There’s no worse feeling than peering outside your kitchen window to see that coyotes have overrun your backyard. No matter what you do to try to keep them away, they always seem to find their way back onto your property.
Here are 8 ways you can keep coyotes away:
- Purchase a Solid Fence
- Keep Your Property Clean
- Use Coyote Repellent
- Bring Animals Inside
- Get a Guard Dog
- Use a Motion Activated Water Sprinkler
- Make Loud Noises
- Practice Hazing
In the ideal world, coyotes would never even consider coming onto your property. Luckily, there are several things you can do to discourage coyotes from coming onto your property altogether.
Keeping Coyotes Away
There’s a lot you can do to keep coyotes away. All it takes is being a little proactive when it comes to protecting your property and your family. If you’re looking to keep them away permanently, you’re going to have to spend a little bit of money.
It’s important to consider why coyotes linger around homes in the first place. By getting rid of what they’re looking for, you can better keep them away in the future. To handle the problem right now, you have to take the steps to physically deter them from your property.
1. Getting a Solid Fence
The first thing you’ll want to do to get rid of those pesky coyotes that are terrorizing your yard is getting a solid fence that they can’t get past.
- Get a fence that’s at least 7-feet high. Interestingly enough, coyotes can easily clear fencing by simply jumping. The Department of Natural Resources recommends that fencing be at least 6-feet tall 1. That means the average chain link fence will be no issue for any coyote that’s dedicated to finding his way on your property.
- Make sure the fence is at least 1-foot below the ground’s surface. In addition to being able to jump extremely high, coyotes are also great at digging. That means you’re going to want to make sure the fence extends below the surface of the ground. You might even want to use hardware cloth to keep them out if they do try digging their way through!
- Choose a flat and smooth material. As if coyotes weren’t agile enough, they can also climb most types of fences, especially chain link fences. A smoother texture will limit their ability to latch onto the fence and climb over!
- Add some extensions. Now that we know that coyotes can both jump and climb, there’s one more step that you can take to keep them out for good! By adding extensions to the top of your fence at a 45-degree angle outward, they won’t be able to get over your fence at all.
I recommend talking with your local supply store so you can actually see and tell them what you need. You’ll likely get the help you need so you don’t mistakenly order the incorrect marterials online.
Then, to make your fence even more pristine, you can look into something like the Windscreen4less Heavy Duty Privacy Screen Fence.
Most fences will keep out unwanted critters, but you’ll need to do a bit more work on getting one to combat coyotes. Remember, follow the guidelines and you’ll be in great shape.
2. Cleaning Up After Yourself
Unintentionally feeding coyotes is a common mistake for homeowners, and since they’re a highly intelligent species, they’ll associate your house with food.
The best thing you can do to keep coyotes away without spending any money is just cleaning up your yard and cleaning up any garbage that might be lying around. Cleaning your grill and keeping it inside your shed after use is one of the best ways to keep coyotes out. Cover all your garbage cans, and keep a separate bin to act as your compost container.
Here are a few more specific steps you can take:
- Clean up food and garbage. This is likely the major reason that coyotes are coming onto your property in the first place. When coyotes smell food or garbage, they’ll take advantage of anything they can get their paws on. Do your best to keep your garbage locked up and absolutely do NOT make a habit of feeding wild animals.
- Don’t leave your pets’ food outside. As we just mentioned, coyotes are pretty opportunistic. Any type of food that they smell, they’ll go after. Leaving cat or dog food outdoors might also let a coyote know that you have a small animal that they might want to prey on. Keep your pets safe and bring their food inside!
- Trim shrubs and plants. Coyotes love food, but they’re also always looking for new places to hideout. By keeping the shrubbery, trees, and plants on your property tame, there are fewer locations that they can hide and they’ll be less interested in your property altogether.
- Mow tall grass. This is really important. Coyotes love to hide in tall grass as it makes them feel more secure. When out, coyotes almost always stay in packs 2. The reason behind this is that coyotes are too weak to take on other animals individually. Trim tall grass, and they won’t want to feel vulnerable coming into your property.
- Lock up any structures on your property. Going off of the previous point, an unlocked shed or open structure is the perfect hiding spot for a group of coyotes. You’ll want to make sure that your structures are secured and not the ideal hiding spot for coyotes!
Cleaning up after yourself is the simplest thing you can do to keep coyotes away! It’ll also help to keep other types of rodents and small critters off of your property.
Coyotes will feed on anything — as in anything — even rotting fruits on the ground. So if you have fruit-bearing trees in your yard, make it a habit to pick up fruits and never let it rot to the ground. The less food there is in your yard, the less likely these varmints will visit your place.
3. Using Coyote Repellent
Another way to keep coyotes off of your property is to put something on your property that they’d like to avoid. This takes advantage of the smells they dislike and the things that scare them off!
Here’s are some great tips to naturally propel coyotes without endangering them at the same time.
- Wolf urine
- Cologne or Perfume
- Cayenne pepper
These might help to keep them away, but it’s always possible that a few stray coyotes will find their way into your yard. If that’s the case, there are other automatic repellents that’ll make your job much easier when it comes to getting rid of them!
- Get a motion-detecting light system. Coyotes absolutely hate bright lights, especially when they come on suddenly. If a coyote ends up on your property without you knowing, a motion-detecting light system is a great way to scare them off before they do any damage. The best part is that you don’t have to do anything other than setting up the system!
I’d recommend getting this Ring Floodlight Motion Sensor with a camera so you can see what’s going on in your yard once the light goes off.
- Get a motion-detecting sprinkler system. Like bright lights, coyotes very much dislike water. This type of system is very similar to the light system but rather turns on a set of sprinklers to scare them off instead. More on this one later.
You’ll have to shell out a little bit of money for each of these, but all of these methods require no additional work on your part other than putting the repellant or repellent system out in the yard.
4. Bringing Your Animals Inside
Coyotes are natural predators, meaning small animals are at risk when it comes to a wild coyote 3. That means you need to do everything in your power to keep your dogs and cats safe from rogue coyotes!
Here are some tips for keeping your animals safe and discouraging coyotes from coming onto your property.
- Don’t let your animals wander. Coyotes are very observant. They’ll notice when your small dog is allowed out in the yard to run free and when your cat comes and goes as he pleases. Given the fact that coyotes are predators, keeping your animals close by is the best option.
- Keep your livestock fenced in. Livestock animals are essentially sitting ducks in the minds of coyotes. They tend to not fight back and are really easy targets for agile and quick coyotes. Try to invest in a quality fence to keep your livestock in and the coyotes out!
- Bring all pet food inside. As we mentioned earlier, coyotes are drawn to the scents associated with different types of food. Bring any pet food and items indoors when you and your pet come inside. By leaving the food outside, you’re just inviting them over for a free meal.
It’s not just about keeping your pets contained, but about reducing the coyotes’ interest in your yard. When they don’t connect your yard with small animals, they won’t be as drawn to your yard as opposed to other food sources.
5. Getting a Guard Dog
When looking into getting a guard dog, you need to pick a dog built for the task. A good, strong, capable dog whose breed has a history of being a farm animal.
Our dog Vito comes from the Cane Corso family, which is notorious for being a sheep herding, working breed.
He’s playful, protective and loves to chase around animals that come onto our 52-acre rural property.
So, what type of guard dog is best for keeping coyotes out?
Well, most livestock guard dogs do a great job of recognizing predators and taking the necessary steps to keep them out. They’re even better if you have livestock animals that are easy targets for the local coyotes.
Here are some great dog breeds for protecting livestock and keeping the yard free of predators.
- Great Pyrenese
A very interesting note on Komodor dogs – a fascinating study tested out the effectiveness of Komodor dogs on protecting sheep from coyotes. The researchers found that the dogs helped in significantly deterring coyotes away from their livestock 4.
While it’d be nice, you can’t just take a regular dog and make him a guard dog overnight. These dogs need to be trained specifically for the task at hand in order to get the best results.
If you’re considering getting a guard dog, really be dedicated here to learn how to train them correctly. To be honest, we didn’t take the time to train Vito extremely well like I wish we did. He turned out amazing, but it would be nice if he had a little extra training when he was a puppy.
Take the time and invest in your animals. They’ll love it and you’ll reap the rewards later in life.
Dealing With Coyotes
Unfortunately, many coyotes are so used to adventuring onto different properties that they’re no longer afraid of human interaction. That means, for now, you might just have to deal with them as they decide to show up.
There are plenty of ways to deal with coyotes when they somehow sneak onto your property, all of which require scaring them away. When you use these methods enough, they’ll be more reluctant to enter your property and you’ll be able to keep your family and pets safe!
6. Using Water
As we mentioned earlier, coyotes absolutely hate water! Your best bet here is to use a motion sensor water sprinkler.
First off, I recommend this Orbit Motion Sensor Water Sprinkler.
It’s a powerful sprinkler that’ll do absolute wonder for keeping critters and coyotes off your yard.
Regardless, you’ll really want to get a motion sensor sprinkler here, as this will help deter coyotes and any other kind of pests that can eventually make it onto your property.
This is a pretty indirect way for you to go ahead and deter them without having to ACTIVELY keep them away. I really recommend this one as it works for anything coming onto your property.
If you pair the motion sensor water sprinkler with a motion sensor security light, you’ll be able to see just what is trying to enter your property!
Basically, any way that you can expose coyotes to water is positive. When they realize that they get wet when they come onto your property, they’ll be much less likely to do it again in the future.
7. Making Loud Sounds
As scary as they might be, coyotes are actually terrified of sudden loud sounds. If you have the presence of mind to gather some objects and make some noise, you just might be able to scare your coyotes off pretty easily.
Here are some ways you can scare coyotes off with some sound.
- Bang pots and pans together
- Use an air horn
- Blow a whistle
- Beep your car horn (if you’re in your car)
- Get an alarm
All you’re trying to do is make as much noise as possible. When the coyote eventually associates your land with sudden loud sounds, they probably won’t want to come back anytime soon.
Coyotes are vocal animals — they’re called North America’s Song Dog for a reason. That’s why using sounds to intimidate them is an effective hazing method that works well in places with a large population of coyotes.
Installing motion-activated alarms around your yard is the most cost-efficient way of hazing these varmints. Not only does it work in scaring them off, but it also frees you from the task of looking out at your yard every night.
If you don’t want to invest in these alarms, you can still build tools that’ll scare them off. Use anything that makes loud, startling sounds to haze coyotes. It’ll prevent them from being too comfortable in visiting your place, and may even stay away for good.
Obviously, it’ll be loud, so maybe talk to your neighbors before hand (or maybe not, your call).
One thing to remember, though, is that coyotes are highly intelligent mammals. Using the same tools over and over again may eventually lose its startling effect against coyotes. So if you’re using sounds to haze them, make sure that you use a combination of different tools to scare them off.
It might sound bad at first, but hazing coyotes is an extremely effective method of getting them off your property for good. Basically, you’re doing everything you can to intimidate the coyotes and discourage them from coming back.
There’s a good bit of evidence that supports hazing being effective 5. Even moreso, there’s further evidence that once you haze a coyote, you can change their behavior which helps prevent them from coming back to the same area again 6.
I call that a win.
Earlier, we went over many of the coyote hazing methods in the last few points. To haze a coyote, you should try the following methods.
- Throw objects
- Make loud sounds
- Spray them with water
- Yell at them
- Make yourself appear bigger than you really are
Basically, you’re trying to harass the coyote, but not in too much of an aggressive way. By staying persistent and hazing the coyote if you’re ever in that situation, he’ll be much less likely to come back in the future.
Remember that hazing coyotes doesn’t involve physically hurting them in any sense. All you’re trying to do is scare them enough to keep them away for good.
More Information About Coyotes
But what are coyotes? What are their physical attributes? What’s their usual behavior towards food and habitat? It would be best to answer these questions before we start working on how to keep them out. It’ll help us understand what we’re dealing with and the best practices when addressing this issue.
Despite their low gestation period, coyotes only breed once a year, but their population is still widely distributed throughout the United States. One contributing factor to this is their high adaptability in terms of their food and habitat. They are capable of living almost anywhere and feed on anything that they finFacts on Coyotes
To effectively deal with the problem, let’s focus on what these varmints are, what they do, why they do it, and how they do it.
