When you hike or enjoy being outdoors among nature, you’re bound to encounter wildlife and isn’t that the best part? The wonders of nature always amaze me. There’s always a rustling of leaves and perhaps a glimpse of an animal amid the different foliage.
Though most animals are timid by nature, they tend to flee when they see humans. Still, some animals should give us pause for concern. They are capable of harming or even killing us. It is rare for these types of incidents to occur, but if you’re like me, you’d like to avoid being the textbook example on an episode of “When Animals Attack.
Hikers are also concerned about coyotes aside from bears. Those old cartoons showed Wile E. Coyote not looking for humans to bag. Instead, he chased the roadrunner. Although you won’t see coyotes carrying an arsenal of Acme products, they still have the potential to be dangerous.
Coyotes tend to stay away from people in most cases. However, they look cute, and you might mistake them for a dog if you didn’t know better. Please do not approach any coyotes!
In addition to not feeding the coyote, you should not approach the animal. Do not run away! They will likely chase you if you run, just like dogs do. If there are a group of them, or if you find yourself surrounded, make a lot of noise. That usually keeps them away.
Please don’t be scared. There have been only two reported fatalities caused by coyotes in North America. A tragic death of Taylor Mitchell, a young singer with a bright future ahead of her, sent park rangers across the continent into a frenzy to prevent it from becoming a more common occurrence.
A fatal attack in Nova Scotia, where the animal was killed, was due to its larger size than the coyotes found in western North America. They are larger due to their interbreeding with wolves. The cartoon character’s name always implied that coyotes were very wily no matter how big they were. Coyotes are experimental creatures, and although it was always with humor, hikers, campers, rock climbers, or those who enjoy the outdoors should know this. The coyote will experiment with things, and if it has success with those experiments, it will pass that behavior on to its young.
Coyotes are becoming craftier and craftier with each new generation. It makes sense that if we are going to be outdoors in their territory, we should be just as crafty if not more so. To keep yourself safe from coyotes in your yard or in the wild, read on to learn how to deal with one or more of these cunning opportunists with fur.
How to handle a coyote encounter
When you run into an animal that could potentially harm you or your hiking companions, it can be frightening. You can’t hide your head in the sand and hope that you won’t see a coyote. There are reports of them in places like Florida now, so they’re extremely adaptable, and they’re here to stay. You’ll see it most of the time and that’ll be the end of it. The following steps should be taken in every instance where you run into a coyote.
When coyotes are simply passing by, there is nothing to worry about
During their mating season, which runs from January through March, you’re more likely to see coyotes while hiking. You will also see them when the young ones leave the pack in September and November.
Sometimes, they’ll cross a path. There is a possibility of seeing them in residential areas, especially if you live near an open space that has been used by coyotes for hunting. Be mindful of your pets and children, wherever you may be, as coyotes can be cunning in this way. You should also make sure any food you have doesn’t attract them.
The majority of the time, coyotes will dash past and act normally. Keep an eye on them so you won’t be caught off guard in case they don’t keep going their own way.
If you see a coyote approaching or lingering in your yard, start “hazing” them
Coyotes might be opportunistic creatures, but they’re also timid. When they see a person, they usually run away. When they stick around or even approach, you’ll have to engage in what’s called “hazing.” This refers to actions you can take to scare the coyote away. The reason people join fraternities is that this is something that encourages them to join, but humans are certainly an odd breed.
However, here are some steps you should take:
- Make a big noise! Show your dominance like you would with bears. Stand tall, raise your arms and clap your hands, then shout loudly and authoritatively.
- When you’re camping, take your pots and pans and bang the dickens out of them. It is also possible to use an air horn (Amazon link), because bears can be scared off by them while on outdoor excursions.
- Use a small item. It will work with sticks, stones, or even balls that you have around you. Coyotes and any other animal are not to be harmed, so don’t throw it directly at them, but throw it near enough to scare them.
- Try making a ‘coyote shaker’ with your kids before heading out on a hike or camping trip and put pebbles or pennies in an empty soda can. Tape it shut and shake it along the trail. Everything will probably flee.
It should be noted that hazing might not always be effective. It is possible that any food attractants you have will prove too alluring for a hungry pack of coyotes. Remove them from your campsite or home area to prevent coyotes from returning.
When you see a coyote with pups though, you should never try these hazing techniques. Coyotes that appear injured or sick should be reported to the proper authorities.
Coyotes that refuse to respond to “hazing” should be contacted by animal control
Well, let’s imagine you tried ALL of the above but the coyote gave you a look that said, “Puh-leaze you puny human.” I’m bored and I want to humiliate you by biting into your flesh.” Do you:
- Flail your arms while running, crying, and screaming
The question was a trick. None of those things apply to you. In spite of our hazing techniques, some coyotes may still stand their ground and stare you down. It may even run a bit before stopping. The coyote should keep hazing you until it realizes you’re more trouble than you’re worth and backs off. If there are several coyotes present, the lead one will give up first, followed by the others.
There are times when the coyote will not give up despite your efforts. There aren’t too many instances of this, but it usually occurs when someone leaves food for the coyotes nearby. It is important to contact animal control to let them know that there are coyotes that aren’t running away from a particular area despite being hazed.
You could use a noisemaker, pepper spray, or a squirt gun if the coyote approaches
Imagine you’re out on a trail far from the real world when this happens. When you call animal control, should you attempt to haze the coyote while you wait? No, of course not! You’d be silly to do that.
A part of going on hikes, camping, and other secluded outdoor activities is being prepared, and one must always be prepared for wildlife encounters. Most of the time, you will not see anything threatening. Should that happen, you will be prepared.
Carry one or more of the following:
- Coyote shaker
- Small squirt gun
- Air horn
- Pepper spray
Keep your pets or children right there if you have them along. Keep them from running ahead of you or lagging behind. Those are the opportunities a coyote looks for. Even if they don’t bother you, they will attack a small dog or child.
When you encounter a coyote while hiking with your child, you should pick up your child and start the hazing process. You should very slowly back away while continuing to haze the coyote if it doesn’t go away. You should get inside if you can. If the behavior persists, report it. When coyotes are aggressive, it’s an indicator that they’re being fed and are becoming less apprehensive about humans, making them extremely dangerous.
The best way to avoid coyotes attack
It might not be possible to avoid seeing a coyote while hiking or outside. However, you can certainly avoid conflicts with one or more of them by doing all you can. Read on to find out how you can keep peace between our species.
Coyotes shouldn’t be fed
Why are there more coyotes now than ever before? A large part of the reason lies in the growth of our population. The growth of coyotes is also responsible for some of the increase. As a result, we’re all seeing more of each other since we accidentally made eating easier for them.
A number of residential neighborhoods are surrounded by woods and trails. There have been many reports of coyote sightings in these areas and people who do this inadvertently get the coyotes to stay, which can be very dangerous since the coyotes lose their fear of us. As a result, they might attack us, our pets, or our children.
It’s a bad idea to bait them in yards or parks. That will just encourage them to come around. If you see something like that near your home or at the entrance to the woods where you hike, call animal control to report it to ensure the safety of everyone. Without intentionally leaving food out for the coyotes, they like to eat our garbage or things we leave out for our outdoor pets to eat, such as cat food bowls or bird feeders. Although coyotes won’t bother us like raccoons, they’ll prowl for us.
You should pick up any fruit that falls from your trees, feed your pets inside, secure your garbage, cover your compost pile, and clean your BBQ grill if you live in one of these areas. You should also take down your bird feeder. Coyotes do not love birdseed, but squirrels do, and coyotes will certainly eat squirrels.
Avoid running away from coyotes
You might know that if you happen upon a coyote while hiking, you shouldn’t run. But what if you were already running or jogging? You might have been getting ready for a big hike next weekend and decided to try a new route. There is a coyote in your way.
Whenever this happens, stop. Continue in the direction you came from as you slowly leave the area. If you can help it, don’t act like a victim but instead show your force by shouting or throwing a rock near the coyote (but not at it). Most of the time, this will be enough to make it leave. However, there are times when it may appear that it is defending an area. When the pups are newly hatched around May, it’s very likely. You can avoid a conflict by taking a different route.
However, this does not mean the coyote no longer fears humans but is instead doing what it is naturally designed to do, which is to protect its young. Boost your safety by taking pepper spray and a noisemaker with you whenever you jog, run, hike, camp, or spend time outdoors. This will ensure your safety in case of an emergency.
– Mutual respect is essential
Animals are close to my heart because I love them so much. While some of them may hurt us, we go into their homes. Leaving things better than we found them is important. All outdoor enthusiasts must maintain respect for the land and its animals.
You and your pets and children will generally avoid coyotes if you do happen to see one and therefore it would be wise that you don’t disturb a coyote (or any other animal for that matter) that is minding its own business. When you see a coyote, if it keeps running away from you, there is no need to haze it.
You shouldn’t feed coyotes or get up close to them if they’re not antagonizing you. You will need to make sure that the coyote isn’t threatening you before you can take a photo. When you appear around a bend the coyote may be startled. Since it has a way to escape, it will probably do so if it does not feel cornered. Then you should strive to be louder and bigger than it. Should the worst happen, such as an animal attacking you, a friend, pet, or child, fight with all your anger.
When hiking, keep your dog on a leash
You shouldn’t let your pets run loose if there are coyotes nearby. It’s not a good idea to leave your pets unattended in the yard, even if it’s fenced in. Although an electric fence can keep your dog inside, it will not keep other animals out. Make sure your dog stays on a leash at all times while you are hiking or at a park. Coyotes become a prime target when your dog lacks one.
