DEC issues advice to avoid coyote problems | Featured story

ALBANY — It’s a busy time of year for coyotes, and the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation is offering tips for avoiding problems with them.

“This is the time of year when New York’s resident coyotes breed and set up dens for the pups that will arrive in the spring,” Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a news release. “Although conflicts with people and pets are rare, New Yorkers should remain vigilant and follow common sense guidelines from the DEC to minimize the risk of potential conflicts with coyotes.”

Coyotes can be found throughout the state, from rural farmlands and forests to suburban and urban areas. They mostly avoid contact with people.

But conflicts with humans and pets can arise, as coyotes tend to be more territorial during breeding and calving seasons in the spring and summer. If coyotes learn to associate food sources such as garbage or pet food with humans, they may lose their natural fear of humans, increasing the potential for close encounters or conflict.

To reduce the likelihood of conflicts with coyotes, New Yorkers are encouraged to take the following steps:

not Do not leave food outside. Pet food and garbage attract coyotes and other wildlife and increase risk to people and pets.

not Do not feed pets outdoors.

not Prevent access to garbage.

not Fence or surround compost piles.

not Eliminate the availability of birdseed. Concentrations of birds and rodents that come to feeders can attract coyotes.

not Do not allow coyotes to approach people or pets.

If you see a coyote, be aggressive in your demeanor: stand up straight and stretch your arms up or out to look as tall as possible. If a coyote lingers too long, make loud noises, wave your arms, and throw sticks and rocks.

not Teach children to appreciate coyotes from a distance.

not Do not let pets run free.

Supervise pets outdoors to protect them from coyotes and other wildlife, especially at sunset and at night. Small dogs and cats are particularly vulnerable.

not Fence yards to deter coyotes.

The fence should be over 4 feet tall and tight to the ground, preferably extending six inches below ground level.

not Remove brush and tall grass around homes to reduce coyotes’ protective cover. Coyotes are generally secretive and like areas where they can hide.

not Ask your neighbors to follow these steps to avoid conflicts with coyotes.

During this time of year coyotes tend to be more active and can be more visible and just seeing a coyote once in a while is not cause for concern. However, if coyotes exhibit bold behaviors and are not fearful of people, or if they are seen repeatedly during the day near residences, the public is encouraged to contact the DEC regional wildlife office for guidance. ‘aid. In an emergency, contact the local police department.

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