Coyote sightings are on the rise. Follow these tips to avoid pet conflicts.

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) says that coyotes are making their presence known in the metro areas of our state. That's because it's the mating season for these wild canines, which means they are going to be quite a bit more active, whether in the wilderness or living in the open spaces of cities. 

This also means that they are likely to be more aggressive and territorial, as they have their eyes on the goal and competition isn't tolerated.

That's not great news for dogs big and small, as coyotes could see them as a problem. Add that most any small pet could be prey for a coyote at any time, and it's extremely important to take the proper precautions for the sake of all animals involved, including the coyote. 

"[We receive] numerous calls about coyotes following people walking dogs. It is not uncommon for a coyote to trail a pet walker from a distance away until the dog has left the area that the coyote perceives as their territory. Dog walkers are encouraged to be aware of their surroundings, to keep pets on a leash and to haze any coyote that gets too close to them or their pet," says CPW.

The Urban Coyote Initiative suggest using a leash no more than six feet long, stick to open areas and avoid areas with thick brush and avoid walking your dog at sunrise or sunset.

"While there can be misunderstanding about what is happening during an encounter, what is readily apparent is that the best thing for humans, dogs, and coyotes living in the same area is to minimize the possibility of an encounter. Play your role in maintaining a coyote’s fear of humans, and by extension, maintaining distance from pets," the initiative suggests.

Courtesy of the National Park Service.

Courtesy of the National Park Service.

Here are the suggested tips from the CPW to help prevent conflicts between coyotes, pets, and people: 

Discouraging Coyotes Near Homes

  • Frighten coyotes with loud noises.
  • Remove all food attractants from yards such as pet food, table scraps on compost piles, fallen fruit, and bird feed.
  • Trim or remove vegetation and brush that provides cover for prey (such as mice and rabbits) and hiding cover for coyotes; trim lower limbs of shrubs and conifer trees.
  • Cover up or fill in any potential dens or tunnels under fences, porches, sheds or balconies.
  • Keep all trash out of reach of coyotes; place trash out only on the morning of pickup.

Protecting Pets

  • Keep pets in fenced areas or kennels to minimize encounters; many coyotes can scale a six-foot fence.
  • Attend your pets when they are in the yard, especially at night. 
  • Keep cats indoors. 
  • Pet kennels and runs should have a fully-enclosed roof. 
  • Keep pets on a leash when walking them in open space areas.
  • Do not allow pets to run loose in areas where there is coyote activity.
  • Keep pets vaccinated.

Protecting Yourself and Your Family

  • Although rare, coyotes have been known to injure people. Most of these incidents involved people feeding them. Teach your family about urban wildlife and never feed wildlife.
  • Coyotes are usually wary of humans and will avoid people whenever possible. If a coyote does approach you, haze it by making loud noises, yelling, throwing objects, or make yourself look big.
  • If a coyote is in your yard, haze it out of there.
  • Never feed or attempt to 'tame' a coyote  
  • Teach your children to be SMART if they have an encounter with a coyote or other predator:
    • Stop, do not run or turn your back to it.
    • Make yourself look bigger by lifting your arms or pulling your jacket over your head.
    • Announce your presence loudly and firmly such as “LEAVE ME ALONE!”
    • Retreat by backing away slowly.
    • Tell an adult of your encounter.

In addition, the CPW requests that any aggressive coyote behavior toward people be reported to local law enforcement or to the CPW office at 303-291-7227.

Colorado will be seeing a huge migration of bald eagles between now and March!