Dealing with coyotes…


When I fell in love with wolves, I fell in love with a whole new lifestyle – when I started advocating as an activist for them, the world increased bigger than I ever imagined – it has taught me the value of taking a stand for anything WORTHY of taking a stand/fighting for! I learned what it takes to take that stand, and to encourage others to do the same, I learned what it takes to stand TOGETHER AS 1!

With all the recent coyote calling/killing contests all around, I decided to do a little research and effective NON LETHAL ways to manage coyotes! I visited numerous different websites and found MOST of them had the exact same methods listed and explained! So, I contacted a few of these websites and asked permission to post “THEIR WORK” because of the simple fact that although many had listed the same methods, there were a few that really stood out to me, so here we go! I do NOT take credit for ANY of this work because my only contribution is a general comparison and sharing of my findings!

Why don’t coyote hunts work? They are ineffective.

For managing coyote damage, a variety of control methods must be available since no single method is effective in every situation. Success usually involves an integrated approach, combining good husbandry practices with effective control methods for short periods of time. Regardless of the means used to stop damage, the focus should be on damage prevention and control rather than elimination of coyotes. It is neither wise nor practical to kill all coyotes. It is important to try to prevent coyotes from killing calves or sheep for the first time. Once a coyote has killed livestock, it will probably continue to do so if given the opportunity. Equally important is taking action as quickly as possible to stop coyotes from killing after they start.

It is extremely difficult to ensure that the problem-causing coyote(s) will be the one(s) located and killed.
Coyotes removed from an area will quickly be replaced by others. Coyote pairs hold territories, which leaves single coyotes (“floaters”) constantly looking for new places to call home.
If attractants in a neighborhood are not removed (e.g., pet food, garbage, etc.) new coyotes in an area can quickly become “nuisance” coyotes.

They won’t reduce coyote populations.
Research suggests that when aggressively controlled, coyotes can increase their reproductive rate by breeding at an earlier age and having larger litters, with a higher survival rate among young. This allows coyote populations to quickly bounce back, even when as much as 70 percent of their numbers are removed.
It is nearly impossible to completely eradicate coyotes from an area. Despite bounties and large-scale efforts to kill coyotes over the last 100 years, coyotes have in fact expanded their range throughout the U.S. and Canada tremendously. One study even found that killing 75 percent of a coyote population every year for 50 years would still not exterminate the population.

Relocating a problem to the wilderness is the right thing to do in many people’s opinions, however, it is not cost effective as all you are doing is moving the problem not solving the problem! Do you not understand that if you don’t remove the ENTIRE problem then there will be further conflict? Apparently not. Also, if you remove said problem but do not tend to your pets or keep your yard trash/garbage free, then you are only putting a band aid on the problem and inviting more of the same. So the ONLY viable solution is to take better care of pets, keep yards free of trash/garbage – problem solved! Anything else does NOT solve the problem – killing them only invites another pack to take over the territory, relocating them is not cost effective and only relocates the problem

The bottom line is that killing is not a solution for managing conflicts between people and coyotes. Instead, a two-part program that combines education and hazing is emerging as the most humane way to resolve conflicts with coyotes.
Education involves teaching residents of your community how to remove food attractants that lure coyotes into communities and how to properly protect pets. Hazing changes the behavior of problem coyotes by teaching them to avoid people and pets.

What does work?
Coyotes are here to stay—it’s up to us to find ways of coexisting with them. A program combining education in techniques to resolve coyote conflicts and how to discourage coyotes offers the best method for handling and preventing conflicts with coyotes, and is working already in a number of communities.

According to the Illinois DNR = An average of 7,000 coyotes is harvested each year in Illinois. About 75 percent of these are taken by hunters; 25 percent by trappers. The trapping season is restricted to the fall and winter months, while the hunting season is open year-round. A liberal hunting season allows landowners to remove problem animals without having to obtain a special permit. Biologists monitor the population to ensure that hunting and trapping do not negatively impact the population.

How to Get Rid of Coyotes – Coyotes have only recently become a pest because the coyote population continues to explode while their territory is getting smaller and smaller. What does this mean for the interaction between coyotes and humans? As the coyote’s habitat gets smaller and their population grows, they have to live by humans to get food and shelter. The coyote is the size of a medium sized dog, but much smaller than a wolf. Their coats can range in colors, but the usual coat color is a tan, gray white mixture. You can tell a coyote from a dog because they are very skittish of humans and they are much skinnier than the average dog. The howl of a coyote is unmistakable and very annoying as it sounds like a baby crying or a dying animal.

Coyotes are not usually considered pests, but now that they are encroaching upon our backyards there are some behaviors that are not conducive to that arrangement. Coyotes play an important part in keeping the rodent population controlled, but they will also snack on your family pet if given the opportunity. Coyotes will also break into your garbage cans and make a huge mess. For light sleepers, coyotes can be a really big problem because they are mainly active at night and their howls are very loud. When coyotes get together, or if it is mating season, the howls are particularly irritating. If you have coyotes lurking around your backyard, you probably want to get rid of them as soon as possible. Try some of these suggestions and you will be coyote free in no time.

  • The best way to get rid of coyotes without harming them is to take away their food sources. You can do this several ways. Stop feeding your dogs and cats outside and keep their food inside all the time so the coyote cannot steal the food off of your porch at night. The next thing you must do is to secure your trash cans in your garage or in a special shed that is made just for your garbage cans. Also, keep fallen fruit off the ground and build a fence around your garden. Here are more ideas on how to keep coyotes away – prevention techniques.
  • The other way that you can take away a coyote’s food source is to significantly reduce your rodent population. The best way to do this is to keep the property clean, and free of food sources, like garbage or grains. You can set outdoor trapping stations, but that won’t significantly reduce rat numbers. I don’t recommend poisoning rats or any animal. Cats can also lower the rat and mouse population on your property, but you may want to rethink having outdoor cats if you have coyotes around, because cats are a coyote’s favorite snack.
  • Try to keep your yard very maintained, like making sure your grass is cut short and your bushes and trees are trimmed. This takes away the coyote’s opportunities for shelter. If they have nowhere that they feel safe enough to sleep in during the day, they will not stick around, especially if they have no food.
  • The last trick that you can try is to trap the coyotes. This is extremely difficult to do because coyotes are very cautious. If you do want to trap them, make sure that you are wearing latex gloves and wash the trap with soap beforehand to cover your scent. Place the trap over a hole with meat in it to get the coyote to come into the trap. If you trap the coyote, you are told to euthanize the animal instead of relocating it. If this is not your cup of tea then you should try the other indirect methods or call a professional to remove the animal. Here is in-depth information about coyote trapping – analysis and methods for how to trap.

How to Keep away coyotes
There are many methods you can use to keep coyotes away in order to prevent damage. Regardless of the coyote removal method you use, you should focus on preventing damage rather than eliminating coyotes since it is not practical or wise to kill off all coyotes.

Good fences are important in reducing the predation of livestock by coyotes and they also increase the effectiveness of other types of coyote removal methods such as traps and snares. With the recent developments that have taken place in fencing design and equipment, this is an economically practical and effective coyote removal method. It protects sheep from predation under certain grazing conditions. The following are some of the fences that you can use.

  • Net wire fence – When you opt to use this fence, make sure that the horizontal spacing of the mesh is less than six inches and that the vertical spacing is less than four inches.
  • Electric fence – recent designs of electric fences have all wires charged and the spacing between wires varies. An electric fence with thirteen strands is ideal for coyote removal. It offers complete protection to sheep from coyotes.

Coyote-proofing corrals
Coyotes usually kill sheep at night and the best way to keep them away is to build corrals that coyotes cannot enter. Another thing is to install lights in the corrals.

