Keeping Coyotes at Bay
Once confined to just the plains, this solitary canine is now found throughout the United States. They have learned to live with man by being active when man is not — when it's dark. Because the coyote's diet consists mostly of small animals and rodents, they could help your garden more than hurt it. Their presence may be more of a concern to pet and livestock owners, but they can do their share of damage in the garden as well. Coyotes bear young in spring. At that time, they are particularly active and aggressive while looking for food and protecting their young. They aren't picky eaters. In addition to small animals, they eat fruits, such as pears, and vegetables, such as melons. Look for tooth marks and dog-like tracks to determine if a coyote has been visiting your garden.
Prevention and Control
- Keep garbage cans secured and remove pet dishes at night.
- Keep cats indoors (this is also beneficial to the bird population).
- Ensure that chickens and livestock are secured.
- Cover vegetables at night and pick up windfall fruits.
- Coyotes are not easy to scare off, but may be frightened by large guard dogs, bright lights, or sounds.
- Exclude coyotes from the garden with tall (at least 6 feet) fencing.
- If approached by a coyote in your yard, bang pots, turn on the sprinklers, and yell in a firm, deep voice. Be as "big" and loud as possible to deterr future visits.
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