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Coyote Information
Posted on Feb 11th, 2013
What to do about coyotes?
It is not unusual to hear the distant howls of coyotes on a quiet night here in the neighborhood. However, several coyote sightings have recently occurred within our Prairie Highlands community. The following information is intended to inform, but not alarm you of the potential threats posed by coyotes, actions to take if encountering a coyote in your yard or while out for a walk, and steps that you can take to prevent these sightings. It should be noted that much of the following information was obtained from articles published by the Humane Society of the United States.
Let’s begin with a few facts. Coyotes are reclusive animals that typically avoid human contact. Statistics indicate that coyote attacks on people are very rare. In fact, humans are more likely to be killed by errant golf balls or flying champagne corks each year than bitten by coyotes. There have only been two recorded incidences in the United States and Canada of humans being killed by coyotes. Many human attacks occur when victims are actually feeding the animals. In many other instances, people were bitten while trying to rescue their free-roaming pet from a coyote attack. Less often, people are bitten by cornered coyotes, or even more rarely, rabid coyotes. These events, rare as they are, are serious and warrant serious response.
A coyote that does not run away when encountering humans has, most likely, lost their fear of humans. This generally occurs when a coyote has fed on handouts, pet food left outside, or unsecured garbage. Coyotes who come to depend on these sources of food may begin to approach humans looking for a handout. These bold coyotes should not be tolerated.
Hazing is a method suggested by the Humane Society as an effective deterrent to move an animal out of an area or discourage an undesirable behavior or activity. Hazing can help maintain a coyote’s fear of humans and deter them from backyards and play spaces. It is often as simple as making yourself loud (by yelling or using homemade noisemakers) and large (by standing tall and waving your arms). Using a variety of different hazing tools is critical so that coyotes don’t get used to redundant or single stimulus devices, sounds, and actions. Options include:
• Noisemakers: voice, whistles, air horns, bells, “shaker” cans full of marbles or pennies, pots, lids, or pie pans banged together.
• Projectiles: sticks, small rocks, cans, tennis balls, and rubber balls;
• Other: hoses, water guns with vinegar water, spray bottles with vinegar water, pepper spray, bear repellent.
If a coyote has not been hazed before, it may not immediately run away when you yell. If this happens, you may need to walk towards the coyote and increase the intensity of your hazing. The coyote may run away, but then stop after a distance and look at you. It is important to continue to go after the coyote until it completely leaves the area. You may need to use different tactics, such as noisemakers, stomping your feet, or spraying the coyote with a hose, to get him to leave.
There are also several tools that you can carry with you while walking your dog that can be used to repel coyotes. These include:
• Whistle or small air horn (you can purchase small air horn “necklaces”)
• Squirt guns
• Pepper spray
• Sticks or other objects to throw towards (but not at) the coyote
There are several important things to remember if encountering a coyote:
• Never run away from a coyote!
• The coyote may not leave at first, but if you approach it closer and/or increase the intensity of your hazing, it will run away.
• If the coyote runs away a short distance and then stops and looks at you, continue hazing until it completely leaves the area.
• After you have successfully hazed a coyote, he or she may return again. Continue to haze the coyote as you did before; it usually takes only one or two times to haze a coyote away for good.
The best way to avoid coyote encounters is by keeping pets and pet food inside and your garbage secured. But remember; always use caution when encountering free roaming animals that exhibit erratic behavior.
Additional information is available at the following website: