pretty scary ... there are lots of children here and lots of people walk along the trail at the end of this road," said Atwater. "I think the municipality should do something, maybe put up (warning) signs."
Karen MacKenzie, Colchester County councillor for the Valley area, said no complaints of coyotes have come to her.
"But if we have an issue people should call the Department of Natural Resources. My fear is the average person will try to do something and get hurt," said MacKenzie. "I'm not in favour of a bounty but if a coyote is on your doorstep do what you have to do to protect yourself ... and if there's an issue here I'd take it to council."
Valley Elementary School is an estimated kilometer away from where Matheson trapped the coyote. Atwater said it's scary to think such animals could be near an area that is heavily populated with children. The school's principal said there haven't been any reported coyote sightings near the school.
"It's certainly a concern if we start seeing them ... it's worth considering talking to students about safety around strange animals," said principal Michael Price. "I've heard of them in East Mountain and Manganese Mines but not near this school."
Matheson has four traps set in Manganese Mines and he trapped one from that area this past Wednesday. The animal was a 53-pound male.
Matheson estimated he's trapped more than 20 coyotes in the past six years. He sells their pelts through an auction in Toronto.
"They've only been going for $18 a piece so it's not a money-making venture," he said.

mchiasson@trurodaily.com

Organizations: Department of Natural Resources, Valley Elementary School

Geographic location: Falcon Street, Colchester County, East Mountain Toronto

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