Complaints lead to Coyote traps in St. John Parish

Published 12:06 am Saturday, May 21, 2016

LAPLACE — Coyote traps are being placed across St. John the Baptist Parish after officials were inundated with residents’ complaints and concerns.

Wildlife and Fisheries Nuisance Control Officer Jamie LaBranche said the trapping effort was finalized Tuesday.

Wildlife and Fisheries and the Parish’s Department of Public Safety are looking to remove coyotes from residential areas, with a focus on wooded areas along U.S. 51 near Interstate 10 and wherever sightings are reported.

LaBranche said he was not aware of any attacks, but added residents should remain vigilant.

“A coyote, if you corner him, is going to come out fighting,” he said. “You always have to pay attention. This is a wild animal. They usually just come for the pet food people leave out, any type of food they can get their hands on.”

LaBranche said the region’s light winter led to coyotes having pups earlier this year, with young ones now “knee high” and needing food.

Residents are asked to report coyote sightings to 911, where operators are tabulating a location list to assist Public Safety with trapping.

Once trapped, coyotes are taken to another parish for training purposes, St. John officials said.

Residents, especially those near wooded, vacant and open areas, are asked to keep a careful watch over small pets and children and refrain from approaching coyotes. They should also avoid trapping devices.

St. John and Wildlife and Fisheries instituted a similar trapping effort in March of 2015 after rising water levels in the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain forced coyotes further into residential areas.

More than a dozen coyotes were caught and brought out of parish last year.

Residents should avoid leaving food overnight in pet bowls and are asked to leave garbage cans covered.

Coyotes do not traditionally act like stray dogs looking for trash or waste, instead when in swamp and marsh areas, they are drawn to warm-blooded creatures like rabbits and ducks.

Local coyotes generally grow to about 45 pounds, with some weighing as much as 60 pounds depending on their access to food.

LaBranche said it’s legal for hunters with a valid Louisiana hunting license to hunt coyotes year-round during daylight hours.