MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says people may notice more coyotes out than usual for the next several weeks.

“People are seeing them every day, right downtown Minneapolis to, you know, the suburbs, urban area, doesn’t matter,” DNR Area Wildlife Supervisor Bob Fashingbauer said.

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It is peak coyote mating season, so they will be out in full force until mid-March — and males can be aggressive

“A person’s pets become not only food, but it’s just a territorial thing,” Fashingbauer said.

Richfield homeowner Tiffany Jackson noticed two shadowy figures in her backyard Monday night.

“I thought it was a raccoon,” Jackson said.

She says she saw two big coyotes hop right over her fence chain link fence, which is about 4-feet high.

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(credit: CBS)

“A coyote can jump a 6-foot chain linked fence pretty easy,” Fashingbauer said.

Luckily, their 6-year-old boxer Moose wasn’t outside at the time.

“I have no doubt in my mind he would have been fine, but for a much smaller dog, the chances are they would not have been fine,” Jackson said.

So, keep your dog on a short leash.

“It’s very rare they kill a large dog, but they can send them to the vet, there’s no doubt about that,” Fashingbauer said.

Watch them even in fenced backyards, and clear your yard of food scraps or bird seed. And if you encounter a coyote yourself, scare them off by yelling, waving your arms and flashing light or sound.

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“It’s part of nature. They’re actually very good for … the ecosystem, taking out the mice and that sort of thing,” Fashingbauer said. “We just have to learn to live with them, and it’s something we can easily do by, you know, being vigilant with our pets, especially this time of year.”

Erin Hassanzadeh