In New York State we are lucky to have acres and acres of beautiful forests and wilderness. With the land also comes a wide variety of wild animals. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation is making outdoor enthusiasts aware of a growing population of coyotes. They are also offering a number of tips on how to avoid conflicts with these predators as the weather gets warmer.

The coyote is a beautiful and fascinating creature, however there aren't many things creepier while camping in the woods then the howl of one of these feral animals. According to the DEC website,

With the onset of warmer weather, many of New York's resident coyotes have set up dens for soon-to-arrive pups. Coyotes are well adapted to suburban and even urban environments, but for the most part they 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.

Much like bears, you do NOT want to be caught looking wrong or being too close to a coyotes' baby. It is estimated that there are more than 30,000 coyotes living in and around Upstate New York. A few other safety tips include:

  • Do not feed coyotes and discourage others from doing so.

  • Unintentional food sources attract coyotes and other wildlife and increase risks to people and pets.

  • Do not allow coyotes to approach people or pets.

  • Teach children to appreciate coyotes from a distance.

  • If you see a coyote, be aggressive in your behavior - stand tall, and hold arms out to look large. If a coyote lingers for too long, then make loud noises, wave your arms, throw sticks and stones.

  • Do 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.

  • Fencing your yard may deter coyotes. The fence should be tight to the ground, preferably extending six inches below ground level, and taller than four feet.

Check out the full list of safety tips on the DEC website. Just remember that when you are camping or enjoying the great outdoors in any capacity to respect the fact that you are in the habitat of these animals and they deserve the utmost respect. Whatever you take in, be sure to take out and never leave anything behind that would harm the wildlife.

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