As spring arrives, DEC is asking NY’ers to be “coyote conscious”


The state Department of Environmental Conservation has issued guidance to help New Yorkers avoid conflict with coyotes and protect their pets.

“This is the time of year when New York’s resident coyotes breed and set up dens for pups that will arrive in the spring,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “While conflicts with people and pets are rare, New Yorkers should remain alert and follow DEC’s common-sense guidelines to minimize the risk for potential conflicts with coyotes.”

Coyotes’ natural habitat stretches across much of the state. They inhabit rural farmland, forests, and green spaces in both suburban and urban areas. Contact with coyotes and people is limited and rare. However, incidents can occur between coyotes and people and their pets because coyotes are typically territorial during breeding and pup-rearing season in the spring and summer.

Coyotes may learn to associate certain food sources with people. If coyotes progress their association with food sources such as garbage or pet food with people, their natural fear for humans may start to deteriorate. This decrease in fear for humans can potentially increase close encounters and conflict with coyotes.

In order to reduce conflicts with coyotes, New Yorkers are urged to take the following steps:

  • Do not feed coyotes.
  • Do not leave food outside.
  • Do not feed pets outside.
  • Prevent access to garbage.
  • Enclose compost piles.
  • Eliminate the use of birdseed.
  • Do not allow coyotes to approach by being aggressive.
  • Keep a distance.
  • Leash pets.
  • Fenced yards.
  • Remove brush and tall grass.
  • Urge neighbors to follow these steps to reduce conflict with coyotes.

This time of year leads coyotes to be increasingly active and sightings will increase as well, however, simply seeing a coyote is not an issue. If coyotes exhibit aggressive behavior and fail to show fear of people, or if it is spotted consistently in residential areas, people are urged to contact their Regional DEC Wildlife Office for assistance. In emergency situations, people are urged to contact the local police department.

For additional information on how to navigate coyote season safely, visit these DEC webpages: