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Living with Coyotes

Incredibly beneficial to the natural ecosystem, coyotes are a keystone species and help to keep rodent populations under control. They are often referred to as “nature’s clean-up crew.” Coyotes are devoted parents and diligent protectors of their offspring. Coyotes mate for life and have significant family bonds. While coyotes normally avoid us, intentional or unintentional feeding may change a coyote’s proximity tolerance to people, resulting in them approaching people or yards.


Coyote sightings are not uncommon in the Prescott and Russell Region. By applying common sense, preventative techniques and by being aware of the diversity of wildlife that we share our living spaces with, we can minimize human and wildlife conflict.

bird feeder
When coyote sightings increase, many times these sightings are due to humans intentionally or unintentionally providing a food source. An over flowing bird feeder, mishandling of compost, and fallen fruit attract a diverse range of prey species such as rodents, squirrels, chipmunks, insects which coyotes will utilize as food. Also, always be prepared and aware of your surroundings when enjoying the outdoors. Be a good visitor "leave no trace". Carry out leftover food, garbage and dog feces.

What can I do about a coyote that frequently visits my backyard?

  • Report coyote sightings.
  • Check your property for wildlife attractants.
  • Report any known feeding of coyotes to the By-Law officers.

Human indifference is not an appropriate response to a coyote getting comfortable around areas that people frequent. Never allow a coyote to linger or bed down near your home or business.

What do I do in a Coyote Encounter?

  • Pick up small children and pets.
  • Never run from or turn your back on a coyote/domestic dog.
  • Wave your arms above your head.
  • Be BIG and LOUD! Yell "Go away!".
  • Slowly back away.

Basic Aversion Conditioning Techniques

Stand tall, make yourself big, wave your arms and shout (don’t scream) while stepping in the direction of the coyote until he or she runs away

Use a noisemaker, such as:

  • Your voice
  • An air horn or whistle.
  • Pots and pans banged together.
  • A shake can (such as a pop can filled with coins or pebbles).
  • Snapping a large plastic garbage bag.
  • Jingling keys, or an umbrella popping open and closed.

Use a projectile (toward, not AT the coyote), such as:

  • Sticks.
  • Clumps of dirt.
  • Small rocks, or
  • A tennis ball.

During warm months, use liquids, such as:

  • A garden hose.
  • A water gun, or
  • Water balloons.

Note: a coyote that has never been exposed to aversion conditioning techniques before may not leave immediately. You may need to use more than one of the above-mentioned deterrents. If the coyote runs a short distance, stops, and turns to look at you, continue your aversion conditioning actions until the coyote has left the area.

Tips for Keeping Family Pets Safe

  • Get to know the wildlife in areas where you walk your family pets. There may be fascinating species in your neighbourhood that you aren’t even aware of!
  • Always obey signage regarding nature and the bylaws or ordinances that apply to the wild spaces you visit.
  • Keep a safe and respectful distance if you see a coyote, fox, or wolf.
  • Never feed wildlife. This includes indirect feeding, such as leaving food waste in wild spaces. Wildlife feeding disrupts natural foraging behaviours and encourages an unnatural proximity tolerance to people.
  • If a coyote is in the area and a dog is off-leash, immediately leash up. Keep your dog close. Small dogs can be lifted and carried for safety.
  • Never run from any canid (wild or domestic). Leave the area slowly, keeping your dog close to you.

Main source of information:

Coyote Watch Canada:

Wildlife Hotline: 905 931-2610


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