ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCBD) – Officials from the Isle of Palms Police Department and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) say their goal was to educate residents on how to keep themselves, their pets and the coyotes living on the island safe.

“Smaller animals, keep them on a short leash,” SCDNR representative Jay Butfiloski said, “if you need to pick them up, pick them up. Back away.”

Wildlife officials are teaching Isle of Palms residents what to do if they ever encounter a coyote.

“We just want to give the information we have,” Butfiloski said, “so they can take that back and try to minimize any incidents that we have on coyotes in the state.”

Everything from the history of coyotes, how they migrated to South Carolina and their hunting patterns were all covered during the session.

Jay Butfiloski (SC Dept. of Natural Resources) :11

“There’s enough wild and natural places that give hiding places for them during the day,” Butfiloski said. “And then, most of their activity occurs at night, so close to dusk, you’ll start to see a pickup of activity.”

Isle of Palms Animal Control says they only receive calls from residents about coyote activity every so often.

“More of just, ‘I’m sighting a coyote,'” Ryan Warren from Isle of Palms Animal Control said. “‘It’s walking in the road or it’s walking along the street. It’s my job to kind of corral them back into the dunes; back to where their home is.”

Bob McCormick, who lives in Wild Dunes, says he attended Wednesday’s session because he often sees lots of coyotes in his neighborhood.

“There are a lot of people with small animals,” McCormick said, “dogs especially, that they walk, and they have seen these animals, coyotes at night, and they’ve become concerned.”

McCormick plans to share the information he learned at the meeting with his neighbors.

“I’m on the Board of Directors there,” he said, “and we have our annual meeting coming up the first of March, so part of that is to educate the owners about what they can do to prevent maybe some bad accidents for their animals.”

Officials say the island cannot get rid of coyotes and the best alternative is to learn to co-exist with them.

“When you take out the human conflict,” Butfiloski said, “it’s quite a remarkable animal.”

SCDNR says likely every county in South Carolina has coyotes, and every state except Hawaii has them as well.