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Sunday, May 28, 2023
Coyotes being hunted illegally on NOTL farmers’ land
A coyote crosses John Street. Supplied/File

Gail Kendall

Special to The Lake Report

A number of NOTL residents have growing concerns over the safety and lack of respect for area land owners who have not given permission to hunters to come onto their private land to hunt and kill coyotes.

Using dogs to drive coyotes out of bushes into open fields, they eventually end up close to rural roads, compromising the safety of the animals and  any people out walking in those areas.

Lisa Jeffrey, a longtime NOTL resident and creator of the Facebook group Niagara-on-the-Lake Coyotes, says the issue stems from the fact that what once was rural NOTL is not so rural any longer.

Hunting boundaries have not been updated in ages and need to be addressed for the safety of residents, tourists and grape workers, she says.

Jeffrey says on Feb. 5 a group of hunters arrived at a private farm in three separate vehicles containing hunting dogs and cages.

The dogs were being used to sniff out the coyotes from the bush and force them toward the open road to be shot.

These hunters were hunting in an area without direct permission from the property owner.

The owner contacted the Niagara Regional Police, who arrived and sternly warned the group and told them that if they returned to the area, they would be charged with trespassing and be reported to the Ministry of Natural Resources.

In addition to this incident, Jeffrey has heard from other land owners who said hunters have illegally been trespassing on their farms and properties, putting themselves and their own animals at risk.

Jeffrey said the farmers say they actually love to have the coyotes on their properties to keep the mice and vole population down. Without the aid of the coyotes, their farms and nearby homes can become over-populated with these rodents.

On Feb. 8, one of the hunters posted on the coyotes Facebook page, sharing explicit and graphic photos of his group’s recent hunt and kill.

There were a number of dead coyotes lined up in the photo with the hunters' guns as a backdrop. They even included a photo of one of their bloodied dogs used in the hunt.

Jeffrey said her next course of action is to contact NOTL council to discuss updating the hunting boundaries for the safety of the town, its residents, workers and tourists.

She started the coyotes Facebook group in 2016 because, growing up in the area, she has always had a love for all animals and a respect for wildlife.

She became keenly interested in coyotes when, as a young girl living on a concession road, a coyote pup arrived at her farmhouse one day with a rope tied around its neck. Assuming it had been separated from its mother, her parents cut off the rope and it continued to frequent their property, choosing to sleep outside their barn each night.

Jeffrey decided at that time to begin studying and learning more about their behaviour and came to a better understanding and respect for the species.

Area residents are encouraged to join her Facebook group to learn more about the role coyotes play in our ecosystem.

The mandate of the group states it is “in support for the protection of the coyotes in Niagara-on-the-Lake. A place for positive discussion and education about coyote behaviour and how we can as humans learn to co-exist peacefully with wildlife.”

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