It is also possible for cats to cause problems. If you have cats that live outside or feral cat colonies, or if someone in your neighborhood does, the chances of coyotes visiting may be higher. For those who cannot keep their cats inside, bring the food inside so that coyotes will no longer be attracted to the area.
– Install repellents or fences in your yard
There are some things you can do to repel coyotes from your yard. You may want to consider motion-sensing lights or noise-making devices to keep them away. You shouldn’t fully rely on a fence to keep your dog safe alone in the backyard, but if you build a fence higher than 6 feet with a roll bar, it may deter them.
– Report coyotes when they exhibit aggressive behavior
A coyote that isn’t afraid of people or behaves aggressively needs to be reported right away. Calling animal control as soon as possible will help you protect yourself and others using the trails and living in your area. Personnel trained in animal control can handle animals like these and find a solution that keeps both people and animals safe.
Aggressive coyotes will act like dogs by barking without being provoked, snarling, growling, and then lunging. Even if a coyote stares at you, it is not aggressive, but if it doesn’t move off on its own or begins moving toward you, you should begin your hazing dance.
What is the frequency of coyote attacks on humans?
Thankfully, coyotes rarely attack humans. As with any animal attack, there will be a lot of news coverage simply because it’s an uncommon occurrence. The coyotes are small, so they rarely cause serious injury during attacks.
The attacks in California, however, are more frequent. According to the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife, there were 41 attacks between 1988 and 1997 and 48 attacks between 1998 and 2003, most in the suburban-wildland areas of Southern California.
There has been more reports of coyotes chasing people out for a jog or while riding a bike since they have lost their fear of humans along with humans feeding them. What’s worse, they are confronting dog walkers and threatening toddlers and young children. There is some evidence to suggest that this might not be the work of full-blooded coyotes, but rather hybrid species known as coywolves. It’s a problem when we can’t all get along.
All of this is not meant to scare you away from ever going outside again. You’re more likely to be killed by a rogue golf ball on the golf course, or even at the country club, than bitten by a coyote. You are statistically more likely to die from a champagne cork than a coyote.
What can be done to prevent coyote attacks? Be vigilant. By changing our behavior and doing what we can to prevent coyotes from settling in our yards and neighborhoods. Most of the coyote attacks recorded were caused by people feeding them. In other cases, it was the matter of rescuing a pet from a coyote attack. People are less likely to be bitten by cornered coyotes. They are less likely to bite you if they are rabid.
Even though the deaths caused by coyotes in North America are sad, they are rare. The serious response from rangers in the US and Canada has made it a mission to educate people about coyotes and how to keep them away from humans and in nature where they belong, minding their own business.
Coyotes generally stay out of each other’s business, though, and it’s our job to ensure that they do so. Consider these things if you’re still concerned about being bitten while hiking:
- In the United States, approximately 4.6 million dog bites occur each year
- . Twenty-five of these bites result in death
- In the US, 8 people are bitten by coyotes each year
- An attack by a coyote on a human has a 0.06 probability of being fatal
There are 500,000 times more chances of getting bitten by a dog than by a coyote.
If you live in Los Angeles, you might encounter coyotes more often. Cats and small dogs under 20lbs are also disappearing, but without hard evidence, it could be coyotes or a speeding bus that took Fluffy’s life.
There have also been sightings of coyotes in Florida and across the country. What are our thoughts on this invasion? Basically, we should avoid leaving anything behind that will attract them when living our lives. Most wild animals leave you alone when you don’t interfere, either by accident (like leaving out food dishes for your outdoor cats) or on purpose (throwing food at them).
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Will a pack of coyotes attack humans?
Humans are rarely attacked by them, so they aren’t typically considered dangerous. The coyotes will consider you prey if you run away from them. Occasionally they will circle an individual or a group.
Are packs of coyotes dangerous?
Humans are usually wary of coyotes, and it doesn’t take much to make them run. It’s important to note, however, that when coyotes band together, they can be quite dangerous, especially to children and pets.
What should you do if you see a pack of coyotes?
You should exercise caution if you see a coyote during the daytime, because the coyote may have become habituated to humans (and may be more likely to attack). You should yell, wave your arms, and/or throw something at the coyote if it approaches you (don’t run away).
What are coyotes afraid of?
In the beginning, coyotes are naturally wary of humans, but as they become familiar with humans, they become less fearful and more aggressive. To coyotes, pets like cats and dogs are tasty treats as well. You’ll be able to live with coyotes peacefully if you have less contact with them and if they are afraid of you.
How do you protect yourself from coyotes?
If you want to protect yourself from coyotes, check this video.