What to Do about Coyotes
Hazing and securing food sources are more effective solutions to coyote problems than killing
Get tips for what to do if you see a coyote in your neighborhood or if your community is dealing with coyote problems.
If a coyote is in your neighborhood
If you spot a coyote in your neighborhood, relax: Most coyotes avoid people. “Seeing a coyote out during the day is not a cause for alarm, especially in the spring and summer when they’re looking for food for their pups,” says Lynsey White Dasher, HSUS director of humane wildlife conflict resolution.
If a coyote displays no fear of people, he’s probably been fed. You can reinstill his fear by raising your arms and yelling to drive him away. This is called hazing. Unlike trapping, which sometimes catches pets or other wildlife but rarely the coyotes who are causing problems, hazing works.
Coyotes may mistake small, unattended pets as prey or attack large dogs they view as threats to territory or dens. To keep your animals safe, take two simple steps:
1) Watch your pets. Keep cats indoors, and never leave small dogs outside unsupervised or let any dog out of your yard off leash.
2) Secure food sources. Store garbage in wildlife-proof containers and feed pets indoors.
Resources for Individuals
- What to Know If You See or Encounter a Coyote
- Why Is There a Coyote in My Yard? Food Lures and Other Answers
- Coyotes, Pets and Feral Cats
- Coyote Hazing: Guidelines for Discouraging Neighborhood Coyotes
- Why Killing Coyotes Doesn't Work
- Webinar: Coyotes in Your Neighborhood: Strategies for Addressing Common Concerns
- For D.C. area and South Florida residents: Humane Wildlife Services wildlife conflict resolution
Residents of Riverside, Illinois, started seeing coyotes around the village and soon some even lost pets.
There were calls to kill coyotes, and trappers contacted the village looking for business. But instead, in 2014 Riverside became the first community in the country to adopt an HSUS plan that uses nonlethal methods to keep communities safe: hazing bold coyotes and teaching residents to protect their pets and remove food sources.
This is more effective than trapping, which has to be repeated again and again, at great expense, and usually doesn’t catch the coyotes causing problems. The more coyotes are killed, the more they reproduce. Says White Dasher, “It doesn’t matter how many are trapped, there will always be coyotes in urban areas.”
In the first months after Riverside adopted the HSUS plan, coyote attacks on pets—and calls for coyotes to be trapped—stopped. They’re not likely to resume, White Dasher says. “Hazing changes coyote behavior and teaches them to avoid people and neighborhoods.”