Coyotes are currently well established throughout the state from the Berkshires to Cape Cod. They thrive in suburban and urban areas close to people.
Coyotes eat many different foods, including small animals, fruits, vegetables, garbage, and pet food. Remember everything a coyote does is related to a potential meal.
Here are a few suggestions to make your property less attractive to coyotes.
Don't let coyotes intimidate you
Don't hesitate to scare or threaten coyotes with loud noises and bright lights. Don't hesitate to pick up small objects, such as a tennis ball, and throw them at the coyote. If a water hose is close at hand, spray the coyote with water in the face. Let the coyote know it is unwelcome in your area.
Coyotes will raid open trash materials and compost piles. Secure your garbage in tough plastic containers with tight fitting lids and keep in secure buildings when possible. Take out trash the morning pick up is scheduled, not the previous night. Keep compost piles in containers designed to contain but vent the material.
Don't feed or try to pet coyotes
Keep wild things wild. Feeding, whether direct or indirect, can cause coyotes to act tame and over time may lead to bold behavior. Coyotes that rely on natural food items remain wild and wary of humans.
Keep your pets safe
Although free roaming pets are more likely to be killed by automobiles than by wild animals, coyotes do view cats and small dogs as potential food and larger dogs as competition. For the safety of your pets, keep them restrained at all times.
Feed pets indoors
Outdoor feeding attracts many wild animals to your door.
Keep bird feeding areas clean
Use feeders designed to keep seed off the ground as the seed attracts many small mammals that coyotes prey upon. Remove feeders if coyotes are regularly seen around your yard.
Close off crawl spaces under porches and sheds
Coyotes use such areas for resting and raising young.
Cut back brushy edges in your yard
These areas provide cover for coyotes and their prey.
Protect livestock and produce
Coyotes will prey upon livestock. Techniques, such as fencing, will protect livestock from predation. Clear fallen fruit from around fruit trees.
Educate your neighbors
Pass this information along since your efforts will be futile if neighbors are providing food or shelter for coyotes.
If an immediate threat exists to human life and limb, public safety officials including ACOs, police departments, and the Massachusetts Environmental Police, have the authority to respond to and dispatch the animal as stipulated in the Code of Massachusetts Regulations (CMR) 2.14 that pertain to handling problem animals. This includes animals exhibiting clear signs of rabies.
If possible, MassWildlife should first be contacted to authorize the lethal taking of a coyote.
Coyotes taking pets are not considered an immediate threat to human safety, therefore ACO's and municipal police departments are not authorized to remove these wild animals.