Coyotes, most active around dawn or dusk, can move around anytime there's an opportunity to gain food. While they are the number one predator of livestock in the country, they also will prey upon any vulnerable animal, including small dogs and cats. Landowners may control damage-causing coyotes by shooting, trapping, or other means. In areas where they are hunted or trapped, coyotes are extremely wary of humans, but they can be bold in urban areas where they associate people with food and water. In southern California between 1988 and 1997, there were 53 documented coyote attacks on humans, and 21 people were bitten. Most of these resulted in only minor injuries. However, several children have been more seriously bitten, and in 1981, coyotes attacked and killed a three-year-old girl in Glendale (Usa/California). Discourage coyotes from visiting your area by making loud noises, throwing rocks or other objects at them, or use guard animals. Follow the same close-encounter rules as a wolf - make your presence known, try to look larger, yell and throw sticks. If the animal attacks, fight back aggressively.
Keep garbage, human and pet food away from campsites and yards. Locate any food source, including bird feeders, 100 yards away from living areas, 10 to 15 feet above the ground, four feet from any tree trunk. Clean up fallen fruit or animal carcasses on the property. Don't burn or bury garbage; carnivores will be attracted to the smell.
Campers should locate tents and sleeping areas 100 yards away from cooking areas and should never sleep in clothes worn during cooking. Secure as well any other odorous items such as toothpaste, cosmetics, gum, pots, utensils and cooking clothes. A good rule of thumb is "Pack it in, pack it out".
Keep pets and small children in sight and under control at all times, and pick them up if a predator animal should approach. When camping, don't leave a pet tied up in your campsite, as it may attract predators. Keep farm animals and pets in enclosed areas, especially at night and during calving or lambing season. Never feed a carnivore or try to approach it.
Coyote strategies: Remove sources of water if possible, especially in dry climates, where it is a major source of attraction for many wildlife species. Trim ground-level shrubbery and fence yards at least six feet high, with no greater than four-inch openings, and with the bottom touching the ground or buried with a two foot sloping extension toward the outside of the fence. Don't leave small children or pets outside unattended. Provide security shelters for poultry, rabbits, and other vulnerable animals. Use net-wire or electric fencing around livestock, motion-sensing lights above corrals, or strobe lights or sirens to scare them away. Guard animals like large dogs, donkeys, and llamas might be useful to help protect livestock.
Run The Planet thanks the College of Natural Resources at the University of Idaho (www.cnr.uidaho.edu/cnr) for the permission to reprint the section on coyotes of the article "Carnivore Safety Tips". The tips to minimize conflict with predatory animals were gleaned from a workshop about "Living with Carnivores", presented by a coalition of partners and sponsored by the University of Idaho. Representatives were from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S.D.A. Wildlife Services, Defenders of Wildlife, Governor’s Office of Species Conservation, Counter Assault, Idaho Cattle Association, Wolf Education and Research Center and Hornocker Wildlife Institute, among others.