Town’s new video demonstrates what to do if you encounter a coyote

Eastern Coyote
Town’s new video demonstrates what to do if you encounter a coyote

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Gisele Shaw

Gisele Shaw

Gisele Shaw is the Manager of Corporate Communication for the town of Oakville since 2002. Prior to working for the town she worked for Halton Region as a communications specialist. She is a graduate of Humber College.

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While seeing a coyote in Oakville is not necessarily cause for alarm, there is an understandable concern when coyotes come a bit too close for comfort. The town’s new coyote hazing video explains what to do if you encounter a coyote on your property, and demonstrates how to “haze” or scare away coyotes so they do not feel comfortable being around people.

Though coyotes are commonly found in urban areas such as Oakville, they are usually wary animals and are not considered to be a significant risk to people. However, intentional and unintentional feeding, tolerating them on our property, and allowing pets to roam freely contribute to coyotes losing their inhibitions towards people and becoming more brazen around domestic pets.

“With a healthy fear of humans, coyotes can co-exist peacefully with us. This short video gives some simple instructions on how we can help maintain a coyote’s fear of humans and deter them from approaching our backyards and play spaces,” said Cindy Toth, director, Environmental Policy.

Hazing involves using actions and loud noises to make the coyote feel uncomfortable and unwelcome. The video shows the simplest method of hazing a coyote is being loud, appearing large and shouting at it to “go away!” Other techniques include spraying with a hose, throwing small sticks, or waving a rake or other large or shiny objects.

While regular hazing around your home and neighbourhood is important, the video advises not to haze coyotes in their natural environment such as woodlands where they may have dens. Staying on trails and keeping dogs on a short leash is especially important this time of year when coyote pups may be in the den or out seeking food such as grasshoppers and mice in wooded or grassy areas.

The video also recommends residents ensure their property is an unwelcome environment by removing attractants such as pet food, compost, and brush piles, and not leaving pets unattended outdoors.

The video was produced in response to an increase in coyote sightings in Oakville last winter and joins a number of measures the town has put in place to help minimize coyote disturbances. The town’s coyote public awareness program includes:

  1. coyote awareness signs in key areas where coyotes have been sighted;
  2. community workshops and education session in areas where increased coyote activity is reported;
  3. wildlife-proof lids on garbage bins throughout the town;
  4. notices to residents in key areas as a reminder to not dump household refuse or food waste in town bins, parks or trails;
  5. enforced town by-laws including littering, property standards, and dogs off leash;
  6. a coyote reporting form and mapping feature on the town’s website.
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