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

Image of a coyote in a field


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, and up to six pups can be 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 in close proximity to urban development and associated human activity.

Coyotes are opportunistic in can consume a wide variety of prey. 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, fallen fruit from trees, birdseed and barnyard wastes.

Coexisting with coyotes

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. Den sites can lead to escorting behaviour when a coyote or its mate will make sure you are leaving its territory. Sometimes, a sick or injured coyote pup will seek out a warm building or easy access to food.

    • Don’t leave pet food or edible garbage out
    • Clean up after your pet. Pet feces is an attraction for a variety of wildlife species
    • Remove attractants from your yard, such as fallen apples or bird seed that entices rodents or birds
    • Manage compost to prevent wildlife access
    • Don’t allow pets to run uncontrolled as they are seen as prey or competition and may be attacked. Keep pets leashed when in parks and pathways.
    • Talk to your neighbours about following the same preventative measures
    • Please sueprvise children in areas with known coyote activity
    • Teach your children the tips below for what to do in a possible coyote encounter
    • In rural areas, prevent your dog from free-ranging during the January to February coyote breeding season
    • Make the experience unpleasant for the animal
    • Keep dogs on leash
    • Make yourself appear large – wave your arms or a walking stick at the animal
    • Stand your ground – throw rocks, sticks, and other objects
    • Startle the animal with noise such as a blast whistle or small air horn
    • Carry dog spray when in areas coyotes frequent
    • Shout in a deep voice and maintain eye contact
    • If the coyote continues to approach, back away slowly and move toward buildings or other people
    • Do not turn away or run as it will encourage the animal to chase
    • Female coyotes will defend their den sites and young so use extra caution in this situation


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. Depending on location and circumstance, this can include information on trapping, as well as other deterrent and exclusion options.

Note: Trapping of any kind requires a provincial Damage Control Licence or a valid Fur Management Licence.

For more information:
Damage control licences and permits
Up-to-date hunting and trapping regulations

Further information:

Phone: 780-464-8080
Submit a coyote issue inquiry

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Last updated: Friday, February 16, 2024
Page ID: 38901