The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation put out its annual guidance on preventing conflicts between people and coyotes as winter gives way to spring.

With the onset of warmer weather, many of New York’s resident coyotes will set up dens for pups that will arrive this spring. Coyotes, the DEC says, are well adapted to suburban and even some urban environments, but for the most part will avoid contact with people. However, conflicts with people and pets may result as coyotes tend to be territorial around den sites during the spring through mid-summer period as they forage almost constantly to provide food for their young.

To reduce or prevent potential conflicts, DEC urges that no one feed coyotes and we all discourage others from doing so. Reduce the risks of making unintentional food sources available to attract coyotes and other wildlife and increase risks to people and pets by not feeding pets outside.

DEC recommends eliminating 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.

Also, the DEC urges residents to 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 to coyotes;

Fence yards to help 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 home to reduce protective cover for coyotes. Coyotes are typically secretive and like areas where they can hide.

Contact the local police department and the DEC regional office for assistance if coyotes are exhibiting bold behaviors and have little or no fear of people. Seeing a coyote occasionally throughout the year is not evidence of bold behavior.

The Eastern coyote can be found in rural farmlands and forests and occasionally in populated suburban and urban areas. In fact, coyotes can provide many exciting wildlife watching opportunities from a distance. In most cases, coyotes avoid people as much as possible. However, if coyotes learn to associate people with food, such as garbage or pet food, they may lose their natural fear of humans, and the potential for close encounters or conflicts increases.

For additional information about the Eastern coyote and preventing conflicts with coyotes, visit the DEC websites.

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