coyote standingCoyotes generally avoid contact with humans. And New York officials are hoping to keep it that way.

Yesterday, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation released guidelines aimed at avoiding conflicts between coyotes and humans. With warmer weather, coyotes are setting up dens for their soon-to-arrive pups. Coyotes tend to be territorial around den sites during the spring through mid-summer, increasing the chance of conflicts with people and pets.

Officials say they are also concerned that as coyotes become comfortable in suburban and urban communities (read about the coyote recently seen on a New York City rooftop), the chance for conflicts with humans could increase dramatically if they begin associating humans with food from such things as garbage and pet food.

They ask that the public consider the following guidelines:

  • 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(s) 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, 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.
  • Regulated hunting and trapping increases the “fear” coyotes have towards people.
  • Fencing your yard may deter coyotes. The fence should be tight to the ground, preferably extending six inches below ground level, and taller than 4 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 NYSDEC 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.