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What to do when encountering coyotes??

2349 Views 86 Replies 25 Participants Last post by  Clipper's mom
I was deep into some gator conversation yesterday and bears and probably before that about cats. All that caught up with me and now I have a question about coyotes. Yes I know... always about the wildlife, why can't I just be normal? 😂🤦🏽‍♀️

We are living I would say in a nice suburban(?) area - family homes and apartments. Very quiet and residential. People are great with their dogs - we haven't had an issue. And we go out alot with Ramses since now we live in an apartment here. My husband's (Pierre-Emmanuel aka PE) colleagues told him there could be coyotes in our area. Rare but possible is what they said. But we both hadn't seen any so far. Today Ramses went out with PE and they saw a coyote. Which to be honest, in the beginning he wasn't sure if it was or not. PE decided to ask an elderly lady walking past if it was one. And she said yes it was indeed a coyote... And his follow up question was are they dangerous? She said she didn't know..

What are your thoughts on how to handle possible sightings of coyotes or what to do when they are near you? I can't really avoid this area because it's right near our apartment complex. It's where he goes to potty.. I have attached some pictures. Apologies in advance if this sounds like a silly question that you're all more experienced with. Thank you 😊

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That happens but I don't believe it is all that common. I think color variations would be observed much more often. Many avid coyote hunters and trappers around here and I don't recall ever hearing about them getting one that appeared to be half Labrador, Hound or whatever. Occasionally I hear about a wolf hybrid.
In Iowa and much of the Midwest coyotes that are tested often have some dog and wolf DNA in them.
It is exceedingly rare. I grew up being told that all the coyotes in Florida were coy dogs but they published a paper like last year or something show that of all the coyotes sampled,12 had dog DNA and this it was a very minor event. Something about the hybridization occurring a very long time ago. Another one stated that the lack of morphological distinction within the wild coyote population makes hybridization less likely
 

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It is exceedingly rare. I grew up being told that all the coyotes in Florida were coy dogs but they published a paper like last year or something show that of all the coyotes sampled,12 had dog DNA and this it was a very minor event. Something about the hybridization occurring a very long time ago. Another one stated that the lack of morphological distinction within the wolf coyote population makes hybridization less likely
Back in the 80's when coyotes became common in Iowa they were all "coy-dogs", except none of them were.

Simply put, wolves, coyotes and dogs are fighters far more often than they are lovers.
 

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We have a pack living near us. There is a large field next to a horse paddock and barn that I see from my window and last spring we saw 2 pups and a couple of adults. They are beautiful animals. In November I saw 5 coyotes cross the road in the suburban neighborhood where my partner and I were walking Brady, our Golden. Then last week I saw one on our walk at dusk, and then two more on our late night walk. In each case the coyotes were at least 400 feet away but it still was unnerving. A couple of days ago my partner was walking Brady on our property off leash when a coyote walked down the middle of the street right by our driveway. Brady took off up the driveway after it and then started to chase the coyote who ran away down the street with my partner running after shouting his name trying to get him to stop. After running a few hundred feet after the coyote Brady finally stopped. My partner got him on the leash again and not will not walk Brady on our property at night off leash anymore. Brady loves all people and 99 percent of dogs. The exception are other large males. There are 2 dogs in the neighborhood that he will growl and bark, but all others he likes. Brady is tall and lean and weighs 90 pounds and very fast and agile for his age, but I’m afraid he’s no match for a young, wild coyote, much less a pack of them.
 

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That happens but I don't believe it is all that common. I think color variations would be observed much more often. Many avid coyote hunters and trappers around here and I don't recall ever hearing about them getting one that appeared to be half Labrador, Hound or whatever. Occasionally I hear about a wolf hybrid.
In Iowa and much of the Midwest coyotes that are tested often have some dog and wolf DNA in them.
I'm in a rural area in the Midwest. We have coy-dogs.
 

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I'm in a rural area in the Midwest. We have coy-dogs.
Not saying you don't, they do exist, but how do you know you have them?
I have seen many coyotes, shot quite a few and know people that shoot or trap many more, literally thousands.
I have never heard anyone claim to shoot a 50/50 coyote/dog or any coyote that appeared to be mixed with a dog at all.
On very rare occasions a wolf/coyote hybrid will be killed, and confirmed with DNA testing.
 

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They are significantly larger, and have a different temperament. None of the farmers neuter their dogs, which is the cause of the problem.
A small pack killed one of the farmers' German Shepherd dogs.
 
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We have plenty of coyote near us, and a couple people in our neighborhood have lost small dogs to them (fences aren't generally allowed in our neighborhood, but that's a whole 'nother story). The coyote are most frequently seen at dawn and dusk, but also not uncommon just to see one strolling through the backyard during the day. The ones around here have gotten pretty bold, and don't scare away that easily. I live in suburban Chicagoland, close to large stretches of forest preserve. I've not encountered one during a walk, but a heeling stick sounds like a good idea, particularly when we go near the preserves.
 

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They are significantly larger, and have a different temperament.
That doesn't mean they are coy-dogs. We have large coyotes in IA/WI/MN and they can be very aggressive. Packs of them kill calves, full grown deer, dogs...........
I watched a pack run down and kill a deer once, it was National Geographic Cool.
 

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Unfortunately, a lot of what people think are coyotes are actually "coy-dogs" where intact male dogs have bred with coyotes. This is unfortunate because they tend to be much larger than true wild coyotes, and significantly less fearful.
Before the advent of genetic testing, it was believed that coy-dogs were not uncommon. More recently, DNA testing indicates that coy-dogs in the wild are extremely rare to virtually non-existent.

Coyotes have a size gradient across North America. Western coyotes typically weigh less than 35 lbs. (Yes, they look much bigger. It's the long legs and hair.) They increase in size going east. They may weigh 50 or 60 lbs in the NE US. The driver of the increase in size is the enormous deer population in eastern NA. Wolves, the former major deer predator, were wiped out. Cougars are very rare. A 30-pound coyote can kill a fawn and maybe a very sick deer, but fawns are all born in a limited time period (i.e., the predators can't eat them all at once) and fawns grow fast. Wolves are better deer predators than coyotes because of their size and because they hunt in bigger and more organized packs. Coyotes often hunt alone or in mated pairs and sometimes in small family groups. When they are yipping at night, they sound like a pack of 100 coyotes, but big coyote packs are rare.

The dense population of deer is a food source waiting for a predator to adapt to take advantage of it. Eastern coyotes carry some wolf DNA, but it is not clear how much of their increase in size is caused by hybridization and how much was caused by ordinary natural selection on coyotes. The bigger coyotes would be more capable of taking advantage of all those deer running around everywhere. They would have more offspring, which would inherit their parents' larger size, etc. Classic evolution in action.

The very large deer population is almost certainly responsible for the rise and spread of Lyme disease. Unfortunately, it will take more than a few big coyotes to get the deer under control enough to break the tick life cycle. The bigger the coyote, the scarier they become to people and the more difficult it is for them to live under the radar.
 

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I live in San Francisco. There are no suburbs near me. There are currently an estimated 100 coyotes living in city limits (49 square miles, total). In recent years we have seen them on three separate occasions walking calmly down our street in broad daylight. On a fourth occasion one ate our cat. Hazing did NOT scare them away. Our neighbor caries a shillelagh when he walks his dog. We carry a child’s golf club. The coyotes aren’t rabid. They are well fed on small pets. One was recently shot by the city for threatening a toddler. They are especially dangerous (the coyotes, not the toddlers) during denning season when they need to feed their pups.

Once a year on our street may not sound like much, but they live year round in a park a mile from our house, and there are prominent signs warning park visitors about them. Urban wildlife is no joke. We’ve had raccoons and skunks manage to get into our house. Talk about getting a dog excited! Just walk softly and carry a big stick.
 

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That makes sense. I live right near a huge State Park, a State fish and Wildlife Area, and Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. The deer population is crazy.


Before the advent of genetic testing, it was believed that coy-dogs were not uncommon. More recently, DNA testing indicates that coy-dogs in the wild are extremely rare to virtually non-existent.

Coyotes have a size gradient across North America. Western coyotes typically weigh less than 35 lbs. (Yes, they look much bigger. It's the long legs and hair.) They increase in size going east. They may weigh 50 or 60 lbs in the NE US. The driver of the increase in size is the enormous deer population in eastern NA. Wolves, the former major deer predator, were wiped out. Cougars are very rare. A 30-pound coyote can kill a fawn and maybe a very sick deer, but fawns are all born in a limited time period (i.e., the predators can't eat them all at once) and fawns grow fast. Wolves are better deer predators than coyotes because of their size and because they hunt in bigger and more organized packs. Coyotes often hunt alone or in mated pairs and sometimes in small family groups. When they are yipping at night, they sound like a pack of 100 coyotes, but big coyote packs are rare.

The dense population of deer is a food source waiting for a predator to adapt to take advantage of it. Eastern coyotes carry some wolf DNA, but it is not clear how much of their increase in size is caused by hybridization and how much was caused by ordinary natural selection on coyotes. The bigger coyotes would be more capable of taking advantage of all those deer running around everywhere. They would have more offspring, which would inherit their parents' larger size, etc. Classic evolution in action.

