July 5, 2013

AFV offers tips on 'coyote hazing'


Willa Bagwell of Animal Friends of the Valleys recently sent this advice to residents in the shelter's service district following a coyote attack on a small pet in a Temecula backyard. While coyotes aren't a huge problem in Canyon Lake, they have been known to enter the gated community via the Golf Course and other corridors leading to open spaces. It's rare, but residents have reported seeing their small pets taken by coyotes. The most recent coyote sighting was by Ron Kupke on Compass Dr., about 4:15 a.m. on June 26.

With that in mind, here is the advice offered by Animal Friends of the Valleys. It's called "Coyote Hazing: guidelines for discouraging neighborhood coyotes."

Coyote Hazing

By Willa Bagwell

Special to The Friday Flyer

Hazing works to re-instill the natural fear of people back into habituated coyotes. Generally, coyotes are reclusive animals who avoid human contact. Coyotes who have adapted to urban and suburban environments, however, may realize there are few real threats and may approach people or feel safe visiting yards, even when people are present.

These coyotes have become habituated (lost their fear of humans), probably owing to the bounty of food that they have become accustomed to feeding upon in certain neighborhoods. These bold coyotes should not be tolerated or enticed but instead given the clear 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 backyards and play spaces.

The following guidelines have proven very successful at correcting problematic coyote behavior, both short and long term.

Methods of hazing

Using a variety of different hazing tools is critical so that coyotes don’t get used to redundant or single stimulus devices, sounds and actions.

? Loud and large: The simplest method of hazing a coyote involves being loud and large: Stand tall, wave your arms and yell at the coyote, approaching him if necessary until he 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 go after 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.

? Noisemakers: Make noise with voice, whistles, air horns, bells, “shaker” cans full of marbles or pennies, pots, lids or pie pans banged together.

? Projectiles: Throw sticks, small rocks, cans, tennis balls, rubber balls toward (not at) the coyote.

? Other: Spray with hoses, water guns with vinegar water, spray bottles with vinegar water, pepper spray or bear repellent.

Dog-walking tools

There are several tools that you can carry with you while walking your dog that can be used to repel coyotes. These include homemade noisemakers such as a whistle or small air horn (you can purchase small air horn “necklaces”). 

Other tools are squirt guns, pepper spray or sticks or other objects to throw towards (but not at) 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. Never run away from a coyote! The coyote may not leave at first, but if you approach him closer and/or increase the intensity of your hazing, he will run away.

If the coyote runs away a short distance and then stops and looks at you, continue hazing until he 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.