Halifax Co., VA - It's a growing problem in Halifax County that hit too close to home for one woman. Last week, Deborah Bakos killed a coyote that was just feet away from a goat pen in her back yard. She's glad she wasn't too late. Bakos thinks this coyote was looking for food. Experts say they've seen a coyote problem all over the state for the last few years. Even with bounty systems in place, they say it likely won't get better anytime soon. "I saw movement over at the tobacco barn and I said 'Uh-oh, this is not good'" Bakos said. She ran inside, got her gun, and took one shot. Bakos had killed what she describes as the largest coyote she has ever seen. "If he'd have stood up on his back feet he would have been about that high on me," Bakos said. Bakos says this may not be her first close encounter. She has a farm with a variety of animals, but some have mysteriously disappeared over the years. Her sister's cat was also attacked late one night by something she didn't see, but definitely heard. "I could hear this horrible gut type of growl. I never heard a growl like that before," Bakos said. Throughout the county, cats, dogs, even small livestock have all fallen victim to coyotes. Chief Warden Todd Moser says Halifax County put a bounty program in place years ago to cut the population, but it hasn't really worked. "It's not an efficient way to manage wildlife," Moser said. Though they are not known to attack humans, Moser says there are ways to keep them away from your home. "Keep up any loose dog food, any loose cat food, don't leave your garbage out. Don't leave anything out that would attract any wild animal," Moser explained. That will not eliminate the issue all together, though. "They're here and they're here to stay. I don't think you will ever get rid of the coyotes," Moser said. Moser says coyotes are considered nuisance animals in the state of Virginia. If you have a high number of coyotes in your area, contact your local animal control.
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