Love is in the air for everyone this time of year including COYOTES! Residents on Evansville's east side have been reporting increased sightings of the wild canine cousins as mating season begins.

According to wildlife experts though, this is not an unusual phenomenon. Meagan Dillon, a Department of Nature urban wildlife biologist stated that “We're in February now. That means we’re at the beginning of coyote breeding season."

Coyotes, just like bears and other opportunistic wildlife, tend to venture out more into human territory during this time of year as hormone levels rise. Either trying to find more readily available food like the kind found in trash cans, or even a mate that hasn't attracted a lot of competition yet.

Dillon also gave a few tips just in case you encounter a wild coyote -

“If you encounter a coyote in an open situation, say walking down the street, your in a neighborhood where the coyote has space to run away. That's a good time to harass the coyote. So you can yell, make yourself look large, throw things, and that should get it to scare off. If for some reason the coyote does not run away from the harassment, then at that point you want to continue to try to make yourself look large and just back away slowly from the situation.”

My suggestion if you see a wild coyote, is to find the nearest unlocked door whether its yours or a strangers and lock yourself on the other side of it until that coyote leaves!