Thursday, February 6, 2020

Guidance to Avoid Coyote Conflicts

Eastern coyote radio-collared by researchers at DEC and SUNY ESF

The Eastern coyote is found in many habitats, from rural farmland and forests to populated suburban and urban areas in New York State. Coyotes are well adapted to suburban and even urban environments, but for the most part will avoid conflicts with people.

However, conflicts with people and pets may result, particularly during the spring denning and pupping period. If coyotes learn to associate food, such as garbage or pet food with peoples’ homes, they may lose their natural fear of humans and the potential for close encounters or conflicts increases.

Awareness is key to minimizing potential conflicts. To reduce or prevent conflicts with coyotes, New Yorkers are encouraged to take the following steps:

  • Do not feed coyotes. Discourage others from doing so.
  • Pet food and garbage attract coyotes and other wildlife and increase risks to people and pets. Therefore:
  • 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. If you see a coyote, be aggressive in your behavior: stand tall and hold your arms up or out to look large. If a coyote lingers for too long, then make loud noises, wave your arms and throw sticks and stones.
  • Teach children to appreciate coyotes from a distance.
  • 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.
  • 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 coyotes exhibiting “bold” behaviors and having little or no fear of people, or if you see them repeatedly during the daytime in a human-populated area or near residences. Seeing a coyote occasionally throughout the year is not evidence of bold behavior.
  • Ask neighbors to follow these same steps.

More information about coyotes can be found here, or on DEC’s website.

Photo of Eastern coyote radio-collared by researchers (provided by SUNY ESF and DEC).

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8 Responses

  1. Balian the Cat says:

    Not fully understanding the family dynamics of coyotes, I will say that we have a group of the critters living in the forest behind our house. There is nothing conflicting about it at all – it is a primal joy to hear their calls at night and our occasional sittings of them are always a thrill. From what I can tell, they are intelligent, clever, and highly adaptable creatures. I am happy they are there.

  2. Tim-Brunswick says:

    That’s nice that you consider it a “primal joy”, however should you have a small to medium dog and/or cat and you stroll near their den-site or they just plain need to feed their pups during the rearing season, your joy may turn to tragedy.

    Coyotes will target and/or kill consume small/medium dogs and cats and there are numerous situations where they’ve literally “grabbed” a puppy walking with an adult human and raced away with the pup never to be seen again….

    • Boreas says:

      How many of these horror stories could be avoided by humans simply being cautious with their pets? Keep cats indoors, and keep dogs on a leash, because we also need to consider our pets’ pressures on wild animals. Puffy likes to chase squirrels and flush birds – that can’t be a bad thing can it? Dogs and cats are domesticated predators. Predators will predate. Animals will defend their territories. Humans need to be aware of that. But many seem to view animal-pet interactions as benign – until the pet is the victim. Then it is always the nasty animal’s fault.

      • Steve B. says:

        Agree with Boreas.

        Cats don’t need to go outside, they are perfectly happy living inside if that’s what they get used to at an early age. This also reduces the likelihood of getting into territorial fights with other cats.

        All dog owners that live in coyote territory should just be aware to keep their animals supervised or on a short leash when being walked. It’s not hard.

    • Balian the Cat says:


      How many small to medium dogs and/or cats get hit by cars every day? I am guessing you don’t have the opportunity to snark at too many stories regarding Guidance to Avoid Vehicle Conflict. I wonder why that is? There certainly are no regulations on the books allowing for the trapping or poisoning of pick-up trucks. I don’t share the need to fear/dominate the natural world as I consider myself part of it. Lightning can kill you, thin ice should be avoided, sing songs in bear country, get out of the water if you see a dorsal fin, etc.

      20+ people killed themselves on snowmobiles in NY last winter – probably outta outlaw those dangerous things, huh!

      • Suzanne says:

        Balian, in all due respect, I don’t feel that Tim was being snarky. Cats and small dogs are snatched by coyotes (and also raccoons). My neighbours in the Valley had one of those electronic fences and still a coyote managed to get in under the fence and grab their aged terrier while they saw it happen. I always used to bring our cats up to the mountains.They loved it here and enjoyed mousing. We called them in at dusk and kept them indoors for the night. No more! My big Maine Coon cat, Buster, didn’t go like to go outside, but he did enjoy sitting on our front porch. It was not a coyote but our neighbours’ dog down the hill, unattended, who barged in, trashed our kitchen, and scared Buster away. I was never able to find him, although I put out a posters and a reward and he was seen in the village. I will never bring another cat to the mountains, but now pay a cat-sitter to care for them whenever I’m up here. My brother allows his cat to go out at night, and we are on a rural road with increasing traffic. This is not a good idea.

  3. Charlie S says:

    “Keep cats indoors, and keep dogs on a leash…”

    People are irresponsible Boreas as you well know. You can shout out until the moon explodes yet your shouts will never adhere. A lapse of reason. No common sense. A dysfunction! A fart stuck on the brain! Call it what you will you cannot sway a human fixed in a cloud.