Coyote sightings in the winter months are “normal” in Indiana, the state’s Department of Natural Resources said.
Coyotes are “more active” in the winter, as they look for new homes or look to breed. Bare vegetation increases the chances people will spot them out and about, DNR said.
Coyotes should “not cause alarm,” though, according to the DNR. Even though they live in all parts of the state, including urban areas, coyotes generally avoid people.
“Coyotes are an important part of Indiana’s wildlife community and provide benefits by helping control rodent populations and cleaning up carrion,” DNR said.
“Where people are, coyotes follow. Coyotes like to eat animals and plants that thrive around yards and homes. Their diet includes rabbits, mice, fruit, and squirrels. They thrive around people because of the abundant food that comes with human development. Coyotes are a common member of Indiana’s urban wildlife community, as are raccoons, red foxes, and opossums.”
DNR said to prevent coyotes, remove food and water sources from property, and keep pets leashed or contained. If you spot a coyote, “make it uncomfortable” by scaring it.
Follow these quick tips for making your yard less attractive to coyotes:
- Clean up fallen fruit from trees or gardens.
- Keep garbage secure.
- Make sure pet food and treats are not left outside.
- Take down bird feeders if you see a coyote around your yard; they could be attracted to the rodents eating the seeds.
- Never intentionally feed a coyote; it could lose its fear of people.
If you see a coyote, try to make it uncomfortable:
- Wave your arms.
- Spray it with a hose.
- Throw tennis balls or small stones, but don’t throw anything that could be food, like apples.
- Carry a jar of coins or a small air horn to make noise.
Making a coyote feel unwelcome around people can help it maintain its natural fear of humans. Never corner or chase a coyote — they should always have a clear escape path to get away from you. Keep pets leashed, in a kennel with a secure top, or indoors to reduce the possibility of a negative interaction with any wildlife, including coyotes.