Coyote Management and Co-existence

Living Alongside Coyotes

Passive Management of Coyotes

The presence of coyotes in an urban setting usually triggers a predictable set of responses from the community, ranging from fear and concern to curiosity and wonder. One of our goals with the Atlanta Coyote Project is to serve as a source for information and to provide the public with a centralized place to report coyote sightings, activity, and/or human-coyote conflict across the metro area. Passive management – working to prevent conflict before it develops – is the key to coexisting peacefully with wildlife, including coyotes. Understanding coyote behavior and being proactive can prevent conflict from developing or escalating.

Public agencies (e.g., law enforcement, animal control, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources) will generally not respond to complaints about coyotes unless there is a clear and imminent threat to public safety, which is rarely the case. Relocation of coyotes is not an option. Any coyote that is captured by a trapper will be euthanized.

Coyote Relocation Is Not an Option

The territorial behavior of coyotes helps to explain why trapping and killing is not a good management option. If coyotes are regularly occupying an area (i.e., have established a territory), it means they’ve found a good place to live where their needs are being met. Removal of these resident coyotes creates a vacancy that can eventually be filled by a transient who is in search of a territory.

Additionally, removal of resident coyotes decreases competition with any remaining coyotes in the area, which means that more food is now available. More food enables more pups to survive and the local population grows. A vicious cycle of trapping followed by repopulation is now set in motion.

Finally, trapping is costly and can only be done by a licensed professional in the state of Georgia.

Why Killing Doesn’t Work

This infographic from the Humane Society demonstrates why killing coyotes is not a good solution, either.

The Humane Society of the United States has conducted extensive research on coyote behavior and human-coyote interactions.  Using this research, they have developed guidelines for communities to follow in order to peacefully co-exist with coyotes.   Download the plan here.

Threats to Humans

Coyotes generally pose little threat to humans, but they are wild animals and should be treated with caution. 

Reported cases of humans being bitten or attacked by coyotes are extremely rare.  By contrast, every day nearly 1,000 people in the U.S. are treated in emergency rooms for dog bites.

The incidence of rabies in coyotes is also quite low.  For example, in 2010 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported only 10 cases of rabies in coyotes nationwide, while there were reports of 2,246 rabid raccoons and 1,430 rabid bats.

What To Do/Recommendations:

Preventive measures and passive management are the best ways to avoid coyote conflict.

Never feed coyotes and always prevent their access to food around your home.

Do not leave pet food outside.

Make trash cans inaccessible and secure them with tight lids.

Control small mammals from feeding in and around bird feeders,  which can attract coyotes.

Clean and store grills when not in use.

Properly dispose of dead animals, including any nearby roadkill.

Do not allow pets to roam freely and take them indoors at night.

If pets must be kept outside, consider installing fencing and motion-activated lights to discourage predators.

Keep small livestock and poultry in enclosed or sheltered areas.

 If you see coyotes near your home and feel uneasy about their presence, make loud noises, spray them with a hose, and generally make them feel unwelcome.

© 2015 Atlanta Coyote Project