Monday, April 20, 2015

DEC Issues Coyote Avoidance Guidance

CoyoteThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has issued guidance on preventing conflicts with coyotes. With the onset of warmer weather, many of New York’s resident coyotes are setting up dens for soon-to-arrive pups.

Coyotes are well-adapted to suburban and even urban environments, but usually avoid contact with people. However, conflicts with people and pets can occur as coyotes tend to be territorial around den sites during the spring through mid-summer as they forage almost constantly to provide food for their young.

To minimize the chance that conflicts between people and coyotes occur, it is important that coyotes’ natural fear of people is maintained. Below are DEC’s recommended steps to reduce or prevent conflicts from occurring:

  • Do not feed coyotes and discourage others from doing so.
  • Unintentional food sources attract coyotes and other wildlife and increase risks to people and pets. To reduce risks:
    • Do not feed pets outside.
    • Make any garbage inaccessible to coyotes and other animals.
    • Fence or enclose compost piles so they are not accessible to coyotes.
    • Eliminate availability of bird seed. Concentrations of birds and rodents that come to feeders can attract coyotes. If you see a coyote(s) near your birdfeeder, clean up waste seed and spillage to remove the attractant.
  • Do not allow coyotes to approach people or pets.
  • Teach children to appreciate coyotes from a distance.
  • If you see a coyote, be aggressive in your behavior – stand tall, and hold arms out to look large. If a coyote lingers for too long, then make loud noises, wave your arms, throw sticks and stones.
  • Do not allow pets to run free. Supervise all outdoor pets to keep them safe from coyotes and other wildlife, especially at sunset and at night. Small dogs and cats are especially vulnerable to coyotes.
  • Fencing your yard may deter coyotes. The fence should be tight to the ground, preferably extending six inches below ground level, and taller than 4 feet.
  • Remove brush and tall grass from around your home to reduce protective cover for coyotes. Coyotes are typically secretive and like areas where they can hide.
  • Contact your local police department and NYSDEC regional office for assistance if you notice that coyotes are exhibiting “bold” behaviors and have little or no fear of people. Seeing a coyote occasionally throughout the year is not evidence of bold behavior.
  • Ask your neighbors to follow these same steps.

The Eastern coyote is a firmly established wildlife species in New York. As a predator it is an integral part of our ecosystems, from rural farmlands and forests to populated suburban and urban areas. In most cases, coyotes avoid people as much as possible and provide opportunities and benefits to New Yorkers through observation, photography, hunting and trapping; their howling and yipping at night can provide a haunting but harmless reminder of wildlife in our midst. However, if coyotes learn to associate people with food (such as, garbage or pet food), they may lose their natural fear of humans, and the potential for close encounters or conflicts increases dramatically.

If coyotes are seen repeatedly during the daytime in a human-populated area or in close proximity to residences, follow the above recommendations to reduce or prevent potential problems. If coyote behavior remains unchanged or becomes threatening, please report this to the local DEC office, as this may indicate that some individual coyotes have lost their fear of people and there may be a greater risk that a problem could occur.

For additional information about the Eastern Coyote and preventing conflicts with coyotes, visit the DEC website:

Eastern Coyote
Coyote Conflicts
Feeding Wildlife: A Wrong Choice
Tips to Eliminate Wildlife Conflicts

Read more about coyotes at the Adirondack Almanack here.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Bogan, PhD candidate at Cornell University, and Dr. Paul Curtis, DNR.

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11 Responses

  1. Pete Klein says:

    It warms the cockles of my heart to learn the DEC is warning us of the dangers of coyotes and what we need to do to protect ourselves from these dangerous predators.

    • Andre says:

      Pete – you are more likely to be bitten by someones pet dog. All wild animals should be avoided though.

  2. Willie says:

    My experience with the Eastern Coyote is not good, and I take exception to the comment that “the coyote is an integral part of our ecosystems”. So does that mean that the Northern Snakehead is an integral part of the Potomac River ecosystem? To surrender arms, and back away from a growing, and environmentally threatening population of Coyotes is a long term bad mistake.

