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Jul 3, 2013 9:29 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

State Wildlife Experts Confirm Coyote Sighting In Water MIll

Jul 3, 2013 9:29 AM

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation wildlife naturalists have confirmed that they believe the photo of a dog-like animal taken in a farm field earlier this month was, indeed, a coyote. It is the first confirmation that a coyote, or coyotes, are back on Long Island after an absence of more than 100 years.

“We received a photo late last week that apparently was from the Water Mill area and … wildlife office staff identified it as a coyote,” DEC spokesman Bill Fonda said on Monday. “We get reports of coyotes and mountain lions. We get lots of reports that are unfounded, but this is a report we’re looking at seriously and will be investigating to see if there are others in the area.”

The photo showed an animal resembling a smallish, gray, German shepherd, with a dark tail tucked downward while it ran, unlike a dog, which runs with its tail up. It was taken by farmer Rick Wesnofske in a field his family cultivates off Blank Lane in Water Mill.

Water Mill outdoorsmen say that they have been seeing what they were sure was coyote in the fields off Bridgehampton for at least two years and that despite numerous sightings by farmers and hunters, nobody was ever able to get a good picture of it. Farmer Bubby Squires sent the DEC a photo of an animal he thought was a coyote last year, but naturalists said they didn’t believe it to be a coyote.

Mr. Fonda said this week that now that DEC scientists are convinced there is a coyote living on the South Fork, they plan to make a concerted effort to confirm it 100-percent and try to determine if it is a lone individual and whether it is a transient or, perhaps, one of an established population. He said they will conduct patrols of the area, trying to find signs of the animal’s feces and paw prints. He said the state’s wildlife experts may consider trying to trap the animal to fit it with a tracking device so its movements can be followed.

Mr. Fonda said that with a single coyote, the state would not issue any particular warning to residents other than to keep their pets inside if they are concerned for their safety and live in the area where the coyote was spotted.

“But a pet is more at risk of getting hit by a car than of encountering a single coyote,” Mr. Fonda said, adding that residents in Water Mill should be careful of how they dispose of food scraps, lest it draw the animal to their property.

Coyotes have been thought to be on verge of resettling on Long Island for some time, since one was spotted crossing a bridge in Queens several years ago. They have also established what is believed to be a breeding population on Fishers Island, which is about 2 miles off the coast of Connecticut and 15 miles from the North Fork.

The arrival of coyotes on Fishers brought an upside, as they effectively eliminated a feral cat population that had , itself, wiped out the island’s songbirds, which have now returned. But on Cape Cod, where coyotes reestablished more than a decade ago, there are more cautionary tales of the animals’ return, if mostly for sportsmen.

“If you want to thin a deer herd, coyotes are it,” Water Mill resident Scott McMahon, whose brother lives on the Cape, said. “They used to have good deer hunting up there like here. Then the coyotes showed up and they kill all the fawns. It’s really bad.”

Mr. McMahon said that local sportsmen have been on the lookout for the animal since it was first spotted in 2011 and, if it is just one coyote in our area, it appears to be expanding or shifting its range to the west. The first sightings over the last two years were mostly in the region of Breeze Hill and on the Atlantic Golf Club property in northern Bridgehampton, he said, but that the animal has now been seen a couple times in Water Mill. The interest from sportsmen is more than curiosity.

“Of course, the boys have been trying to shoot him,” Mr. McMahon chuckled. “But nobody could get a shot. He’s wiley.”

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Wile E. Coyote - good one Mr McMahon
By dogtired (29), north sea on Jul 3, 13 9:53 AM
1 member liked this comment
Mr Coyote was in Water Mill to check out the rumors of some hobbled turkey...
By loading... (601), quiogue on Jul 3, 13 10:11 AM
1 member liked this comment
Its easy to find a coyote. Just find out where UPS is dropping off all the ACME orders.
By C Law (354), Water Mill on Jul 3, 13 10:14 AM
3 members liked this comment
Hey Mr. Coyote! I heard raccoons are quite tasty
By Q333 (161), Southampton on Jul 3, 13 10:16 AM
Control the deer, and you control the tick population.

Could be a silver lining here...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jul 3, 13 11:12 AM
2 members liked this comment
Z - it's far more important to control the white-footed mouse population which are the true host of lyme's disease. Deer are just transporters but the mice are the root of the problem.

A better silver lining from coyotoes is them reducing feral cat populations which have huge impacts on migrating birds
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jul 3, 13 11:33 AM
2 members liked this comment
Feral Cats must help with the white footed mouse population. Not sure why so many people are concerned about birds and over protective. That they can fly seems to be a significant advantage over cats, yet some don't evolve enough to realize that building nests on the ground is a liability. What ecological function do Pipping Plovers serve? All creatures fit in to the food chain at some point, but it seems the cottage industry that has arisen around Plover nesting seeks to remove them from their ...more
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Jul 3, 13 7:13 PM
2 members liked this comment
Simply put - domestic cats aren't native (or natural if you want to make that argument) so they have an unfair advantage over the birds.

It's not just ground nesting birds who suffer - it's any bird that goes to the ground to eat or bathe. Cats are incredible hunters and it's no fault of the birds that they can't hear what is coming after them. The worst part is many of the birds killed by the cats aren't even eaten by them. They're just play toys or rewards for their "masters".

As ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jul 3, 13 8:32 PM
I think it's rather interesting how Third Reich biological warfare research proposed using arachnids as payload delivery for contagions. I also find the Lyme disease clusters centered so closely to Plum Island rather, shall we say, intriguing...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jul 3, 13 10:38 PM
1 member liked this comment
We humans eat the cows
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Jul 4, 13 5:43 AM
Then you are talking about cats who are owned by humans and not kept in the house..and the wild and abandon cat population is ...again..the fault of humans...they are domestic animals...at one point either they ..or an ancestor..were abandon by humans...
By MelissaOsborne (1), Bridgehampton on Jul 19, 13 8:46 PM
I sense that the days of the five guinea hens that visit our yard very close to Blank Lane are numbered.
By BigBlue (12), Water Mill on Jul 3, 13 11:41 AM
I don't think they will feed on the deer with all the roadkill that is out there.
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Jul 3, 13 12:14 PM
Hoping this quote is simply a joke:

“Of course, the boys have been trying to shoot him,” Mr. McMahon chuckled. “But nobody could get a shot. He’s wiley.”

As per the DEC there's no coyote hunting season on Long Island (for obvious reasons) and the season upstate is from Oct-March.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jul 3, 13 1:00 PM
If you have more than 1000 comments. You may need a hobby. If you have more than 1500 you may need an institution.
By whambulance123 (9), Southampton on Jul 3, 13 4:07 PM
You know those 1500 comments are over years, right?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jul 3, 13 4:28 PM
Who does that kind of research Nature (3/23/10)?

People tend to feel better about themselves degrading another.

First comment by yours truly: 05/26/09

She won't bother to do the math, most likely...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jul 3, 13 10:46 PM
Yes with 5 alone coming since 1130 today and 20 since the first of the month. Go outside!
By whambulance123 (9), Southampton on Jul 3, 13 4:56 PM
You've been counting? Ugh... flattered... I guess?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jul 3, 13 5:31 PM
I am confused whambulance. If someone with a high count of posts is sitting outside, can one avoid institutionalization?
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jul 3, 13 7:32 PM
2 members liked this comment
We are outside, ya' dumb bunny.

Ever heard of 3G?
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jul 3, 13 10:50 PM
PBR, Mr. Z- first thing that came to mind when I saw that. Being that I only get two comments a day on the dole I had used my two comments for the day. If I had a subscription and unlimited comments I'd likely be somewhere between the two of you. I've realized two a day makes for a limited debate, although unlimited can make for an exercise in futility with some folks on here.
PBR- Your Meteorology posts during a few storms surely should not count towards the comment count threshold for institutionalization ...more
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Jul 5, 13 12:32 AM
2 members liked this comment
Well I do have to stop for a 15 every now and then the slam some calories down my gullet...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jul 5, 13 1:00 PM
Gonna get noisy at night in these parts.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Jul 3, 13 7:27 PM
Has the DEC said that the animal in the photo is definitely not a dog? Any paw prints found?
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jul 3, 13 7:29 PM
1 member liked this comment
I think I saw one jumping on the train to Montauk this AM,he was very quiet and was passing himself off as a German Shepard,
By Etians rd (543), Southampton on Jul 3, 13 8:09 PM
1 member liked this comment
A wylie move to avoid the Shark Attack parking SNAFU no doubt.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jul 3, 13 8:34 PM
...did it blow past Bloomingdales and come over the 59th St bridge into the verdant woodlands of Long Island City/Astoria? Or did he scoot past Yankee Stadium on his way to the Throggs Neck or Whitestone bridge? I know coyotes are smart animals so I am sure it avoided the Cross Bronx Expressway at all costs - only a fool would deal with that nightmare.
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Jul 3, 13 9:21 PM
He arrived by helicopter at Easthampton Airport. Flying low over Noyac of course.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Jul 3, 13 9:32 PM
I saw a coyote in Hampton Bays but I was scared to say anything every one said it was a big fox but It all makes sense now. I know where it has a buro or whatever it shelter is called. This is not a joke so I was wondering are the dangerous to the kids?
By 27dan (2854), Southampton on Jul 4, 13 1:11 AM
@27dan~they're only dangerous to roadrunners...unless if course you have a roadrunner who out smarts the coyote which then is a danger to its self (chuckle) BEEP! BEEP!
By Jaws (245), Amity Island on Jul 4, 13 12:13 PM
I saw a coyote cruisin' down Sunrise Hwy....

plastered to the front of an Ajax delivery truck.
By loading... (601), quiogue on Jul 5, 13 10:56 AM
2 members liked this comment
I saw only four guinea fowl yesterday and only two today of the five that made it through the winter.I wonder if the coyote is killing them? And something is trampling my garden and eating the tips of the coneflowers and phlox. Do coyotes eat plant tips?
By Heinz57 (17), Water Mill on Jul 9, 13 5:09 PM
Deer are eating your plants
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jul 10, 13 12:15 PM
Nah, deer can't get on my property. Maybe it's a groundhog. I hear they pull stalks down and nip the top off.
By Heinz57 (17), Water Mill on Jul 11, 13 1:40 PM
That doesn't look like the fields on Blank Lane.
By btdt (449), water mill on Jul 10, 13 12:06 PM
Three weeks ago my husband told me he saw what looked like "a small, really skinny dog" in the parking lot of the Water Mill Post Office at night. He snapped a photo with his iPhone but it was too dark. He said it definitely wasn't a fox, as he's seen plenty of them. I showed him images of possums, muskrats and other animals. Nope, he said. It looked like a dog, but it didn't walk like a dog. It had long legs, was skinny and sort of scampered. When I saw this article I showed him the photo of the ...more
By Heinz57 (17), Water Mill on Jul 11, 13 1:53 PM