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Outdoors with Larry DiDonato

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 2/29/24 | 2/29/24

It’s Time to Be, “Coyote Conscious”

DEC just put out a reminder for the public to be, “coyote conscious,” this time of year. Why now? It’s because its breeding season which takes place from January to March. During this time, coyotes are more active, mating and preparing dens for pups arriving this spring. This makes them more territorial which can increase the risk of conflicts with people and pets.

While most coyotes avoid interacting with people, some coyotes can become emboldened and lose their fear of people, especially those that are intentionally fed by people. This can result in a dangerous situation with pets and young children at the greatest risk.

If a coyote shows little or no fear of people, DEC recommends contacting your Regional Wildlife Office or, in emergency situations, the local police department. You can visit DEC’s website at and search,  “information on coyotes” and “preventing conflicts with coyotes” to get more information.

Here are a few simple tips DEC recommends to avoid conflicts with coyotes:

  • Do not feed coyotes and discourage others from doing so. Visit DEC’s website entitled, “Do Not Feed Wildlife: Why Feeding Wildlife Does More Harm Than Good” which will explain why its never a good idea to feed any wildlife.

  • Do not feed pets outside.

  • Make any garbage inaccessible to coyotes and other animals.

  • Eliminate availability of bird seed. Concentrations of birds and rodents that come to feeders can attract coyotes.

Protect your Pets

Take action:

  • Do not allow coyotes to approach people or pets.

  • Do not allow pets to run free. Supervise all outdoor pets to keep them safe from coyotes and other wildlife, especially at sunset and at night.

  • Fencing your yard may deter coyotes. The fence should be tight to the ground, preferably extending 6 inches below ground level, and taller than 4 feet.

  • Remove brush and tall grass from around your property to reduce protective cover for coyotes. Coyotes are typically secretive and like areas where they can hide. See DEC’s Tips to Eliminate Wildlife Conflicts page for more information.

  • Be alert of your surroundings and take precautions such as carrying a flashlight or a walking stick to deter coyotes.

Coyote Encounters

A coyote that does not flee from people should be considered dangerous. Coyotes in residential areas can be attracted to garbage, pet food, and other human-created sources of food. Coyotes can associate people with these food attractants. In some cases, human behavior is perceived to be non-threatening by coyotes (running into your home after seeing a coyote is behaving like prey). In short, people may unintentionally attract coyotes with food and people may behave like prey. Add to the mix people intentionally feeding coyotes and the potential for a coyote attack becomes very real.

  • Teach children to appreciate coyotes from a distance. If a coyote has been observed repeatedly near an area where children frequent, be watchful.

  • If you see a coyote, be aggressive in your behavior-stand tall and hold arms out to look large. If a coyote lingers for too long, then make loud noises, wave your arms, or throw sticks and stones.

  • Contact authorities if you notice that coyotes are exhibiting "bold" behaviors and have little or no fear of people.

Potential does exist for coyote attacks in New York. Nationwide, only a handful of coyote attacks occur annually and New York has experienced it’s share, albeit a small number given the robust population of coyotes and New York residents. Most coyote attacks upon people in NY have been by rabid, rather than healthy coyotes. Needless to say, any coyote conflict is bad for people, pets, and coyotes.

Dog owners should generally be concerned about coyotes, especially owners of smaller dogs. Small dogs and all cats are at risk of being harmed or killed by coyotes, especially when left unattended in backyards. Coyotes become exceptionally territorial around den sites in an attempt to create a safe place for their young. In general, coyotes view other canines (dogs) as a threat. 

The Eastern coyote is firmly established in New York. They live here as an integral part of our ecosystem. People and coyotes can coexist if coyotes' natural fear of people is maintained. A good way to accomplish that is to encourage coyote hunting in your area. Intense, localized coyote hunting can make a good dent in that area’s population of coyotes. That can reduce fawn predation as well as reduce dangers to people and pets. Coyotes are extremely intelligent, and known to quickly adapt to changing environments. If they are hunted and trapped, they associate danger with human contact and may be more likely to keep their distance. 

If you like keeping fawns, pets, and kids safe from coyotes, be sure to thank a coyote hunter or trapper. In fact, if you attend the Greene County Youth Fair during the last weekend of July each year at Angelo Canna Park in Cairo, stop in and see the outstanding coyote hunting display set up by local coyote hunter, Frank Algozine. It’s right by the Greene County Federation of Sportsmen’s table and DEC’s trout tank. Don’t forget to “thank Frank” as well as trappers like Ed Gorch, of NY Bowhunters for all they do to curb the coyote population in the Cairo area!

Happy hunting, fishing, and trapping until next time.

News and Notes 

Ducks Unlimited Greene County Chapter Banquet March 2nd 

The Greene County Chapter of Ducks Unlimited is holding its annual banquet, dinner and

auction on Saturday, March 2nd at Anthony’s Banquet Hall located at 746 County Route 23B in

Leeds. Doors open at 3:30 pm with buffet dinner starting at 5:00 pm followed by a live auction.

Tickets are available online at For more information or to purchase tickets when they are no longer available online, you can call Dana Hanusik at 518-821-1773 or Jeff Holiday at 965-6105.

Remember to report poachers and polluters by contacting a NYS ECO. 

Dial 1-844-DEC-ECOS (1-844-332-3267), 24/7 to contact the 24-hour ECO Dispatch

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