Home Local News Police warn of coyotes near Hamlet

Police warn of coyotes near Hamlet

Photo by Alan Cameron via NCWRC

HAMLET — Police are warning residents to be on the lookout for coyotes.

The Hamlet Police Department posted to Facebook on Tuesday that coyotes have been seen in the areas of Freeman Mill Road and the Pinecroft neighborhood.

“Please ensure that you keep an eye on your pets so that they are not attacked or injured,” encouraging residents to call 911 if a coyote is spotted.

Maj. Hudson Chitwood said shooting coyotes in the city limits is not permitted, “unless of course they attacked someone or are trying to.”

“The issue is, it is under (the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission), so we should be called if it is a threat to the community and we can take the necessary steps to address the threat,” Chitwood said, “otherwise Wildlife would need to be called.

Photo by Betty Shelton via NCWRC

“We will do what we need to do (to make sure) that citizens are safe.”

According to the Coyote Management Plan, released by NCWRC in 2018, “Coyotes behaving normally are curious but wary when close to humans, however habituation can lead to coyotes that are bold and aggressive. Any attack on humans by a canid, whether domestic or wild, is a serious concern. To date, there have been no documented attacks on humans by non-rabid coyotes in North Carolina.”

The plan also sites a 2017 report noting that there had only been 367 documented attacks by
non-rabid coyotes in the U.S. and Canada from 1970-2015 — compared to 4.5 million dog bites per year.

While attacks on humans are rare, cats and small dogs can be potential prey, and there are also concerns regarding both livestock and wildlife.

Coyotes were first spotted in North Carolina’s western counties in the late ‘80s according to the plan. Wildlife officials believe some came to the state through natural migration and illegal release. They are now found in all 100 counties.

See the plan below.

Earlier this month, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission issued a press release saying that coyote sightings are common in the late spring, as adults are looking for food for their pups.

“Coyotes will roam a large area, crossing through neighborhoods and business districts, looking for an easy meal,” the release reads. “Coyotes mostly eat rodents, rabbits, insects, fruit, and carrion, but will also dine on pet food and table scraps left outside.”


Click here to read more about dealing with coyotes.

State hunting regulations permit the taking of coyotes at night in all but five counties in the eastern part of the state: Beaufort, Dare, Hyde, Tyrrell and Washington. In those counties, a license is required. Artificial lights and recordings are also permitted while hunting coyotes, except in the aforementioned counties.

In 2017, state Sen. Tom McInnis, who represented Richmond County at the time, introduced a bill to create a coyote bounty program. That bill was signed into law June 26 of that year.

However, there is no end date on the legislation.

The Coyote Management Plan released the following year, noted that bounties are ineffective and expensive.

Photo by Melissa McGaw via NCWRC

Also in 2017, a law was passed permitting the trapping of coyotes in Davie and Yadkin counties.

A bill introduced in the N.C. House of Representatives earlier this month would classify coyotes as an invasive species and establish the Invasive Species Management Fund.

Revenue from the fund will be used for:

  • Activities to manage, control, and eradicate invasive species
  • Public education regarding the harms caused by invasive species
  • The establishment of a Rapid Response Team to evaluate the information provided and the severity and risk level of the invasive species discovered in the State and coordinate a response to address the immediate needs for response, public notification, and education

That bill was referred to the Wildlife Resources Committee. Rep. Ben Moss, R-Richmond, is co-chairman of that committee.