The very large deer population is almost certainly responsible for the rise and spread of Lyme disease. Unfortunately, it will take more than a few big coyotes to get the deer under control enough to break the tick life cycle. The bigger the coyote, the scarier they become to people and the more difficult it is for them to live under the radar.
 

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Thanks to everyone. I am learning so much about life in other parts of the world. When we lived in rural France the only real danger came from a cornered wild boar or the laid back attitude of the hunting fraternity.Wolves have been reintroduced successfully so I suppose they may become a problem.

Now we live in the UK I cannot think of any wild animal that causes a concern. Yes, we have deer around with ticks. Not aggressive. Plenty of hares running around our fields. Am I fortunate to own a dog here or do I miss out on seeing more wildlife?
 

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This is Benji, the little rescue dog we had for about ten years. He was killed by an eagle.
This is one of his many raccoon kills. He cornered these three in a hole and held them there until I arrived and shot them.
Carnivore Dog breed Terrestrial animal Grass Snout

I put Benji in the garage one afternoon and went coyote hunting about 3/4 mile from my house.
Shortly after I left, my wife got home and Benji escaped the garage. It did not take him long to find me. I had just set up my electric call and was sitting about 75 yards away from it. Benji sat beside me but as soon as the dying rabbit squeal started playing he took off to investigate. Benji pretty much did what ever he wanted. He was barking at the call and jumping around for just a couple minutes before I noticed he wasn't alone. A coyote was already there and trying to play with him! Benji was not aware that he only weighed 9 pounds and was sure he could kill the coyote. I have no doubt that the coyote intended to eat Benji, they taunt dogs like that to lure them in. I had to wait for a clear shot with Benji safely out of the way. Finally the coyote sat down, Benji was a few feet away barking at it and I was able to shoot. Benji immediately went for the throat, as he did with everything I shot for him. I carried the coyote back to the atv about 100 yards away with Benji hanging off its throat. He really thought he was tough that day.
 

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I live in San Francisco. There are no suburbs near me. There are currently an estimated 100 coyotes living in city limits (49 square miles, total). In recent years we have seen them on three separate occasions walking calmly down our street in broad daylight. On a fourth occasion one ate our cat. Hazing did NOT scare them away. Our neighbor caries a shillelagh when he walks his dog. We carry a child’s golf club. The coyotes aren’t rabid. They are well fed on small pets. One was recently shot by the city for threatening a toddler. They are especially dangerous (the coyotes, not the toddlers) during denning season when they need to feed their pups.

Once a year on our street may not sound like much, but they live year round in a park a mile from our house, and there are prominent signs warning park visitors about them. Urban wildlife is no joke. We’ve had raccoons and skunks manage to get into our house. Talk about getting a dog excited! Just walk softly and carry a big stick.
Yes, a few thousand live in Chicago proper, from what I've read! I think we humans put out a lot of edible garbage. Plenty of rats and other critters are drawn to it. I have seen a coyote in my neighborhood standing on a street corner, happily licking out a container of sour cream like he didn't have a care in the world. And don't get me started on the skunks -- how awful to have one get into the house! And your poor cat - I'm sorry!
 

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I’ve seen a coyote once at Kiawah (yes, the island of the alligators 😅.) It looked like a large male and he was fast. Some teenagers were rustling around being lively in the woods and he came running out and crossed the street in broad daylight. I was walking my last Golden, Luke. The coyote looked at us, but kept running. Luke was around 72lbs and I didn’t think the coyote would approach. Kiawah has alligators, bobcat, deer, foxes, river otters, poisonous snakes, and coyotes (plus a host of birds.) They’ve really worked hard to keep the coyote population down. I assume that involves shooting them.

Apparently, they are where we go in the mountains also (Cashiers, NC.)

Here’s a kinder gentler take on them (to be honest, most people in these parts say they shoot them. I’m sure the same goes on in the NC mountains.)

 

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Several years ago, we were losing our goat kids. We had maybe 10 of them that year and every single morning when I would go out to feed, one or two more would be dead, for like a week. What confused us is that they weren’t being eaten, just slaughtered. I thought it was a dog because no way coyotes just killed for fun right? We had 6 dogs on the property and I couldn’t figure out why none of them could chase this stray dog away at night.

Anyway, turns out it was a small group of coyotes. We lost all the goat kids that year, they never messed with the adults. Recently one of my former neighbors had the exact same issue. She was losing goat kids, but they weren’t being eaten, just mangled. Everyone told her there was no way it could be coyotes, they don’t kill for fun.

She hired a hunter and one night he sat out there a shot 8 coyotes in her pasture lurking around. Not huge ones, probably 40ish lbs.

But anyway, they’re adaptable for sure. Clever.
 

