What to do if you encounter a coyote

Coyotes are more aggressive towards dogs at this time of year

You may have noticed more coyotes in and around town recently, and there’s a reason for that — they’re looking for mates.

January and February is coyote mating season.

“Coyotes may gather in groups, looking for mates,” said Ina Lucila, spokesperson for Alberta Fish and Wildlife in a written statement.

The animals tend to be more territorial and aggressive towards dogs at this time of year, so dog owners should take measures to protect their pooches.

A group of coyotes may try to entice a dog away in order to attack it to eliminate the threat.

“Keeping your dog leashed at all times is the best way to keep it safe.”

If you encounter a coyote, Lucila suggests you:

· Make the experience unpleasant for the animal. Make it feel unwelcome in your neighbourhood. Even if you are not concerned about problems with coyotes, they should not feel comfortable around people or homes.

· Respond to their presence aggressively by making yourself appear larger. Wave your arms overhead, or thrust long objects like a walking stick toward the coyote.

· Throw rocks, sticks or other objects toward the animal. Shout in a deep voice and maintain eye contact.

· If the coyote continues to approach, back away slowly and move toward buildings or human activity if the coyote continues to approach.

· Do not turn away or run. This will encourage the coyote to chase you.

If a coyote is acting aggressively towards people, such as nipping or biting, or is too sick or injured to move, call a Fish and Wildlife officer through the Report-A Poacher line at 1-800-642-3800.

There have not been any reports or complaints to the Ponoka RCMP detachment regarding coyotes in town for the last two months, according to Cpl. Chad Pushie.

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