AUGUSTA, Ga. — Coyotes are creating concerns for golfers and for pilots at a nearby airport in east Georgia.
The howling of coyotes has been heard in recent weeks at Augusta Municipal Golf Course, The Augusta Chronicle reported.
The animals have also led to concerns at the neighboring Daniel Field Airport.
Wildlife on the runways can create hazardous conditions for pilots as they attempt to take off or land.
Golf course general manager Ira Miller believes the coyotes are finding ways through a chain link fence separating the course from the airport.
“We used to notice them, but now they’re beginning to come out a little bit more than what they were in the beginning,” Miller said. “A lot of people have said they’ve seen dogs out here, I’ve heard everything from a dog to a fox.”
Coyotes are not native to Georgia and began making a home in the Southeast as early as the 1970s, said Mark Whitney, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources assistant director of wildlife resources.
Now, coyotes can be found all over Georgia; by the mid-1990s, they had populated all 159 counties.
“People see them as a nuisance. It’s more of a potential individual perception issue,” Whitney said. “Obviously if they show up in someone’s backyard, they’ll have concerns.”
Coyotes have also been known to prey on pets such as dogs and cats.
The Department of Wildlife Resources is giving Georgia residents incentives to help rid them from the Georgia ecosystem.
The Georgia Coyote Challenge program gives hunters a chance to win a lifetime hunting license for each coyote they kill until August.
“It’s a way to call attention to the problem,” Whitney said. “We recognize we’ve got coyotes everywhere and people see them as a nuisance. We’ve got research in Georgia showing their impacts on other wildlife. As it works its way into the food web, it will have some effect there.”