Friday, March 16, 2018

Avoiding Conflicts With Adirondack Coyotes

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has issued the agency’s annual guidance on preventing conflicts between people and coyotes as spring temperatures approach.

With the onset of warmer weather, many of New York’s resident coyotes set up dens for pups that will arrive this spring. Coyotes are well adapted to suburban and even some urban environments, but for the most part they will avoid contact with people. However, conflicts with people and pets may result as coyotes tend to be territorial around den sites during the spring through mid-summer period as they forage almost constantly to provide food for their young.

There are recommended steps residents and visitors can take to reduce or prevent conflicts:

  • 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 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, and 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.
  • Fenced yards may deter coyotes. The fence should be tight to the ground, preferably extending six inches below ground level and taller than four 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 DEC 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 can be found in rural farmlands and forests, and occasionally in populated suburban and urban areas. In most cases, coyotes avoid people as much as possible. If coyotes learn to associate people with food (such as, garbage or pet food) however, they may lose their natural fear of humans, and the potential for close encounters or conflicts increases.

It is important to keep pets safe. Cats allowed to roam free are at risk. To protect your cat from coyotes and other hazards keep your cat indoors. Owners of small dogs also have cause for concern. Small dogs are at greatest risk of being harmed or killed when coyotes are being territorial during denning and pup-rearing. Small dogs should not be left unattended in backyards at night and should remain supervised. Owners of large and medium sized dogs have less to worry about, but should still take precautions.

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 these DEC websites: Eastern Coyote; Coyote Conflicts; Feeding Wildlife: A Wrong Choice; Tips to Eliminate Wildlife Conflicts; and Regional DEC Wildlife Offices.

Photo of coyote courtesy of Daniel Bogan, PhD, and Dr. Paul Curtis, DNR.

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5 Responses

  1. Jim S. says:

    Do not raise and breed roadrunners.

  2. Kathy says:

    It’s very sad when people let their animals out the door to roam free and then post ” missing “!
    It’s not freedom for them to be free to be killed away from home by wildlife or vehicles.

  3. Cerise says:

    I’d have thought rabies would be worth a mention as a concern for overly aggressive or friendly coyotes.

    • Elise Able says:

      I don’t know where you are from, but this editorial written by someone who is a travel agent is not at all relevant or factual. It is actually one of the more ridiculous pieces of mis-information I’ve read to date. My first clue were the words “Foaming at the mouth” LOL!!! Which, as anyone familiar with rabies is that “foaming at the mouth” was in the firctional book called “Old Yeller”. “Foaming at the mouth is not a symptom of rabies, but more likely of some sort of poisoning. However, the entire page of the link you attached is in ARIZONA, and this is NEW YORK. Not sure where ypu are, but ARIZONA and NEW YORK are not close to each other, and the coyotes are not remotely alike either. If you want to learn the facts about coyotes and rabies in New York, I have attached a link to the New York State Department of Health that has all of the statistics . The fact is, rabies in coyotes in the last 10 years less less frequent than rabies in deer, cattle, and sheep. about the same frequency as rabies in horses- and lets not forget that horses, cattle and sheep commonly get vaccinated for rabies. The bottom line is, rabies in coyotes is extremely rare, and so rare, that when it does happen, it makes national news. Here are the facts n this link

  4. Charlie S says:

    “Do not allow pets to run free. ….Small dogs and cats are especially vulnerable to coyotes.”

    Driving through the neighborhoods of Clifton Park a common sight is a poster with a photo of a cat tacked to a pole with the words (or similar) “Missing, please call such and such number….” Sometimes a reward is offered. I saw the same just last week. Now I’m not one who was a major in math when I was in school but I can put two and two together. Whenever I see these signs the first thing that floats over my mind….Coyotes!

    It would be too easy to suggest that some people are just not right in the head but really what it is, in many cases, people just don’t know any better. First and foremost pet cats should be kept indoors, especially if you value wild birds whose deaths number in the millions every year due to mindless cat owners who we must thank largely for bird numbers being down. First! Second…cars! Operators of cars aren’t always mindful of any animal, including cats, that might just jump out (or move along at a snails pace) in front of them when they’re hurry-scurry down roads.

    Third… coyotes! They are very smart animals. They have to be in order for them to be in such great numbers as they are. Twice i’ve seen them look both ways before crossing a road. There has to be some level of comprehension in them to know to look both ways. Of course not all of them know to do this as I’ve seen a few dead coyotes on the sides of roads too. Food! Coyotes know where the portions are good. They know that a good many folk who reside in Clifton Park like to let their cats out at night.

    My niece thought she heard a noise late one night a few years ago outside her back door in Clifton Park. She turned her light on, looked past her parted curtains and saw a coyote carrying her 13 year old cat off into the dark. Cats are especially vulnerable to coyotes….especially in Clifton Park.

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