Coyotes in Spring: Do you need an escort?

Coyote (Canis latrans) in the Canadian Prairies.
Photo by Jillian Cooper / Getty Images

Has a coyote ever “followed” you or your dog during a walk in your neighborhood or at the park? It’s understandable you might have felt afraid. There’s no need to panic, however. Coyotes are curious and inquisitive creatures and often exhibit a behaviour known as “escorting”.

A coyote, sometimes accompanied by their mate, will guide intruders away from their territory to ensure the safety and security of their den or hunting grounds. Escorting is mostly observed from early March to late April, a time when coyote parents are especially vigilant in safeguarding their pups. This behaviour typically occurs during the early morning or evening hours, and it’s frequently experienced by individuals walking their dogs, as coyotes may perceive dogs as a potential threat to their families.

Contrary to popular belief, coyotes don’t necessarily “stalk” people with malicious intent. While coyotes may sometimes seem “aggressive”, canid experts suggest that this behaviour is intended to encourage people to leave the area.

Coexisting with Coyotes

Most encounters between coyotes and humans are benign, but it’s important to continue to take precautions to minimize potential conflicts. Keeping dogs on a leash and securing attractants can help reduce negative interactions.

Education also plays a crucial role in fostering coexistence between humans and coyotes. By understanding the behaviour of coyotes, people can learn to appreciate these fascinating creatures and respect their space.

What to Do if You Encounter a Coyote

1Remain calm & keep a safe distance. Do not approach the coyote. Do not feed them. Do not try to get close to take photos and videos.

2Control pets. If you’re walking your dog, keep them on a leash and under control. Do not allow your pet to approach or interact with coyotes, as this could lead to injury (to both animals and possibly yourself).

3Make yourself big. If a coyote approaches too closely, make yourself appear larger by standing tall, waving your arms, and use firm and assertive tones (screaming is not necessary).

4Give them space. Slowly back away while facing the animal. Do not turn your back or run. Give them lots of space.

For more information about coyotes and coyote behaviour, visit CoyoteWatchCanada.com.

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