Coyotes

Coyote concerns

Alberta Fish and Wildlife manages coyotes across Alberta. Please contact a Fish and Wildlife Officer through the Report-A-Poacher line at 1-800-642-3800 for the following:

• If you see a coyote that is so sick or injured that it can’t move
• If a coyote is behaving aggressively towards people, such as nipping or biting

Other general concerns or questions about coyotes can be directed to the County. Our staff can help educate and identify options for coyote management on a case-by-case basis.

The coyote resembles a medium-sized dog, grey or reddish grey with rusty-coloured legs, feet and ears. The throat and belly are whitish in colour, while its nose is more pointed and it has a bushier tail than domestic dogs. Their tail is held down between its legs when running. 

Hybrids called coy-dogs are a cross-breed of coyote and domestic dog. Their offspring show a variety of coat colours and are not as afraid of humans.

Image of a coyote in a field

Behaviour

Coyotes have amazing stamina and an ability to adapt to civilization, which ensures their survival in many environments. Mating occurs in January and February; gestation lasts approximately 63 days, with about six pups born per litter. During the mating season, coyotes are highly visible as they travel.

Coyotes tend to build their dens in secluded, well-drained sites, but will also reside under buildings, in culverts, abandoned vehicles, or other protected sites within civilization. 

Coyotes are opportunistic in the farmyard and will consume cats and small dogs. They prefer to hunt in pairs and groups for larger prey, including deer and domestic animals (calves, sheep, llamas, dogs, and cats). They will readily consume insects, reptiles, berries, grain, compost, and barnyard wastes.

Reasons for human / coyote interactions

There are several reasons that lead to human and coyote interactions. Coyotes are curious and constantly in search of food. They view human activities such as garbage disposal or livestock productions as a food source. They are also territorial in defending den sites and will challenge free-ranging dogs. Sometimes, a sick or injured coyote pup will seek out a warm building or easy access to food.

Management

In rural settings where bylaws allow, firearms may be used to control or deter coyotes. Please refer to Firearm Control Bylaw 3-2014.

County staff can help educate and identify options for coyote management on a case-by-case basis, including tips on trapping, snaring and other deterrent options.

Further information:

County Connect

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Last updated: Thursday, December 05, 2019
Page ID: 38901