WHAT DO COYOTES LOOK LIKE?
WHY DO I SEE COYOTES?
Coyotes have long been native to North America and are found all over the United States. They are typically secretive animals who generally avoid humans. Unfortunately, as their territory and home ranges are destroyed, the coyotes adapt to urban life where their territories once were and some can become habituated to humans (these are nuisance coyotes). The best methods of preventing a coyote encounter is to ensure resources are removed from the environment. These resources include food, shelter, and free roaming / outside pets. HSUS suggests some general rules:
1. Avoid feeding pets outside. If you must, feed them only once per day and remove the food bowl as soon as your pet has finished it’s meal.
2. If you compost, use enclosed bins and never compost meat or fish scraps.
3. Clean up spilled bird seed around feeders.
4. Remove fallen fruit from the ground.
5. Keep trash in high-quality containers with tight-fitting lids and place the cans curbside the more OF collection (instead of the night before).
6. Be cautious and observant if you are walking your dogs in parks and wooded areas (especially in the spring when they are giving birth and raising litters). Fights between dogs and coyotes rarely occur, but when they do, it is most often because the pet is off leash.
7. Free-roaming and outside pets (especially cats and smaller dogs) can attract coyotes into the neighborhood. The best way to minimize risk to pets is never to leave them outside unattended, or allow them to go off leash.
8. Feral Cat Colonies – feed the cats only once per day at a set time and pick up leftovers immediately. Elevate feeding stations and give cats escape routes (tall posts, trees, roof, etc).
If the resources are taken away, the coyotes will not have the luxury of an easy "buffet" and will move on. Coyotes are opportunistic feeders who look for the "easy" meal and are usually scavengers eating remains, small rodents, fruit, deer, and rabbit.
WHAT SHOULD I DO WHEN I SEE A COYOTE?
The best method, the proven method to reduce nuisance coyotes is to haze them. They have become nuisance animals because they have become habituated and unafraid of humans. Hazing them properly reinforces the fear of humans, which will keep a coyote minding its own business and not yours.
Weatherford is not unique by having coyotes, it is a nation-wide issue where cities such as Dallas, Fort Worth, and even Chicago are learning how best to coexist and control the urban coyote populations.
If you encounter a coyote try the following hazing methods:
1. Yell and wave your arms while approaching the coyote.
2. Use noisemakers (your voice, whistles, air horns, bells, etc.)
3. Use projectiles (sticks, small rocks, cans, balls)
4. Try other repellents (water hose, water gun with vinegar water, walking sticks, pepper/bear spray)
Hazing is a method that uses deterrents to move an animal out of an area or discourages an undesirable behavior or activity. Hazing can help maintain coyotes’ fear of humans and deter them from neighborhood spaces such as backyards, streets and parks.
1. NEVER RUN FROM A COYOTE. This can activate a prey drive and encourage the coyote to chase and “catch” you.
2. If the coyote doesn’t leave at first, continue approaching him and/or increase the intensity of your hazing until he runs away. If he runs a short distance away and stops to look at you, continue hazing until he leaves the area completely.
3. If a coyote returns after you’ve successfully hazed him or her, continue to haze the coyote as you did before. It typically takes only one or two times to haze a coyote away for good.
4. Contact the authorities and DO NOT INTERACT with a coyote whom you suspect of being sick or injured.
5. This has to be a community wide effort and is most effective when hazed by a variety of people using a variety of hazing methods.
6. The coyote must be able to recognize the threat is coming from you, a person. Do not hide from the coyote, let them know YOU are the threat to them.