FIVE EASY STEPS TO AVOID CONFLICTS WITH COYOTES
Conflicts with coyotes can be avoided by taking
simple precautions or by altering behaviors to avoid
Do not feed the coyotes.
Do not let pets run loose.
Do not run from a coyote.
Repellents or fencing may help.
Report aggressive, fearless coyotes immediately.
DO NOT FEED COYOTES:
Intentional feeding, such as bait stations in yards
or parks, should be avoided. However, many people
unintentionally feed coyotes by leaving pet food or
garbage out at night or having large bird feeders.
Coyotes are usually not interested in bird food, but
bird feeders often attract rodents, especially
squirrels, which then attract coyotes. Although
coyotes seem to have a natural inclination to avoid
human-related food, this can change when prey
populations are low, or if the coyotes are young and
haven’t yet learned to hunt effectively.
DO NOT LET PETS RUN LOOSE:
If coyotes live nearby, do not let pets run loose,
especially domestic cats. When hiking in urban
parks, keep dogs on leashes.
DO NOT RUN FROM A COYOTE:
When you encounter a coyote, shout or throw something
in its direction.
REPELLENTS OR FENCING MAY HELP:
Some repellents may work in keeping coyotes out of
small areas such as yards, although these have not
been tested thoroughly for coyotes. Repellents may
involve remotely activated lights or sound-making
devices. Fencing may keep coyotes out of a yard,
particularly if it is more than 4 feet in height
with a roll bar across the top.
REPORT AGGRESSIVE, FEARLESS COYOTES
When a coyote fails to exhibit fear of humans or acts
aggressively by barking or growling in the yard or
playground, the animal must be reported as soon as
possible to the appropriate officials — usually an
animal control officer or police officer.
WHEN SHOULD I BE CONCERNED?
A list of signs
indicating an increase in threats from coyotes is
presented here (see Figure 1).
However, it is important to note that coyotes
are highly variable in their behavior, and this
sequence may not always be predictive:
Indicators of threats from coyotes
and removal programs are types of direct
People should be encouraged to act
aggressively toward coyotes during encounters, to
re-instill a fear of humans in coyotes.
In many cases, this involves shouting, waving, or
clapping hands, and looking as tall as possible.
Residents in some communities will chase coyotes by
banging pots and pans, or throwing balls or rocks at
them. However, this should be done within reason so as not
to create conflicts that might not otherwise occur
by injuring or cornering a coyote that simply wants
Relatively small properties that have coyote visitors
may be able to use scare devices for coyotes, such
as electronic sirens and lights, although these have
not yet been tested thoroughly.
We have successfully used game cameras with
flashes to repel coyotes from yards, but these may
not work in every circumstance.
There are instances where coyote habituation
is so severe that the coyotes can be considered an
immediate threat to people, especially children and
pets. This is when removal is often warranted.
Lethal removal is accomplished either through
trapping/euthanasia or shooting. Coyotes are
difficult to trap or shoot, and these actions should
be undertaken by professionals, especially in urban
areas. Removal efforts should observe state and
municipal codes. Fortunately, because of
habituation, nuisance coyotes are often easier to
capture than non-habituated individuals.
Removal programs designed to target specific nuisance
coyotes will be more successful than broad removal
programs that have a goal of removing a complete
population of coyotes. It is difficult to capture
all coyotes residing in an area, and as coyotes are
removed, they are replaced by solitary ones.
Removal, especially lethal removal, is often
controversial within communities. This is especially
true when the perceived threat by coyotes is
somewhat ambiguous to residents.
Removal programs can also be expensive, either for
residents or municipalities, and traps can
occasionally capture pets.
For these reasons, as well as ethical reasons, coyote
removal is best employed only after education has
been attempted or if there is an immediate, and
obvious, threat to human safety.
Management programs for urban coyotes should begin
with public education and untangling facts from
for more information.
People should become aware of coyote signs and
understand the differences between true threats and
It is important to stress that our relationship with
coyotes is directly affected by our behavior —
coyotes react to us, and we can foster mutual
respect or a lack of respect through cues we send to
Some people are enamored with coyotes. They like
seeing them near their yards and attempt to entice
them by baiting them, or they want to try to “tame”
them. Intentional feeding, such as this, should be
prohibited, otherwise other management solutions
will be temporary at best.
People should be discouraged from inadvertent feeding
where coyotes are present.
This includes leaving pet food outside at
night and maintaining large bird feeders that
attract multiple species of wildlife.