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March 23, 2011

Techniques for Resolving Coyote Conflicts

The solution calls for changing how humans and coyotes interact

Adapted from the book Wild Neighbors

  • Urban coyotes teach their pups how to live in a human-dominated habitat. Hazing reinforces the natural fear of people in coyotes and their pups. William Weaver Photography

A two-part program that combines education and hazing is emerging as the most humane way to resolve conflicts with coyotes. Communities such as Denver, Colorado, have achieved great success in reducing coyote conflicts with these methods.

Education

Most coyote problems are caused by people feeding coyotes, either intentionally or unintentionally. Although no-feeding ordinances and fines can help draw attention to the issue, they are rarely effective deterrents. It is far better to help residents see how their role in feeding coyotes creates the problem. Public awareness campaigns in communities are important for:

  • Teaching residents how food attracts coyotes to their neighborhoods and how to remove attractants such as pet food, unsecured garbage, fallen fruit, and improperly contained compost piles. 
  • Focusing on how free-roaming pets attract coyotes to neighborhoods. Residents need to learn the importance of keeping cats indoors and not leaving dogs outside unattended. Leash laws must be enforced in open spaces and natural areas.

Hazing

When coyotes do not run away when approached or charged by a human, they are probably “habituated” to people. Habituated coyotes may even approach people, looking for food handouts.  

  • Hazing is an activity or series of activities conducted to reinstill the natural fear of humans back into coyotes. It is often as simple as making yourself loud (by yelling or using homemade noisemakers) and large (by standing tall and waving your arms).
  • Communities including Denver, Vancouver, and Los Angeles have successfully used hazing to reverse undesirable behavior in their coyote populations.

Resources

» Preventing Coyote Conflicts Fact Sheet
» 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.
» Visit Project Coyote: promoting an educated coexistence between people and coyotes.

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