As fall and winter approach, people are seeing more and more coyotes prowling suburban, and sometimes even city, neighborhoods. These animals are one of the most adaptable in the US and they are predators. The advice given here is meant for adults!
The Coyote in the photo above, very blurry photo!, was spotted prowling a Reno business looking for an easy meal.
As people encroach into traditional habitats, more and more encounters with predators are the logical result and everyone should be well aware of it. A major problem that actually encourages predators such as the coyote to become bold around humans is a lack of adverse interactions. Most people enjoy watching wildlife of all kinds and simply don’t react in a way that the coyote sees as a threat. Also, people love to keep pets such as cats and small dogs that they coyote can see might be an easy meal. Combine those two things and we now have predators with little fear of humans coming more boldly into back yards in search of prey. If you live in coyote country, and most suburban areas are just that, you must keep this in mind.
Though I do not advocate any kind of eradication efforts, I do think that we can do more to instill a natural fear into the coyote population. We need to be active in this effort. One of the methods I feel may be beneficial to both humans and coyotes is the use of non-lethal weapons. When a coyote is in near proximity to human habitation, it would not be cruel or harmful for someone to hit it with a few shots from a paintball gun. Yes it would cause the coyote some short term pain but it would also associate humans with danger and be less bold in the future. Other things such as “bean bag” rounds from a shotgun or the use of live traps would help.
For people who feel that deadly means should be used, that would certainly eliminate the current crop of coyote from the neighborhood but it presents other dangers. Firearm use could endanger people from stray shots and poisons are not at all selective. I think it is much better to use non-lethal force in suburbia thus instilling a fear of humans in general.
The headline mentioned small children as being at risk. It is rare but coyote have been known to attempt attacks on small kids. The near presence of adults does not always prevent those attacks because, again, coyotes have grown accustomed to humans. They have not been threatened by humans in the suburban areas and have little real fear of them.
If you see a coyote near your home, get the kids and pets inside! Once you have done that, throw rocks, bottles, or anything else you can at the coyote. Try your best to hit him! Hard! You will be doing your neighborhood and the coyote a favor if you are able to teach it that humans are dangerous. Never approach to closely though. If the coyote persists or doesn’t scare off, that is a major danger sign and you should call 911. It could be that the coyote is rabid if it either does not scare off or starts to approach you.
I have come across coyote in many different situations. In areas where coyote hunting is allowed, they ALWAYS ran as soon as they became aware of me. In areas where coyote are not hunted, such as suburban neighborhoods, they tend to be shy but curious.