MADISON (WKOW) — You may notice more coyotes in neighborhoods and parks soon because mid-January is the beginning of coyote mating season.
“They are a resident of the city just like human beings are and they’re not leaving,” said UW Extension Wildlife Specialist, David Drake.
Drake studies coyotes and runs a group called UW Urban Canid Project. He says coyotes will be more active as they look for a mate.
“Consider yourself lucky if you see a coyote and from a safe distances enjoy watching that animal,” Drake said.
Drake says after you’re done you should scare or bother the animal.
“Waving their arms in big circles and yelling at the animal to go away or get out of here, perhaps throw a stick or some stones, not to hit the animal, but near the animal,” he said.
When you do this, the coyote should move away from you.
“You want to put a healthy fear of humans into those animals,” Drake said.
Keeping the coyotes away from you will also benefit your pets.
“Coyotes see dogs as a competitor in their territory,” Drake said.
Drake recommends keeping your dog close to you whenever you’re walking them outside, especially at night. The dog should always be on a leash.
Public Health Madison and Dane County Environmental Health Services Supervisor, John Hausbeck suggests bringing something with you on walks to scare coyotes away.
“Some people put some coins in a can they can shake real hard,” Hausbeck said.
Another tip is to keep your yard clean to avoid attracting coyotes.
“If your bird seed is getting scattered all over the place and that’s starting to attract other animals like squirrels or rats then those are prey species for the coyotes,” Hausbeck said.
Drake warns to never purposely attract coyotes.
The next time a coyote encounters a person, it may expect food and could turn aggressive, Drake said.
Coyote mating season ends in mid-March.
If you see a coyote that looks injured or needs help, you should leave it alone and contact the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in your area.