As coyote sightings are likely to increase in the coming months, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has put together useful information to help prevent negative encounters with the animals.
Coyotes inhabit a variety of habitats throughout the state, from rural farmland and forests to populated suburban and urban areas. For the most part, they will avoid human contact - but conflicts with people and pets may occur, particularly during the spring denning and pupping period as coyotes then tend to be more territorial and protective.
If the animals learn to associate garbage or pet food with people, they may lose their natural fear of humans, which could increase the potential for close encounters or conflicts.
To reduce or prevent conflicts with coyotes, New Yorkers are encouraged to take the following steps:
· Never feed coyotes.
· Do not leave food outside. Pet food and garbage attract coyotes and other wildlife and increase risks to people and pets. DEC encourages people to feed pets indoors, fence or enclose compost piles, prevent access to garbage, and eliminate availability of bird seed (as concentrations of birds and rodents that come to feeders can attract coyotes).
· Do not allow coyotes to approach people or pets. If you see a coyote, be aggressive in behavior, stand tall and hold arms up or out to look as large as possible. If a coyote lingers for too long, make loud noises, wave arms and throw sticks and stones.
· Teach children to appreciate coyotes from a distance.
· Do not allow pets to run free. Supervise outdoor pets to keep them safe from coyotes and other wildlife, especially at sunset and at night. Small dogs and cats are especially vulnerable.
· Fence yards to 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 homes to reduce protective cover for coyotes as they are typically secretive and like areas where they can hide.
· Ask neighbors to follow these steps to prevent coyote conflicts.
In spring, coyotes tend to be more active and may be more visible. Just seeing a coyote occasionally is generally not a cause for concern, but if they exhibit bold behaviors and have little or no fear of people, or if they are seen repeatedly during the daytime near homes, contact your Regional DEC Wildlife Office at 845-256-3098 for assistance. In emergency situations, contact your local police department.
For more information about Eastern coyotes, log onto https://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/9359.html.