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DEC: Avoid coyote conflicts this spring by following these guidelines

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has issued guidelines to prevent conflicts between humans and coyotes. The DEC is urging New Yorkers to be aware of the potential for conflicts and follow the guidelines to prevent negative encounters.

Coyotes can be found in various habitats throughout the state, from rural farmland and forests to populated suburban and urban areas. While they generally avoid human contact, conflicts with people and pets can occur, especially during the spring denning and pupping period when coyotes tend to be more territorial and protective of their young. Additionally, if coyotes associate food with humans, such as garbage or pet food, they may lose their natural fear of humans, increasing the potential for close encounters or conflicts.

To reduce or prevent conflicts with coyotes, New Yorkers are encouraged to take several steps. First, it is important to never feed coyotes. People should not leave food outside as pet food and garbage can attract coyotes and other wildlife, increasing the risk to people and pets. Instead, pet food should be fed indoors, garbage should be secured, and compost piles should be fenced or enclosed. Availability of bird seed should be eliminated as concentrations of birds and rodents that come to feeders can attract coyotes.

Additionally, people should not allow coyotes to approach them or their pets. If a coyote is seen, people should be aggressive in their behavior, stand tall, and hold their arms up or out to appear as large as possible. If a coyote lingers for too long, people should make loud noises, wave their arms, and throw sticks and stones. Children should be taught to appreciate coyotes from a distance, and pets should not be allowed to run free. Outdoor pets should be supervised to keep them safe from coyotes and other wildlife, especially at sunset and at night, as small dogs and cats are particularly vulnerable.

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To further deter coyotes, people can fence their yards, with the fence being tight to the ground, extending six inches below ground level, and taller than four feet. Brush and tall grass should also be removed from around homes to reduce protective cover for coyotes, as they prefer areas where they can hide. People should also ask their neighbors to follow these guidelines to prevent coyote conflicts.

In the spring, coyotes tend to be more active and may be more visible. However, if they exhibit bold behaviors and have little or no fear of people, or if they are seen repeatedly during the daytime near residences, people should contact their Regional DEC Wildlife Office for assistance. In emergency situations, people should contact their local police department.