Hunters in eastern Ontario want to put a bounty on coyotes after several reported sightings of the animals across the city.

While coyotes are common in the countryside, sightings within city limits are becoming more frequent.

A coyote attacked and killed a small deer in the backyard of a home in the community of Kanata Lakes on Wednesday night, according to Coun. Marianne Wilkinson.

In south Ottawa, a thin coyote was recently spotted roaming around a playground, just metres away from children playing outdoors.

Experts warn that attacks on people are rare. However, residents are being urged to keep their dogs and cats close.

Coyote population grows

Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources doesn't keep track of the coyote population. However, hunters say there are definitely more coyotes in the Ottawa-area than in the past.

Three years ago, hunters would trap about 20 coyotes in one year, according to the Ontario Federation of Hunters. Now, they're trapping 30 to 40.

"The population does increase, you can tell by how many they catch," said hunter Len Dickinson.

The Ontario government discontinued a bounty on coyotes almost 40 years ago, after the government deemed the process ineffective.

Now, the province has given the City of Ottawa the go-ahead to hire trappers in the next two months to catch coyotes that wander into city limits.

Despite the increased coyote presence, city officials are asking residents to remain calm.

Coyote bounty

However, hunters say putting a bounty on the animals is the only way to control the population.

"Unless there is some incentive for hunters to go out and remove some of these (coyotes), there's still going to be a problem," said Dickinson.

He says a decrease in the region's deer population could also be linked to a rise in coyote sightings.

"They are looking for food, so they're going to get it wherever they can."

Don't approach coyotes

Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources says coyotes generally tend to avoid people. However, if the animals do get close, they should not be approached.

Residents concerned about the presence of coyotes wandering near their homes are advised to keep their dogs on leashes, and never leave pets unattended.

Residents are also urged to make sure garbage is kept in a secured area, and food scraps are never left unattended outdoors.

The ministry says people should never feed coyotes, which can make the animals less fearful of humans.

If you encounter a coyote:

  • Never attempt to tame the animal
  • Never turn your back or run from a coyote. Instead, back away from the animal and remain calm.
  • Use whistles or personal alarm devices to frighten the animal if it approaches you.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Vanessa Lee