Frightening devices
Frightening devices are important in coyote removal because they prevent losses from taking place. They should not be used when predation is not a problem and in order to prevent acclimation, you can increase their effectiveness by changing their appearance, position or the frequency of using them. You can also use them in a number of combinations. Some of the frightening devices that you can use for coyote removal include the following.

  • Lights – Coyotes are less likely to attack livestock in lighted corrals and they are also more vulnerable upon entering a lighted area. Coyotes usually use a pattern of killing that is very predictable. If this happens in a lighted corral, you can wait downwind or above of the corral and shoot the coyote as it enters. Lights that flash or revolve can frighten coyotes away.
  • Bells and radios – They are effective in temporarily deterring away coyotes.
  • Vehicles – They reduce predation temporarily and can be used as a comfortable blind that you can wait in and shoot offending coyotes.
  • Propane exploders – These coyote removal device produce loud sounds at timed intervals after a measured amount of propane gas is ignited by a spark. The time between explosions varies from about one to fifteen minutes in most exploders.
  • Electronic guard – This frightening device is also effective in coyote removal. It contains a siren and a strobe of light that is controlled by a variable interval timer, which is activated in the night with a photoelectric cell.

1080 livestock protection collar
This is the other product that is effective for coyote removal. It selectively kills coyotes that attack goats or sheep. This collar is placed on goats or sheep that pasture in areas that coyotes are likely to attack them. The collar contains 300 milligrams of compound 1080 solution. Due to the position and design of the collar on the throat, most coyotes that attack sheep or goats puncture it and ingest the toxicant.

Trapping tips
Trapping is another effective coyote removal method and you can enhance it by using the following trapping tips. The first thing to note is that coyotes learn from events that were frightening or unpleasant and usually avoid such experiences in the future. Coyotes often limit their movements to small areas in the spring and summer seasons but roam over larger areas in the fall and winter. They also usually follow regular crossways and paths and prefer knolls and high hills. Good locations for placing coyote removal traps are in coyote tracks like along old roads that they have preferred to hunt, travel, roam, rest or howl. You should set traps to one side of a trail where they may stop such a close to a gate, hilltop or in areas where ground cover changes.

Shooting – This is the other effective coyote removal method. It is one of the best choices for removing coyotes and is legal in many situations.

SOURCE: & Fox Removal and ControlCoyote and fox are usually classified as a pest species due to their predation habits. The most common complaints include the following:

  • Coyotes preying on sheep
  • Fox preying on chickens
  • Coyote posing threat to pet

For these reasons, many people wish to have these nuisance canines trapped and removed. Not all trappers provide this service, but some specialize in canine snaring and capture, as part of a predator abatement program.
FOX BIOLOGY: The Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)is a fairly small canine, about 2.5 feet long and 8-14 pounds. It can vary in color, from orange to gray to silver or black. Females bear one litter of pups per year, and the number of young and the time of year can vary quite a bit depending on latitude and conditions. Fox average a lifespan of three years, but can live up to twelve years in captivity.

COYOTE BIOLOGY: The Coyote (Canis latrans) is about three feet long and 20-40 pounds. They are primarily grayish-brown. They breed once a year, in late winter or early spring, and produce a litter of young that can vary widely in number. They can live up to ten years in the wild, or twenty in captivity.

FOX & COYOTE BEHAVIOR: Fox are solitary animals. They live in dens. They establish a home territory, on which they hunt. They primarily eat rodents such as field mice or cottontail rabbits. Coyotes are similar, but they sometimes eat larger prey. They will eat a wide variety of foods, and will often scavenge. Coyotes are very adaptable, and will often live in urban areas. Both are mostly nocturnal.

NUISANCE CONCERNS: Fox are known for raiding chicken coops and killing poultry. Other than that, they’re relatively harmless. They’re mostly shy and secretive animals. Same for Coyotes, although they can kill larger prey.

