Deer Mauled On Front Lawn In North Madison

Family says it appears to be the work of a coyote. "We are not feeling at all safe in our own yard."


The Burke family awoke Saturday morning to a grisly sight on their front lawn.

A deer had been mauled within a short distance of their home in North Madison on Cornfield Lane off of Farm View Drive, just past Old Toll Road.

"I just called the town and did not get a very good response to what I think is a huge problem," Arlene Burke wrote to Patch. "There is a deer on my lawn, half eaten, which is my problem to remove.  Ugh!"

Burke said she called the police dispatcher and was told to call the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. She initially thought it was the work of a bear, but later learned from some people who helped her remove the carcass that it may be the work of a coyote.

"The guys who removed the deer said it has all the signs of a coyote killing, that bears are not fast enough to do what happened," she said. "There were no claw marks and too much devastation of the poor deer."

If any of our readers know how to distinguish the work of a coyote from the work of a bear or another animal, we'd love to hear from you in the comment section below.

So what do you do if you wake up to find a mauled animal on your front lawn? When Burke called the Madison police, they said to contact the DEEP. DEEP, on its website, says to call the local police or to contact them if an animal is "behaving abnormally" or is "posing an immediate public threat."

The question is ... if a coyote or other wild animal kills a deer on someones front lawn, does that constitute an immediate public threat, or is this considered a nuisance or more routine problem? At what point does it become an immediate public threat?

The Madison Police Department is lucky enough to have a wide variety of police officers who are experienced in different areas. One of those is Officer Tom Bull, who is an expert when it comes to coyotes. Officer Bull, formerly a sergeant with the Department of Environmental Protection has also served as its Hammonasset State Park Conservation Officer. We'd love to hear from Officer Bull, whenever he comes back on duty, about his opinion on when a coyote goes from being a nuisance to a problem.

We asked Arlene to let us know if there is any follow up by the Madison police or the DEEP. It seems, at the very least, like it might be a good idea for the DEEP or the local police, if they are not too busy this particular Saturday morning, to check it out and document it. Then, if it continues to be a problem, we have the information going forward.

Here is the information from the DEEP website:

To report coyote problems and for control information:
Local Animal Control Division
DEP Wildlife Division: (860) 424-3011
To report animals that are behaving abnormally or are posing an immediate public threat:
Local Police Department
DEP Emergency Dispatch Office (24 hrs.): (860) 424-3333

Here is some information on how to deal with coyotes :

"The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is reminding residents of steps to take to reduce contact with coyotes. As coyotes have become more prevalent in the state, incidents of conflict with humans and animals have also become more common. The risk of a coyote attacking a human is low, but this risk increases if they learn to associate people with food through intentional or unintentional feeding.

Commonsense steps to avoid conflict with coyotes include:

  • Do not allow pets to run free. Keep cats indoors, particularly at night, and small dogs on a leash or under close supervision at all times.
  • Never feed coyotes. Do not place food out for any mammals. Clean up bird seed below feeders, pet foods, and fallen fruit. Secure garbage and compost in animal-proof containers.
  • Always walk dogs on a leash. If approached by a coyote while walking your dog, keep the dog under control and calmly leave the area. Do not run or turn your back.
  • Attempt to frighten away coyotes by making loud noises and acting aggressively.
  • Be aware of any coyote behaving abnormally or exhibiting unusually bold behavior (e.g., approaching people for food, attacking leashed pets that are with their owners, stalking children, chasing joggers or bikers) and report these incidents to authorities immediately.
  • Be aware of and report any coyotes exhibiting behavior indicative of rabies, such as staggering, seizures, and extreme lethargy. Daytime activity is not uncommon and does not necessarily indicate rabies.
  • Teach children to recognize coyotes and to go inside the house (do not run) or climb up on a swing or deck and yell if they are approached.
  • Contact the DEEP Wildlife Division at 860-424-3011 for more information on coyotes or other wildlife problems.

Background on Coyotes

 Coyotes were not originally found in Connecticut, but have extended their range eastward during the last 100 years from the western plains and midwestern United States, through Canada and into the northeastern and mid-Atlantic states. Coyotes were first reported in Connecticut in the mid-1950s. For the next 10 years, most coyote reports were from northwestern Connecticut.

