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9 Coyotes Captures, Relocated This Week; Likely Coming for Deer

These two were caught Thursday in the Price Hill Park and Lamar Park areas. Photos by Mike Merchant

As of Friday morning, nine coyotes have been captured inside the city of Oxford by local wildlife specialist Mike Merchant.

Merchant was contracted by the city of Oxford about two weeks ago to remove and relocate coyotes after residents reported seeing them on security camera footage.

“I will probably continue through at least next week,” Merchant said Friday.

While many have assumed the coyotes moving closer inside the city limits is due to construction driving them out, Merchant said it is more likely the coyotes are coming for deer.

“They are encroaching on the city from the county,” he said. “We have a high density of deer in Oxford. I believe that is what is attracting them. However, they are opportunistic hunters, so they’ll feed on anything they come across, including pets.”

While beautiful, coyotes are wild and can be dangerous.

Merchant said that Oxford has never had a breeding population of coyotes residing within the city.

The coyotes are being captured and released on private property with permission near a national forest.

The city does have a Deer Management Program that utilizes several techniques, from non-lethal options such as deer repellants, landscaping options, fencing and non-feeding to a lethal option with the city’s managed hunting program.

The hunting program involves using trained and certified crossbow hunters to hunt does and bucks during the regular hunting season inside the city limits. Hunting with guns is illegal inside the city.

The hunters go onto private property—with permission—to hunt deer, particularly does, to help reduce the growing number of deer.

Anyone wishing to be a hunter in the program must be over 30 years old and live in Lafayette County. They should send an email to oxfordema@oxfordms.net.

Each year, about 100 does are killed.

Hunters are placed in highly populated areas where private landowners have asked for help due to the deer damaging crops, gardens and landscaping. Homeowners must request and give permission to have a hunter placed on the property during hunting season.

If a property owner would like hunters to come to their property, they can send an email to oxfordema@oxfordms.net.

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