DEC: Be wily about coyotes come spring

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With spring denning and puppy-rearing season nearing, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation issued its annual guidance Monday on preventing conflicts with coyotes.

The DEC stressed that coyotes typically avoid people but can thrive in suburban and some urban environments and tend to be territorial in spring through mid-summer as they raise their young. The main threat is to pets, particularly small dogs and cats allowed to roam free outdoors.

Coyotes are opportunistic omnivores, meaning they will eat whatever is easy to find, scavenge or catch and kill at any particular time of year, the DEC says. Major parts of their typical food supply also are found in human-habitated areas, including mice, voles, squirrels, rabbits, deer and many fruiting plants, while coyotes may also be attracted by outdoor cats and small dogs, garbage, pet food and road-killed animals, the DEC notes.

In August 2017, Rome city officials issued a public notice regarding coyotes after a series of run-ins with the animals, including a reported attack on a pet cat a few blocks east of Black River Boulevard.

DEC recommends the public:

• Not feed coyotes and 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, including: Not feeding pets outside; make any garbage inaccessible to animals; fence or enclose compost piles; and eliminate availability of bird seed. Concentrations of birds and rodents that come to feeders can attract coyotes.

• Not allow coyotes to approach people or pets.

• Teach children to appreciate coyotes from a distance.

• Be aggressive in behavior if you see a coyote: Stand tall and hold your arms out to look large. If a coyote lingers for too long, then make loud noises, wave your arms, and throw sticks.

• Install fences around yards to help deter coyotes and remove brush and tall grass from around your home to reduce protective cover for coyotes.

Contact local police department and 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. 

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