TIMMINS -- If you’ve been seeing coyotes in the Timmins or Sudbury areas, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) said you’re not alone.

According to the MNRF, there has been an increase in document reports in the Sudbury district. Officials note that while documented cases haven't been on the rise, they have been hearing unofficial accounts of sightings in Timmins.

"For Timmins specifically, we do have a high hare population so that could be contributing to people seeing more coyotes this time of year," said Karen Passmore, regional outreach specialist for the MNRF.     

You might hear coyotes howling at night instead of seeing them, but if you do spot the canine, the MNRF said it’s much smaller than a wolf and its bushy tail will be pointed down. 

Passmore said the province wants people to be aware of coyotes but not be alarmed by them. 

"Just to remind people that they will see more coyotes around this time of year, again, because of the winter and them looking for alternative food sources that they can’t find in the forest; people being home due to COVID so they’re seeing more wildlife."

Officials say garbage outdoors should be secure and to never run away from a coyote if you encounter one, but make sure to make loud noises to scare it off.