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Coexisting with Coyotes

Public Health has received reports of coyote attacks on pets in urban areas of Madison and Dane County. Most have involved smaller dogs left unattended by their owners in the backyard.

The mere presence of coyotes can be unnerving or frightening for people. Coyotes are generally more afraid of you than you are of them, but in instances where coyotes have gotten too comfortable around people there are several things neighborhood residents can do to re-educate their neighborhood coyotes to be more afraid of people and leave their pets alone.

How to Haze a Coyote

This short video, "How to Haze a Coyote," gives some concrete solutions for how we can safely co-exist with coyotes in an urban area. It explains the process of hazing, or scaring away coyotes, so they do not feel comfortable being in urban neighborhoods.

Don't Feed Wildlife

  • Don't keep pet food or bowls outside.
  • Clean up fallen fruit and birdseed that attracts the prey of coyotes. Coyotes will also eat the birdseed or fruit.
  • Don't feed coyotes. Feeding wild animals other than birds or small mammals under certain conditions is prohibited - Wisconsin Deer Baiting and Wildlife Feeding Regulations, DNR (PDF)
  • Make sure lids on garbage cans are on tight.

Protect Your Pets

  • Don't leave pets outside alone, either on or off a leash.
  • If your dog stays outside, keep it in a secure outdoor kennel with a solid bottom and secure top.
  • When walking your dog, carry a noisemaker, squirt gun, or sticks to throw toward (but not at) a coyote, if you meet one.
  • Always walk your dog on a leash.

Coyote Behavior

  • Coyotes are generally more afraid of you than you are of them.
  • When coyotes have been fed, they lose their fear of humans.
  • Coyotes mate between January and March. During this time they are more territorial and possibly more aggressive.
  • Pups are born between March and May.
  • Coyotes will act aggressively when near their pups or their den.

Call Public Health

  • If you learn that someone is feeding coyotes,
    (608) 242-6515.
  • If a coyote does not respond to hazing attempts,
    (608) 267-1187.
  • If you see a coyote that is sick or injured,
    (608) 255-2345.

Have you had a coyote encounter recently?

Use an online coyote sighting website created by the UW-Madison Urban Canid Project to report your experience.

Key Contacts
  • Animal Services Office:
    (608) 267-1989
  • Animal Services Officer Dispatch:
    (608) 255-2345
  • Dane County Humane Society:
    (608) 838-0413
  • Dane County Humane Society's Wildlife Center:
    (608) 838-0413 (ext 151)
For removal of nuisance wildlife, call a private pest control service.