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I don't know about the foolish ones you saw - but city people like myself can be plenty foolish and act irrationally too
Oh, I am a total city girl, too, so this was in no way meant as an insult! But I was very surprised that people started to run - that to me is just an invitation for a wild animal to chase.

Also reminds me that I need to watch carefully because I could have definitely thought it was a dog. With the exception that most people here don't leave their dogs off leash at such great distances and disappear - so that would have been my only indicator...
If the guy on the zamboni had not been yelling, I totally would have thought it was a lost dog. There are no strays where I live either - if there is a dog alone, off leash, it is lost. And this animal did not look like the mangy, skinny coyotes I have seen photos of from our park. Well-fed (probably on the fat squirrels that rule that park) and yeah, just majestic, but also very much alone. And also given that it was mid-afternoon, I can't say for sure that I wouldn't have tried to look for a person it was supposed to be with or approach it to see if it had a collar. Lesson learned!
 
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I am learning so much here - I did not know about coydogs or coywolves. Sadly, my days of biology has now been limited to microorganisms in soils and permafrost 🤦🏽‍♀️ Maybe a little bit about polar bears, european bears, seals, whales... And puffins (this one more due to Ramses having an insatiable need to stalk and fetch️ them). I'm really appreciative that you all took the time to educate me on this issue besides just the safety aspect 🙂

I'm surprised coyotes are even spotted in cities like San Francisco or Chicago. That was something I didn't expect at all. I would say we live close to downtown Portland but this area is very residential (I think, maybe definitions differ?) - especially when I think of the number of playgrounds (?) around the apartments and family homes. I see kids and toddlers laughing and playing.. and then to think you can suddenly see a coyote walking around calmly...? 😬 I didn't anticipate that. I'll put that down more to my/our ignorance than anything else.

We have wolves and deer in the forest bordering our neighborhood back in Alsace.. The Rebberg (neighbourhood which we live in) is close by the city and close to the forest. There is still a lot of untamed green spaces - within the Rebberg area because the city council and the inhabitants of the Rebberg want to keep them protected. I suppose when I think about it now, I would expect much more sightings of deer/wolves. We did go to the forest a lot with Ramses (off-leash) but we never encountered any wolves/deer/wildlife in general. We did not learn of too many wolf/deer sightings or situations where they come into homes. That's primarily due to all the homes being gated and fenced - and these fences and gates are at minimum 2m (6.5ft). Some of the older homes even have these high stone walls all around them. And it isn't against the wildlife - it was more against other people, privacy thieves and intruders 🤦🏽‍♀️So maybe I was lulled into a false perception.

It's true also as some of you pointed out that they have a role to play in the food chain. But it's also very upsetting to learn that they are just killing goat kids for a sport though. These are the nuanced aspects of coyotes I suppose...
 

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@diane0905 - do you live in a thrill seekers' paradise at Kiawah island?😂That area is just teeming with action!

Oh, I am a total city girl, too, so this was in no way meant as an insult! But I was very surprised that people started to run - that to me is just an invitation for a wild animal to chase.
Oh no not at all - I am not insulted or offended by your comment! 😅 I thought of my mother when I read your comment and her lamenting with regret several times that us city kids are so pampered and sheltered and don't know anything! 🤣 She wished she had raised us with much more worldly experiences and life skills.. Not that it was easy for her since we were pretty much hellions ourselves (and my dad always took it easy on us) 🙈

This is Benji, the little rescue dog we had for about ten years. He was killed by an eagle.
This is one of his many raccoon kills. Benji pretty much did what ever he wanted.
Benji rules! 😆Benji reminds me of myself as a kid (when I didn't have any fear and responsibilities). I terrorized my poor mother several times with injuries like bloodied, broken noses (3x, it is wonderfully crooked now 🤣) and swollen bumps, bruises to my face and head. This was due to playing lacrosse for school competitively and I was not very tall compared to some others. Felt like I had a lot to prove.. Except she didn't let me do whatever I wanted (after my third broken nose, she banned me from playing lacrosse for school 🤣 and if I didn't quit and played behind her back she was going to put me in a hostel) and I can't believe you let Benji do pretty much whatever he wanted! 😂

But reading numerous times about a coyote playing with a dog to lure them is making me take it seriously. I think can't trust Ramses- he is literally the walking definition of curiosity kills the golden retriever! He listens and stays close to us. But I told him not to pick up the injured puffin back last summer (although very noble and well intentioned) and he disobeyed me twice. My golden retriever for all the good reasons (and maybe bad?) has never been aggressive. If a little chihuahua barks at him aggressively from a distance, he will respond in whines. I don't think this will go well with a coyote...



Coyote spotted in an area like this - it's residential.. Is this considered suburbs? I ask because the French definition is something entirely different....

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