By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — The call of the wild may be coming to a street near you.
An Upstone Lane resident reported seeing a coyote standing in her back yard last weekend — a bit too close for her comfort.
April Dobrinski said her 15-year-old daughter was about to enjoy a outdoor sleepover with friends Saturday night when they spotted the animal not far from the family home.
“They were going out to sleep in the camper,” Dobrinski said.
That’s when they spotted what they thought was a large dog, possibly lost.
“It was facing the other way,” Dobrinski said. “They started calling it.”
When the animal turned its head to face the girls, they knew immediately it was not a dog.
Dobrinski said by the time she went outside, the coyote was gone.
The next day when she went outside to water her garden, she noticed a skunk carcass in her yard.
Coyotes are not uncommon at this time of year in Southern New Hampshire.
The first official Granite State sighting of a coyote was in 1944 in Grafton County, according to N.H. Fish and Game records.
Last September, Franklin Street resident Babette Wilson reported hearing periodic coyote howling and her cat Odin then went missing.
A coyote attacked Pam Crawford’s two miniature pinschers on Humphrey Road that same month, killing one and seriously injuring the other.
Having coyotes this close to home makes Dobrinski a bit nervous.
Her house is located near South Range Elementary School.
“Literally, it’s my back yard, then a little bit of woods, then it’s the school playground,” Dobrinski said.
There is major work taking place this summer on nearby Rockingham Road, Dobrinski said, with trees being cleared prior to a culvert project.
With habitats being disrupted, officials say it’s more common to see and hear the animals.
Backyard bird feeders also attract the smaller animals that coyotes may be attracted to.
Derry police Capt. Vernon Thomas said there is a population of coyotes living in Derry, reported in different areas of town.
“There have been sightings,” he said, “and (you hear them) howl at night.”
One animal was hit and killed by a car recently, he said.
Thomas said there is currently no heightened awareness in town when dealing with coyotes. It’s just about common sense and being safe.
Dobrinski said she will keep her children a bit closer to home —probably no more outdoor sleepovers anytime soon.
Anyone with concerns can contact Derry Police at 432-6111 or the N.H. Fish and Game Wildlife Division at 271-2461.