Weston has a very health coyote population but that does not mean you need to worry or be afraid. Understanding this widely misunderstood animal will help you keep the coyote wild and your pets safe.
- Living With Coyotes - Mass. Div. of Fisheries and Wildlife
- Preventing Conflicts with Wildlife - Mass. Div. of Fisheries and Wildlife
- Coyotes: Decoding Their Yips, Barks, and Howls - by Brian Mitchell, adjunct professor at the University of Vermont
- Project Coyote: Living With Coyotes - John Maguranis, Belmont ACO and Mass. Rep. for Project Coyote
Find more Weston wildlife information at westonma.gov/wildlife.
What is going on when you see or hear coyotes during the year? Understanding the animal's seasonal cycles may shed some light:
Breeding season, more likely to be vocal. Bigger dogs may be looked at as competitors by male coyotes
Pups are born. Nursing mothers are brought food by other members of the pack. This is also known as "pupping season." From late spring through early summer, coyote pups start to leave their dens to explore and learn to hunt. Adult coyotes are watching over the pups and dens to protect them from danger.
Young coyotes are being taught to hunt.
Young disperse and find new packs/territory
Coyote visibility is highest during breeding and while raising young. To truly be safe small dogs should always be kept on a leash.
Coyotes are known to "shadow" people who are walking through their territory. This is not to be taken as threatening behavior. Coyotes are naturally afraid of people. The coyote is ensuring predators stay away from their young. If the animal stays at a distance, just make sure your pet is leashed and continue out of the area. Continue reading to learn hazing techniques to deter coyotes that approach.
If a coyote does follow you, or approach, harassing techniques, also known as hazing, can help deter an encounter.
- Stand your ground. Be assertive and make loud noises. Be a source of discomfort to the coyote
- If it continues to approach or acts aggressively, throw rocks in the coyote’s direction and swing a branch
- Do not turn your back on the coyote or run away. Instead, back away slowly
- If you’ve had an encounter with a bold coyote, note the area where it occurred and report it to Animal Control
Coyotes are creatures of habit and have defined territories so it is best to avoid that area for a while. You might also consider walking with a vinegar-filled water gun. When directed toward a coyote the powerful smell acts as a deterrent.
The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife has never received a report of anyone being attacked by a coyote while hazing it. The coyote may initially run and then turn with curiosity to further evaluate the situation. At this point, many people will give up thinking the harassment isn’t working. This is when the hazing should CONTINUE or else the coyote confirms if they wait long enough, the discomfort will go away without any real threat to them.