Encounters With

Remember that every coyote has their own unique personality, just like us. Some of them are very shy, some very curious, some bold, some reclusive, some engaging.

Also remember that a coyote that was born in April will look like a mature adult coyote in November ~ but they are still learning about their world which is new to them, and they are not mature. By this time of the year, pups that were born in the spring will spend time in their parents’ territory independently, or one that is quite the adventurer will disperse from the parent’s territory.

So if you are walking in a natural area and a coyote approaches you, know that he or she may be a very curious inexperienced coyote who is wondering who you are, or he or she may also be a more curious or bold coyote. In either case, allow them their safe space, and DO NOT RUN AWAY from them. If you are frightened, throw your hands up in the air to make yourself look big and yell out loudly. Healthy wild coyotes by this time have turned on their heels and are gone. If not, you can throw sticks in their direction to send them off.

Just to be safe, if you have a small child or a tiny dog with you in this situation, pick them up.

Coyotes are very intelligent wild canines, and in their encounters with us, they will often try to “read” us. So learning to interpret coyote behavior is like our attempt to “read” them as well. But if we misinterpret coyote behavior, we can send them mixed messages about our intentions, and engender fears within ourselves that take away from the encounter. And doesn’t this sound familiar …because we do these same things with our fellow humans.

Because a coyote approaches you, this does NOT mean that they have Rabies. If you have knowledge about this, you can protect yourself from all the “fear media” that is out there. Research has shown that coyotes have the lowest level of rabies of any land mammal in North America: .01 of 1%.

Photo: Andy Marks

Another misconception that many people have is this: If a coyote is seen during the day, there is something wrong with them. Remember that this is a FALLACY. Coyotes have eyes like ours ~ made to see during the day. The reason we will not see them often during the day is because they have been so persecuted on our continent, that they hunt at dusk and early morning to protect themselves from us. You may tend to see them more during the day from April to August because they have to hunt much more in order to feed their pups. On farms where coyotes feel safe, they will often mouse during the day after the farmer has mowed his field.

Remember, that coyotes are intelligent, powerful carnivores, and Nature has given them all they need to do their work in an ecosystem. Understanding the Balance between our inextricable bond with them, but also our separateness is the challenge of our generation.

So with the basic understanding of coexistence skills in hand, you can replace fear and intolerance with respect and understanding.  This new relationship can then enrich your life and that of your children.