ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — With spring just a few weeks away, the chances of sighting a coyote are increasing. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has issued guidance on how to avoid conflicts with coyotes.

Mandy Watson, a Wildlife Biologist with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation says the last few months have been breeding season for coyotes. As the weather warms up and they have their pups, the animal becomes more territorial, leading to an increase in the potential for human and coyote conflicts.

“They tend to be more vocal so you might be more likely to hear them, and they are starting to kind of move around to set up den sites, so that’s you know a reason why you might see them poking into yards and urban neighborhoods and things like that,” Watson says.

Watson wants to remind people that while coyote attacks are very rare, it’s best to minimize the chances of them coming into your yard by cleaning up any potential food sources. 

“The first thing that’s going to bring coyotes into your yard would be food. Just like any other animal they’re looking for food so if you have any, if you feed your pets outside and you have a bird feeder set up if you have a compost pile or garbage those can all be food sources for coyotes,” Watson says. 

Watson says you can also do what’s called hazing the coyote by being loud and even spraying them with a garden hose if they do get on to your property. Advice she offered included not letting your small pets outside unsupervised at night as coyotes tend to see dogs especially as competitors.

Don’t try to corner a coyote or approach them as they are more likely to do something if they feel like they can’t get away from you. Simply stand your ground and keep your distance. 

If you are being attacked by a coyote, call 911 as your first line of defense, and if you can get away, go inside as soon as possible. If they keep coming back, you can call your local DEC regional wildlife office as they issue permits on occasion for the removal of “problem animals” if they are deemed a public safety hazard. You can also contact a local wildlife removal company.

You are allowed to remove the animal yourself if attacking your pet or livestock, but you can call DEC wildlife office for advice on remedying it or giving you a permit.

“That’s all stuff that just kind of you know typically coyotes will run away from and that’s what we want, we want them to move along not get comfortable in there and really learn that they don’t really want to hang around people,” Watson says.  

Remember, like other wild animals, they are typically more scared of you than you are of them, so standing your ground and keeping a distance as opposed to running away is your safest bet.