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March 16, 2011

Coyote Hazing: Guidelines for Discouraging Neighborhood Coyotes

How to effectively change coyote behavior

  • This coyote has lost his fear of humans. Hazing works to reinstill the natural fear of people back into habituated coyotes such as this one. Dawn Macheca.

Generally, coyotes are reclusive animals who avoid human contact. 

Coyotes who have adapted to urban and suburban environments, however, may realize there are few real threats and may approach people or feel safe visiting yards even when people are present.

These coyotes have become habituated (lost their fear of humans), probably owing to the bounty of food that they have become accustomed to feeding upon in your neighborhood. 

These bold coyotes should not be tolerated or enticed but instead given the clear message that they should not be so brazen.

Hazing
Methods of hazing
"Go away coyote!"
Dog-walking tools
In your yard
Important things to remember
Resources

Hazing

Hazing is a method that makes use of deterrents to move an animal out of an area or discourage an undesirable behavior or activity. Hazing can help maintain a coyote’s fear of humans and deter them from backyards and play spaces.

Methods of hazing

Using a variety of different hazing tools is critical so that coyotes don’t get used to redundant or single stimulus devices, sounds, and actions.

  • Yelling and waving your arms while approaching the coyote.
  • Noisemakers: Voice, whistles, air horns, bells, “shaker” cans full of marbles or pennies, pots, lids, or pie pans banged together.
  • Projectiles: sticks, small rocks, cans, tennis balls, rubber balls.
  • Other: hoses, water guns with vinegar water, spray bottles with vinegar water, pepper spray, bear repellent.

“Go away coyote!”

The simplest method of hazing a coyote involves being loud and large:

  • Stand tall, wave your arms, and yell at the coyote, approaching him if necessary, until he runs away as demonstrated in this coyote hazing video
  • If a coyote has not been hazed before, he may not immediately run away when you yell at him. If this happens, you may need to walk towards the coyote and increase the intensity of your hazing.
  • The coyote may run away, but then stop after a distance and look at you. It is important to continue to go after the coyote until he completely leaves the area.  You may need to use different tactics, such as noisemakers, stomping your feet, or spraying the coyote with a hose, to get him to leave.

Dog-walking tools

There are several tools that you can carry with you while walking your dog that can be used to repel coyotes.  These include:

  • Homemade noisemakers 
  • Whistle or small air horn (you can purchase small air horn “necklaces”)
  • Squirt guns
  • Pepper spray
  • Sticks or other objects to throw towards (but not at) the coyote

In your yard

Remember, keeping pets and pet food inside is the best way to keep coyotes out of your yard.  If you do encounter coyotes, all of the above methods can be used in your yard at home.  First, try the “Go away coyote!” method (yell and wave your arms as you approach the coyote).  Here are some additional methods you can also use:

  • Squirt the coyote with your garden hose
  • Spray the coyote with vinegar water
  • Bang pots and pans together.

Important things to remember

  • Never run away from a coyote!
  • The coyote may not leave at first, but if you approach him closer and/or increase the intensity of your hazing, he will run away.
  • If the coyote runs away a short distance and then stops and looks at you, continue hazing until he completely leaves the area.
  • After you have successfully hazed a coyote, he or she may return again. Continue to haze the coyote as you did before; it usually takes only one or two times to haze a coyote away for good.

Resources

» Learn more about hazing by watching this instructional video from the City of Aurora, CO’s Parks, Recreation, & Open Space Department.
» Coyote Hazing Guidelines
» Schedule a Coyote Hazing Training workshop in your community.
» Living with Wild Neighbors in Urban and Suburban Communities: A Guide for Local Leaders gives elected officials and other decision-makers the tools to implement long-lasting, nonlethal solutions to community wildlife conflicts.
» Read more about successful coyote hazing.

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