FOX & COYOTE DISEASES: Both can carry rabies, just like any canine. Beware of any wild animal that displays unusual behavior, such as lack of fear, inconsistent walking, etc.

HOW DO I GET RID OF FOX & COYOTES? The best method is trapping and removal. Many wildlife control specialists excel at canine trapping. In many areas, it’s a lost art, since not as many people fur trap as in ye olde days. However, many nuisance trappers have learned to adopt the fur trappers’ techniques in order to catch these animals. Some wildlife operators are in fact former (or even current) fur trappers. There are many techniques, some of which I consider inhumane, and some of which are antiquated. For more information, read my how to catch a fox page.

CAN’T I JUST USE A REPELLENT? There is no known effective repellent or deterrent device to keep fox or coyote off of a property.

Understanding Coyote Behavior

Generally, we need to know that coyotes live daily lives comprised of the same things we do: sleeping, waking, finding food (hopefully), playing, raising their young, avoiding dangers, healing from hurts, finding a mate, finding shelter, retaining their special status among others, and so on. They are as absorbed in these activities as much as we are.

Their interest in you is very superficial, involving a mild curiosity. Their interest in your dog might be a bit more substantial, because dogs look familiar to them and because dogs might pose a threat. But dogs also have been seen by coyotes as playmates.

Most coyotes are shy and seem to have their instincts intact — which means they flee to a safe distance when they see humans or dogs, either to hide or maybe to begin a barking episode. However, a few of our coyotes have displayed more individualistic behavior — either more friendly or more brazen. Just like people, each individual coyote has its own individual character and personality. In addition, there are also human or dog interactions which can alter their behavior to seem more friendly or more bold — ultimately this hurts everyone: coyotes, dogs and humans.

Two of the San Francisco coyotes have played with some of the dogs who came to the parks for their walks — this was an occasional but recurring phenomenon. Unfortunately, this was publicized in one of our newspapers several years ago, so that people got the idea — maybe bad idea — that it would be fun if their dog played with a coyote. Some people even like to brag about this. With these two particular coyotes, I don’t think it did any harm, but it could have.

A number of coyotes have been known to follow early morning dog walkers, at a comfortable distance, probably out of curiosity or for entertainment. Fortunately most walkers have been amused, or even thrilled, if also curious themselves about this little animal’s behavior patterns. The coyote of course is curious about the dog following the human, not the human. And more rarely, some of the coyotes can get quite enthusiastic, bouncing back and forth with excitement trying to engage the dog’s attention.  Maybe they want to play, as they have seen other dogs do, but their instincts are not allowing them to fully follow through. Or maybe they are messaging the dog to move on. The important thing to remember is that the coyote in such a situation is unlikely to be “stalking” you.

One of the coyotes I’ve seen likes to observe walkers and their dogs from a chosen lookout — this for up to four hours at a time! This particular coyote is very peaceful, like the little bull Ferdinand in the children’s book who liked to sit and smell the flowers. BUT, when chased, she will stand up for herself, or she may start a distressed barking session.

The observing and following are very normal, characteristic behaviors of coyotes. If you are bothered by these, especially if you have a small dog or a child you might feel protective of, pick it up and call it a day, or pick another park or time period for your walks — as if you had met a skunk on the trail that wouldn’t move.

It is important for everyone to know that coyotes do not want to be chased. Please don’t let your dog chase the coyotes. Since we can prevent the chasing by simply leashing, we shouldn’t make them communicate their need to be left alone in the only way they can.  An ounce of prevention involves simply leashing in the parts of a park where coyotes are most frequently seen.

The warning behaviors coyotes use to move a dog away from themselves, once they have been chased, especially when their pups are around, are a short charge-and-retreat sequence, a barking episode, and/or ultimately a nipping at the haunches of a dog to move them on, much in the same way that a cattle-dog accomplishes its herding. Sometimes two coyotes will work as a team, and at this point a dog will almost always feel overwhelmed.  Coyotes are extremely intelligent. They are trying to let you and the dog know, as best they can, that you have crossed its line. Listen to the communication and acquiesce — as you would to a skunk blocking your path.