Coyotes eventually expanded their range throughout the entire state and are now a part of Connecticut’s ecosystem. The coyote is one wildlife species that has adapted to human-disturbed environments and can thrive in close proximity to populated areas.

A typical coyote resembles a small, lanky German shepherd, but several characteristics distinguish it from a dog. Coyotes tend to be more slender and have wide, pointed ears; a long, tapered muzzle; yellow eyes; slender legs; small feet; and a straight, bushy tail which is carried low to the ground. The pelage (fur) is usually a grizzled-gray color with a cream-colored or white underside, but coloration is variable with individuals having blonde, reddish, and charcoal coat colors."

For more information on coyotes and other Connecticut wildlife, visit the DEEP website Wildlife Division page at www.ct.gov/deep/wildlife.

SGA August 04, 2012 at 02:46 PM
A "huge problem?" I'm sure the grisly sight of a partially eaten deer on your lawn is very upsetting, but let's keep some perspective.
Cathy Marsh August 04, 2012 at 02:57 PM
We live close to route one and close to Hammonassett State Park. 2 years ago we had a rogue coyote regularly hunting mid day walking on the road through our 50 home subdivision between 2-3 pm. He surprised my husband on our patio and neighbors called saying he was close to going into our open garage. This coyote was bold enough to walk up our driveway while my neighbor and I were talking with our two dogs on leashes. We suspect they know where all the dogs live. That day he was hunting and he went down the street and attacked the Beagle. A neighbor, in route to get his Kindergartner at the bus stop, screamed and ended the attack. The dog survived its $400 head injuries. We contacted the DEEP and local trappers with no positive result. I wanted to pack a gun because this coyote's behavior was bold and perculiar. I often wonder if campers would be in the State Park if they knew how prevalent the coyote problem is. Fisher cats are more visible in this Southern corner of Madison. We do not leave our small dog unattended and we were cautious when our children were toddlers.
Jay Berardino August 04, 2012 at 03:35 PM
The "Coyotes" we see today are often much larger. According to the Connecticut DEEP, this is because they are breeding with Eastern Red Wolves. They now account for over 70% of deer kills, taking primarily fawns but killing even large bucks. A couple of good websites: http://www.easterncoyoteresearch.com/ http://www.petersenshunting.com/2011/05/26/are-coyotes-killing-ydeer/ Time to relax hunting regulations.
joam carol August 04, 2012 at 03:55 PM
I don't think bears eat deer.
Matt August 04, 2012 at 04:14 PM
It is an ugly sight. But it certainty isn't an imminent public threat or a police matter. It is a dead animal on your property. And like any other naturally dead animal, it the property owner's problem to remove it. It's unfortunate people had to see it in the yard, but it is just the order of things in the wild. This happens in the woods all the time and it isn't a problem. Your yard is nothing more than a clearing in the woods to them. I woke up to a mauled wild turkey in my yard once. It was literally licked clean down to the bones. The whole yard was completely littered with feathers everywhere. It was nasty and it smelled. Threw the skeleton in the woods with a shovel and blew the feathers away with a leaf blower. It happens. Granted a deer is a little more difficult to clean up.
Anita Bath August 04, 2012 at 04:21 PM
For everyone that is scared of wildlife...good thing we bought a $9 million animal sanctuary
ted Aub August 04, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Although not a daily occurance,it is a situation where our town/state government should address in professional educated manner like with an open meeting in the community.FactS need to. be given and questions need to be answered Enough incidents have taken place to merit this.Do we wait until a toddler or a senior is attacked?Remember this is Connecticut not Montana.
patricia donohue August 04, 2012 at 09:25 PM
It has been our experience with the town PD...if it's dead, it's our responsibility to remove and dispose. Yuk!! We have recently had Fisher Cat/Coyote attacks in our neighborhood killing two small breed dogs and hens. We keep our small breed on a lease and never out of our sight.
Malinda Moore August 05, 2012 at 03:23 AM
Are you only talking about animals or does that apply to people also?
Jon Hall August 05, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Congrats you just witnessed mother nature. That's a part of life deer eat grass coyote eats deer worms eat coyote just simple biology. If you want to get rid of coyote then kill the grass so the deer will move.
Pam Nichols August 10, 2012 at 01:45 AM
If it was a recent kill, skin it and put the meat in the freezer, survival of the fittest.


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