Urban Coyote Management
Does Oakdale have a coyote problem?
Oakdale has a population and presence of home range coyotes which to date, have not created significant “problems.” Frequent sightings and questions about coyotes are common. Recent attention from the news media and reports of small animal/ pet attacks are on the rise in urban areas. Some reports concerning coyote sightings in Oakdale have focused additional scrutiny on the coyote topic.
Why are coyotes in the City?
Generally, coyotes are reclusive animals that tend to avoid human contact. When sufficiently acclimated to urban and suburban environments, coyotes, may recognize the absence of predators or other threats and may approach people, pets or residential locations with multiple people present.
These coyotes have become habituated (lost the fear of humans), likely due to the ready availability of food in our neighborhoods. Sometimes, this food is deliberately provided by people who like to watch wild animals or who harbor the belief that they are helping wildlife by supplying food. These bold coyotes must not be tolerated or enticed, but definitely given the message that they should stay away. “Hazing” coyotes has been a proven method to restore the natural fear of humans.
Coyote Hazing Methods
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 neighborhood spaces such as backyards and play spaces.
Methods of Hazing include using a variety of different tools and actions. Yelling at the Coyote and stomping your feet. Use of noisemakers: whistles, air horns, bells, soda cans filled with pennies, pots and pans banged together. Throw sticks, small rocks, tennis balls, rubber balls, or project water with a garden hose, use water guns with vinegar water, pepper spray, bear repellant, or walking sticks to modify the behavior of the coyote to move it out of the area. Never run from a coyote!
The coyote may not leave at first, but if you approach it closer and/or increase the intensity of your hazing, it will run away. If the coyote runs away a short distance and then stops and looks at you, continue hazing it until it completely leaves an 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. The more habituated the coyote the more behavior reshaping may be necessary. The hazed coyote will teach the pups and members in the family group areas to avoid in the future. Not reacting and doing nothing only further habituates the coyote to the area.
Coyotes are skittish by nature and as a rule do not act aggressively towards aggressive people. However, engaging animals that are sick or injured can result in unpredictable behavior. If you suspect that a coyote is sick, injured, or aggressive, contact the proper authorities and DO NOT interact with the coyote.
DO NOT haze a coyote which is cornered with no avenue of escape. DO NOT attempt to haze or approach a coyote which appears to be protecting its young.
There is a coyote in my yard - what should I do?
Coyotes should not be in your yard, these coyotes have become habituated. Haze the coyote, even if its just walking through your yard. Contact the police department for any type of wildlife or domestic animal which appears sick, injured or acts aggressively.
Quick Safety Tips
- Never approach or feed an animal they do not know
- Yell for an adult and do not run from a coyote
- Make yourself look big
- Retreat by backing away slowly
- Always attend a pet outdoors
- Keep pets inside at night
- Always use a short leash
- If you encounter a coyote while walking your pet, do not allow the coyote between you and the pet. Pick up and carry small pets
- Do not allow large dogs to play with coyotes
- Be extra vigilant with large dogs during mating season between January - March to avoid territory conflicts
- Secure outdoor trash receptacles with a tight fitting lid
- Do not leave pet food outdoors
- Clean and remove barbeque food scraps
- Clean up around bird feeders
- Remove fallen and rotten fruit from the ground