    This animal is voracious, will eat about anything that it comes across, and is also a prolific breeder. Presence of the Coyote in an environment can bring about a substantial decline in desirable wildlife populations such as the Ruffed Grouse and Wild Turkey. The Eastern Coyote was not present in these Eastern regions when native species became established long ago, and therefore, represents an invasive species in my opinion.

    Forward thinking states have established open hunting seasons on Coyotes, with no bag limits. Any thought that hunting and trapping alone can control this animal is beyond practical reason. However, the hunter mentality…..not the acceptance of My. Wiley, is what should be fostered in the human population in order to properly view the Eastern Coyote as the cradle robber that it is. Acceptance of its presence is just not acceptable, especially for future generations who will be more negatively impacted by this Eastern Invader.

    I have harvested many Coyotes and will continue to do so. I encourage all of my hunter friends to become predator hunters as well. Shooting a Coyote is actually a public service, and a very positive contribution to nominal control of him. I have seen too many examples of negative Coyote impact to sit back and not comment on an article which blindly accepts this ecosystem menace.

    • Paul says:

      Good luck trying to hunt this animal down in numbers. It is the ultimate evolution machine. When disease cuts its numbers it makes larger litters. It can live in environments that even humans can barely manage. It can eat just about anything. Unlike the snakehead it wasn’t introduced here by humans. It evolved into this niche.

    • AG says:

      Willie – nature abhors a vacuum… “we” killed off the larger predators such as wolves and cougars…. that made way for the coyote… as to you and your friends – kill coyotes and they breed more.

  3. Charlie S says:

    Andre says “Pete – you are more likely to be bitten by someones pet dog.”

    I love the sound of coyotes at night or in the early morning hours,and I think they are beautiful animals Andre, but I don’t trust them,especially a pack of them. Yes..more likely a dog will take a nip at us but then we’re not in the woods as much as we’re in populated areas where dogs are domesticated and are a product of the environment (with all of its dysfunctions) they are raised in. The psyche of this society is going through a metamorphosis these years of late and truly I believe the animal kingdom is reacting to that. There have been attacks by coyotes on humans,one of whom was killed a few years ago up in Canada.This is a new phenomenon far as I know which would bring fruition to my suspicions on the matter.

    • Paul says:

      Very rare Charlie. Statistically insignificant. You are very lucky to catch a look at one of these animals. But they are trying to make it easier for us to see them as they expand. They had one in Manhattan last week. They had a link at this site.

    • AG says:

      No one said you are to trust them. they are a wild animal – we should “trust” them nor should we “hang out” with them. I was just stating a fact.. You are more likely to be bitten by – and even killed by a pet dog than a coyote. That is a statistical fact. It is also a fact you are more likely to die in a car accident with a deer.

  4. Charlie S says:

    Paul says “Very rare,statistically insignificant.”
    Rare but possible Paul.
    Statistically insignificant to who? The victims family maybe?

    There are certain forms of cancer that are very rare also,one of which my niece succumbed to just a few years ago…she was 23. Irrelevant to you maybe but not to her surviving kin. My point in my missive above is that coyotes do attack humans.Maybe eventually the numbers will go up which wouldn’t surprise me as all things detrimental seem to be increasing in number, floods, wildfires,wars …. If the 18 year old girl in Canada who died from a coyote attack was your daughter would you consider that insignificant? Or are you totally a numbers kinda guy?

  5. Charlie S says:

    Pete Klein says “It warms the cockles of my heart to learn the DEC is warning us of the dangers of coyotes and what we need to do to protect ourselves from these dangerous predators.”

    I detect sarcasm in your above statement Pete. It may be ‘insignificant’ like Paul says but I just was going through Tuesday’s NY Times and found a story titled “2nd person is attacked by a coyote in New Jersey.” Two attacks in one month in Bergen County.

    Paul also says “You are very lucky to catch a look at one of these animals.”
    I’m not so sure his statement rings true (at least for some people) after reading this NY Times story and of course the other reports that have come in over the years. The environment is changing and man is a major contributor to this factoid. Animal behavior is changing.
    Rare – seldom occurring or found; uncommon. Rare in the dictionary does not fit Paul’s definition of rare….in my book. It will most likely fit less as time rumbles along.

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