The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has issued guidelines to minimize conflicts between people, pets and coyotes.

Have you ever heard the call of a coyote or coyotes? It's a beautiful but scary sound at the same time. Coyotes howl and yip primarily to communicate with each other and establish territory. They may bark when they are defending a den or a kill.

Coyotes play an integral role in maintaining healthy ecosystems and species diversity by regulating mid-sized predators like foxes, raccoons, opossums and skunks.

The DEC says the Eastern coyote is found in many habitats, from rural farmland and forests to populated suburban and urban areas in New York State. For the most part, they will stay away from people and pets, but conflicts could happen, especially during the spring denning and pupping period.

Coyotes mustn't associate humans with food. To reduce or prevent conflicts with coyotes, take the following steps:

  • Do not feed coyotes. Discourage others from doing so.
  • Do not feed pets outside.
  • Make any garbage inaccessible to coyotes and other animals.
  • Fence or enclose compost piles so they are not accessible to coyotes.
  • Eliminate the availability of bird seed. Concentrations of birds and rodents that come to feeders can attract coyotes. If you see a coyote near your birdfeeder, clean up waste seed and spillage to remove the attractant.
  • Do not allow coyotes to approach people or pets. If you see a coyote, be aggressive in your behavior: stand tall and hold your arms up or out to look large. If a coyote lingers for too long, then make loud noises, wave your arms and throw sticks and stones.
  • Teach children to appreciate coyotes from a distance.
  • 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. Small dogs and cats are especially vulnerable.
  • Fenced yards may deter coyotes. The fence should be tight to the ground, preferably extending six inches below ground level and taller than four feet.
  • Remove brush and tall grass from around your home to reduce protective cover for coyotes. Coyotes are typically secretive and like areas where they can hide.
  • Contact your local police department and DEC regional office for assistance if you notice coyotes exhibiting "bold" behaviors and having little or no fear of people, or if you see them repeatedly during the daytime in a human-populated area or near residences.