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Posted on: February 23, 2023

Coyotes in Urban Areas


Coyotes are able to survive in close proximity to humans and make use of the urban environment. Often drawn into urban areas by abundant food items, coyotes may risk close encounters with people for available fruits, birdseed, pet food, and garbage as well as prey such as rabbits, squirrels, and mice. Here are some safety tips from the DNR to help reduce the risk of conflict with coyotes.

Removal of food handouts or food opportunities

    1. Do not directly feed coyotes or any wildlife
    2. Contain garbage in a closed receptacle
    3. Do not compost meat, poultry, fish, or dairy and use a container that is not accessible to wildlife
    4. Cleanup spilled bird feed
    5. Cleanup any unused fruit from the ground from fruit trees

How to keep your pets safe

  1. Do not leave pets unattended outside
  2. If pets are in a fenced in yard be sure the fence is 5-6ft with a ‘coyote roller’ type structure on top or 8 foot fence of material that is not climbable
  3. Coyotes are more aggressive in winter and spring during breed and pup rearing seasons
  4. If you see a coyote while walking a dog:
    • Do not let the dog engage with the coyote
    • Keep the dog nearby or if it is a small dog pick it up
    • Haze the coyote according to the steps below

If you encounter a coyote

  1. Make loud noises at the coyote such as yelling, shaking a can of coins, whistles, air horns, etc.
  2. Make yourself look big by raising your arms in the air or waving an object in your hands
  3. Throw objects towards the coyote such as sticks or balls
  4. Use a garden house or squirt gun to spray water at the coyote
  5. Do not chase the coyote, but let it know that you are serious
  6. Do not hide behind something when hazing: make sure the coyote knows it is a human that is hazing
  7. Do not run away
  8. Continue to haze until the coyote leaves
  9. Haze anytime a coyote is seen in an area that it should not be
  10. Do NOT haze a coyote if it appears sick/injured, is cornered, or is with pups

Report aggressive behavior to the city

  1. A sighting of a coyote by itself is not reason for alarm: coyotes do live in cities
  2. Sightings near dawn or dusk are to be expected and do not need to be reported
  3. Frequent sightings during the day can be a sign of a more habituated coyote and should be reported
  4. A coyote approaching people or pets should be reported
  5. Report any sick or injured coyotes


For more information about coyotes or techniques to reduce negative interactions with coyotes, please reach out to Iowa DNR Biologists Andy Kellner (515.975.8318, or Vince Evelsizer (641.231.1522,


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