How to Haze for Effective Reshaping of Coyote Behavior
Generally, coyotes are reclusive animals who avoid human contact. Coyotes who’ve adapted to urban and suburban environments, however, may realize there are few real threats and approach people or feel safe visiting yards even when people are present. These coyotes have become habituated (lost their fear of humans}, likely due to the ready availability of food in our neighborhoods. Sometimes, this food is deliberately provided by people who like to watch wild animals or misguidedly feel they are helping them by feeding. These bold coyotes should not be tolerated or enticed, but definitely given the message that they should not be so brazen.
Hazing is a method that makes use of deterrents to move an animal out of an area or discourage an undesirable behavior or activity. Hazing can help maintain a coyote’s fear of humans and deter them from neighborhood spaces such as backyards and play spaces.
The following guidelines are adapted from the Denver, Colorado coyote problem mitigation program’s Hazing Guidelines, written by the Natural Areas Program of the Denver Parks and Recreation Department in October 2009. These guidelines have proven very successful at correcting problematic coyote behavior both in the short and longer term.
Methods of Hazing
Using a variety of different hazing tools is critical; coyotes can habituate to individual items, sounds, and actions.
- Yelling and waving your arms while approaching the coyote.
- Noisemakers: Voice, whistles, air horns, bells, soda cans filled with pennies or dead batteries, pots and pans banged together.
- Projectiles: sticks, small rocks, cans, tennis balls, rubber balls.
- Other: hoses, water guns with vinegar water, spray bottles with vinegar water, pepper spray, bear repellant, walking sticks.
“Go Away Coyote!”
The simplest method of hazing a coyote involves being loud and large:
- Stand tall, wave your arms and yell at the coyote, approaching it if necessary, until it runs away.
- If a coyote has not been hazed before, he may not immediately run away when you yell at him. If this happens, you may need to walk towards the coyote and increase the intensity of your hazing.
- The coyote may run away, but then stop after a distance and look at you. It is important to continue to haze the coyote until he completely leaves the area. You may need to use different tactics, such as noisemakers, stomping your feet, or spraying the coyote with a hose, to get him to leave.
There are several tools that you can carry with you while walking your dog that can be used to repel coyotes. (Remember to always walk your dog on a leash.) These include:
- Homemade noisemakers (follow this link details).
- Whistle or small air horn (you can purchase small air horn “necklaces”).
- Squirt guns.
- Pepper spray.
- Pick up sticks or rocks and throw them towards the coyote.
In Your Yard
Remember, keeping pets and pet food inside is the best way to keep coyotes out of your yard. If you do encounter coyotes, all of the above methods can be used in your yard at home. First, try the “Go Away Coyote!” method (yell and wave your arms as you approach the coyote). Here are some additional methods you can also use:
- Squirt the coyote with your garden hose.
- Bang pots and pans together.
- NEVER run away from a coyote!
- The coyote may not leave at first, but if you approach it closer and/or increase the intensity of your hazing, it will run away.
- If the coyote runs away a short distance and then stops and looks at you, continue hazing it until it completely leaves the area.
- After you have successfully hazed a coyote, he or she may return again. Continue to haze the coyote as you did before; it usually takes only one or two times to haze a coyote away for good.
- Coyotes are skittish by nature and as a rule do not act aggressively towards aggressive people. However, engaging animals that are sick or injured can result in unpredictable behavior. If you suspect that a coyote is sick or injured, contact the proper authorities and DO NOT interact with the coyote.
Tips for Success
- The more often an individual coyote is hazed, by a variety of tools and techniques and a variety of people, the more effective hazing will be for changing behavior. • The coyote being hazed must be able to recognize that the potential threat is coming from a person. (Hiding behind a bush and throwing rocks, for example, will not be effective.)
- Techniques and tools can be used in the same manner for one animal or multiple animals. Usually there is a dominant animal in the group who will respond, and others will follow her lead.
- Certain levels of hazing must always be maintained so that future generations of coyotes do not learn or return to unacceptable habits or behaviors.
- Educating the public about removing coyote attractants, proper pet care and safety, and coyote behavior are critical parts of a successful coyote plan.