Prevent conflicts with coyotes

Coyotes can thrive close to humans in a variety of habitats. Make your property less attractive to coyotes by following these tips.

Feeding coyotes

Keep wildlife wild! Never deliberately provide food for coyotes to attract them to your property. Feeding, whether direct or indirect, can cause coyotes to act tame and may lead to bold behavior. Coyotes that rely on natural foods remain wild and wary of humans. Remember to share these tips with your neighbors; your efforts will be futile if neighbors provide food or shelter for turkeys or neglect to act boldly towards the birds.

Secure your garbage

Coyotes raid open trash materials and compost piles. Secure your garbage in tough plastic containers with tight fitting lids and keep them in secure buildings when possible. Take out trash when the morning pick up is scheduled, not the previous night. Keep compost in secure, vented containers, and keep barbecue grills clean to reduce attractive odors.

Keep bird feeder areas clean

Use feeders designed to keep seed off the ground and clean spilled seed daily, as bird seed attracts many small mammals coyotes prey upon. Remove feeders if coyotes are regularly seen around your yard.

Protect produce and livestock

Clear fallen fruit from around fruit trees. Use fencing to protect livestock from coyotes. Coyotes can jump over or dig under fences that are improperly built. Fencing should be at least 6 feet high and extend into the ground. You may also install PVC pipe that is free to spin around a tight wire at the top of the fence or have an outward overhang of fence wire to make it more difficult for the coyote to grip and get over the fence. 

Feed pets indoors

Outdoor feeding can attract many wild animals.

Eliminating shelter for coyotes

Close off crawl spaces

Coyotes will use areas under porches and sheds for resting and raising young. Close these areas off to prevent animals from using them.

Cut back brushy edges

Be sure to keep brushy edges in your yard trimmed, as these areas provide cover for coyotes and their prey.

Protecting pets from coyotes

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 leashed and under your supervision at all times. Also remember to feed your pets indoors to avoid attracting wildlife. 

Habituated coyotes

The presence of a coyote alone is not cause for concern, as coyotes are naturally afraid of people. Help keep coyotes wild by scaring or threatening coyotes in your yard with loud noises, bright lights, or water sprayed from a hose. Coyotes that have become dependent on human-associated food can become habituated and exhibit bold behavior toward people. A habituated coyote:

  • Does not run off when harassed or chased.
  • Approaches pets on a leash.
  • Approaches and follows people.

If an immediate threat to human safety exists, MassWildlife, Animal Control Officers, police departments, and the 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.

Additional Resources

Feedback

Tell us what you think