Here are some facts that you can use when trying to keep coyotes off:
|Scientific Name||Canis latrans||It’s a Latin word that means “barking dog.”||CABI’s Invasive Species Compendium Coyote Identity|
|Common Name||American jackal|
|Some people also refer to coyotes as North America’s Song Dog, because of its ability to create a dozen different vocalizations. They’re a highly vocal animal, which we can use to haze them.||CABI’s Invasive Species Compendium Coyote Identity|
|Species Family||Canidae (Dog Family)||Coyotes can mate with other dogs. We call their offspring Coydogs.||Oxford Academic Journal of MammalogyVolume 52, Issue 2, 28 May 1971 7|
|Diet||Highly adaptive. Coyotes are true omnivores.||They can eat anything that’ll help them survive. Coyotes’ diet includes a wide variety of food, including vegetables, fruits, pets, chickens, rodents, rabbits, lizards, snakes, and even insects.||Project Coyote – Coyote Diet|
|Habitat||Highly adaptive. Wide population distribution throughout the United States.||Coyotes are highly adaptive to various environments. They can survive in forests, fields, deserts, mountains, swamps, tundras, tropicals, and even highly urbanized areas like New York and Los Angeles.||CABI’s Invasive Species Compendium Coyote Habitat|
|Active Hours||Any time of the day, but varies on the environment.||In urban areas, coyotes are more active at night—anywhere from dusk to dawn. In rural areas, coyotes hunt by day or night.||Project Coyote – Coyote Behavior|
|Weight||Coyote’s weight varies based on the environment.||In western states, adult males weigh from 25 to 45 lbs; adult females weigh from 22 to 35 lbs. In eastern states, adults are slightly bigger. Males weigh an average of 45 lbs; females weigh an average of 30 lbs.||CABI’s Invasive Species Compendium Coyote Description|
|Physicality||Being adaptive to their habitat, coyotes developed fast and agile physicality.||Adult coyotes can run at a speed of 25 to 40 mph. They can also jump as high as 6 feet. These attributes help them adapt to various environments, and are mainly responsible for their survival.||Project Coyote – Coyote Behavior|
|Reproduction||Most coyotes breed between February and March. Litters — or baby coyotes — are born between March and May.||The gestation period for coyotes — or their length of pregnancy — is similar to dogs. It lasts for 60 to 63 days. Coyotes are monogamous mammals, meaning they only have one mate throughout their lifetime.||Oxford Academic Journal of MammalogyVolume 89, Issue 3, 5 June 2008 8|
Remember These Things – And Share Them!
Imagine yourself doing all the work, then find out that your neighbors are encouraging their visitation. Keeping coyotes out only works if the neighborhood is working together to keep them out. Even if you follow all of these methods, it’ll be useless if your neighbors aren’t doing the same.
Share some tips on how they can keep coyotes out of their yards. With more people working together in hazing these animals, it’ll be easier to keep them out and maintain their natural fear of humans.
Remember, the more they become habituated with humans, the harder it will be for you to keep them out. Sometimes, improper handling of coyotes within the community will make it impossible to deter them, regardless of the methods that you’re using.
Keep yourself secure and don’t let coyotes get the best of you. Rember these key things and you’ll be just fine.
- Install a decent fence that coyotes can’t maneuver.
- Keep garbage and food out of your yard as much as possible.
- Use coyote repellent or deterrent to keep them away!
- Bring your animals inside to prevent predatory coyote hunting behaviors.
- Get a guard dog to keep coyotes away
- Use hazing methods to safely deter the coyotes
If you’re ever in the presence of a coyote, be sure to call your local animal control or Department of Natural Resources or wildlife professional so they can assist you.
- Bekoff, M., & Wells, M. C. (1980). The social ecology of coyotes. Scientific American, 242(4), 130-151.
- Linhart, S. B., Sterner, R. T., Carrigan, T. C., & Henne, D. R. (1979). Komondor guard dogs reduce sheep losses to coyotes: a preliminary evaluation. Rangeland Ecology & Management/Journal of Range Management Archives, 32(3), 238-241.
- Bonnell, M. A., & Breck, S. W. (2017). Using resident-based hazing programs to reduce human-coyote conflicts in urban environments. Human–Wildlife Interactions, 11(2), 5.
- Bonnell, M. A., & Breck, S. (2016). Using coyote hazing at the community level to change coyote behavior and reduce human-coyote conflict in urban environments. In Proceedings of the Vertebrate Pest Conference (Vol. 27, No. 27).
- Mengel, R. M. (1971). A study of dog-coyote hybrids and implications concerning hybridization in Canis. Journal of Mammalogy, 52(2), 316-336.
- Carlson, D. A., & Gese, E. M. (2008). Reproductive biology of the coyote (Canis latrans): integration of mating behavior, reproductive hormones, and vaginal cytology. Journal of Mammalogy, 89(3), 654-664.