Some of us humans have our own fears regarding coyotes: we may wonder what  the coyote might be doing when he’s following us or bouncing in front of us without backing up, or barking distressingly — these behaviors seem always to be in response to dogs. Are we in danger? Statistically, no. But this doesn’t mean you should not take precautions: you need to know about coyote behavior and to remove yourself from a situation you might not like and you need to know how to dissuade a coyote from coming any closer: make yourself look “big” with arm-flailing, never turn your back, make loud noises, such as sharp slapping sounds with your hands, get your dog and leave.

My aim is to preserve our relationship with our coyotes and to build trust in the few walkers who really might be fearful of coyotes. Coyotes are here to stay. It is illegal to get rid of them. They are generally not a threat until they themselves are threatened. If you make a coyote defend itself against your dog, the coyote might end up being put down, which not only will create a huge public uproar as it has in the past, but then another coyote will come to take its place. Why not start out right to create a relationship and coexistence that will work by actively keeping them distant from all human and dog interaction/interference.

Coyotes have a natural wariness of humans built into them, so will keep their distance. However, dogs are seen as a territorial threat and as a threat to their food source. Coyotes have territories because they need a set area that they can count on for their food and water, or an area they feel is safe for raising pups. Knowing this psychology might aid us in giving-in a little — giving them the space they need.

Coyotes have ventured closer to where people are when they know food is around. Making sure we securely dispose of our leftovers, say, after a picnic, will remove the invitation to come into the more populated park areas. We are lucky to have wild animals return to this area. The San Francisco Bay Area has become a nature-lover’s paradise: let’s celebrate our urban wildness. This area has the best of many worlds.

By respecting the coyote, his wildness and his space, you have what you need to coexist. Specifically, please don’t feed wild animals and please don’t let dogs chase them and please keep your distance. And if you are fearful of coyotes, instead of walking during twilight hours in a known coyote area, you could easily change your route or hours of walking. Please see what I wrote about keeping our coyotes safe and wild.



2 thoughts on “Dealing with coyotes…

  1. A reply I received:
    Hi Douglas,

    Thanks for your interest! You are welcome to reference information you use, but do keep in mind, we try to remain neutral in regards to our research so please use the information as it is written.

    Thanks! Sorry for the delay in response.

    Cook County Coyote Research Team
    Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation
    Dundee, IL


  2. Another reply from David Seerveld :

    That sounds okay to me. You wrote to two of my websites:

    You can reference both of them if you wish.

    Good morning! Yes, I came across both your sites and thought both would serve this purpose perfectly, and I thank you for the permission to use them both! I live in Rockford Illinois and there has been a lot of talk and worry about a growing concern with a growing coyote population, so I’ve been trying to put together positive info to advocate for coyotes. I am worried that eventually they will organize some sort of a mass hunt/kill within this area and I want to be prepared to fight it if it comes to that! I plan on doing some communicating with the IDNR and as well. But again, thank you for allowing me to refer to your work, if not for people like yourself, people like myself wouldn’t be able to take a stand for our wildlife!

    Douglas Lopes

    Cool. It is clear that coyotes have become urbanized, just like squirrels or raccoons. We will definitely have to live in harmony with them, because they’re not going away. Can you show me the blog post when it is complete?

    Absolutely! I have a blog and a blog and will gladly share with you!

    Hello David, I have finished the 2 posts and have included them within this email – hopefully you will be pleased with the article (it’s exactly the same on both blogs) but if you are not, PLEASE let me know asap so I can either correct or remove the post! I appreciate and thank you greatly for the work you have done and for granting me permission to share it!



    Very comprehensive! Best of luck with protecting coyotes. They are good animals.


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