Coyotes are creeping up everywhere nowadays. As humans expand their territory, coyotes trail right behind us, picking up scraps and staying just out of sight. No one wants to get close and cozy with a wild animal, so how exactly can you keep coyotes off your property for good?
One of the main reasons coyotes venture into our yard is because they find something attractive. To keep them out, we need to remove those attractants, such as keeping pet food and water inside, keeping your grass trimmed, hazing, and sealing hideaway areas beneath your porch.
Have a coyote problem? We got you covered! We’ll go over the 11 BEST ways to keep coyotes off your property for good.
When Are Coyotes Most Active?
Before we get into all the ways to deter coyotes from the yard, let’s touch on some basic coyote behavior.
Knowing when to expect coyotes in your yard can be as important as knowing how to deter them. If coyotes are most active at night and you put deterrents up only during the daytime, they won’t be as effective.
So, when are coyotes most active?
For the most part, coyotes are most active at night in areas where they are around people. This is an adaptation, as coyotes were originally diurnal creatures (more active during the day).
These smart canines have learned that conflicts with humans are less likely to happen if they’re only active when most people are asleep. You can also expect to see coyotes at dusk and dawn when a lot of their prey are most active.
You can learn more about places where coyotes nest in our article: 5 Places Where Coyotes Sleep at Night.
How To Deter Coyotes From Your Yard For Good
Whether you’re currently dealing with a coyote problem or you just want to be prepared, we’re going to walk you through how to keep these clever animals out of your yard for good.
The most important thing you can take away from this article is that you’ll want to combine a few different techniques for it to be most effective. If you pick up your pet food but leave a water dish out, you’re still going to attract coyotes.
Let’s get to it!
Keep Your Pet Supplies Indoors To Keep Coyotes Away
If coyotes are in your yard, there’s a reason for it. There’s something about your yard that makes them come back week after week.
The main culprit? FOOD!
Coyotes are opportunistic animals. They’re going to go for the easiest meal they can find that spends the least amount of energy.
According to the Colorado Division of Wildlife, keeping pet food, dishes, water bowls, and other sources of food and water inside is an effective way to keep coyotes out of your yard.
If you must feed your pet outside, be sure to pick up the food as soon as they are done eating and clean up any spills. This will prevent coyotes from dining and dashing over and over.
Even if you don’t have a pet, there are other ways you may be attracting coyotes to your yard…
If you have a specific animal, like a cat, check out our article: 9 Simple Ways To Keep Coyotes Away From Your Cat.
Keep Bird Feeders Clean To Prevent Coyote Encounters
Don’t worry, coyotes don’t eat birdseed. However, birdfeeders provide food to something that coyotes love to hunt: rodents and rabbits.
If you’ve ever put out a bird feeder, then you know how messy birds are with their seeds. They’re constantly landing, fluttering up, and touching back down. All the while, knocking birdseed to the ground.
The small seeds and kernels that fall to the ground are likely to attract small animals like mice, rats, squirrels, and rabbits. Rabbits and mice will especially attract coyotes, as they are some of their main dietary sources.
But is it possible to keep birdfeeders clean?
One option is to simply take your bird feeder down. Boo. This will eliminate any temptation by the local rodent gang to come near. However, most of us don’t want to put our feeders away because of a few pesky coyotes.
If you want to keep your feeder out, you can purchase something like Black Bird Seed Catcher Tray. This is a tray that hangs below your bird feeder and catches all the falling seeds.
This product has adjustable chains for any size necessary. The tray is deep, so even if some birds decide to feed off the tray they are unlikely to spill the seeds.
Coyotes Are Attracted To Spilled Trash
Just like raccoons and opossums, coyotes aren’t afraid to get their paws dirty looking for food. They’ll scrounge through trash for scraps and can make a real mess while doing it!
However, according to the University of Illinois, coyotes are even more attracted to the rodents that feed on spilled trash. Just like the birdfeeder, spilled trash may not attract coyotes directly, but they will attract a coyote’s favorite food source: mice and rats.
There are tons of ways you can make your trash less accessible to coyotes, rodents, and all sorts of pesky critters out there. One option is to keep it stored inside, such as in a shed, until garbage day arrives.
This option might not be possible for some folks that live in apartment buildings or those that do not have a garage or shed to utilize.
If that’s the case, you can purchase something like Blazer Brand Strong Strap Universal Garbage Can Lid Lock Utility Strap. This item requires you to hand drill holes in your garbage to secure the strap to it, but once secured, your trash will be critter-proof.
If you’d like to learn more about specific coyote repellents, check out our article: 4 Best Coyote Repellents (And How To Use Them).
Use Frightening Devices To Deter Coyotes
Coyote attacks are a lot rarer than news and media would have you believe. These willy canines are pretty timid and tend to shy away from new objects and stimuli.
Because of this, frightening devices can be an effective technique when combined with other deterrents to keep coyotes away.
So, what exactly are frightening devices?
Frightening devices can range from wind chimes and hanging pots and pans to motion-sensor lights and sprinkler systems.
A 2009 study tested the effectiveness of light, sound, and a combination of light and sound in deterring coyotes. What they found was that light was a better deterrent than sound, but that both could be quickly overcome with repeated exposure.
This overcoming of fear is known as habituation and happens when coyotes continually test the waters on frightening deterrents. Once they know they won’t get hurt by the sound or the light, they’ll continue skulking around your property.
Another option for frightening devices is to use moving objects such as fladry or marking flags. This option is geared more toward folks who have wire fences for livestock, but it can also work for the suburban household.
To use moving objects, you can try something like Zozen Marking Flags and set them up on your property. A 2019 study recommends spacing marking flags no more than 12 inches apart to create a good barrier.
Similar to lights and sounds, coyotes may become habituated to these objects. That’s why it’s important to combine this technique with one of the other ones we talk about in this article.
If you’re looking for more ideas on frightening devices, check out our article 5 Things That Coyotes Are Afraid Of (And How To Use Them).
Keep Your Yard Clean To Keep Coyotes At Bay
Coyotes are elusive animals. They don’t want to see you, and they don’t want you to see them. They’ll use anything they can find for cover, including tall grass, bushes, and brush piles.
An easy way to keep coyotes out of your yard is to mow your grass regularly. If you have bushes in your yard, keep them trimmed underneath for about 6 inches. Clear any brush piles or unused materials from your yard.
Keeping your yard clean also helps keep other critters like mice, rats, and rabbits out of your yard. And we now know that coyotes just love to hunt them.
You can learn more about why a messy yard attracts coyotes in our article: 3 Simple Reasons Why Coyotes Are Attracted To Your Yard.
Use Hazing To Teach Coyotes To Fear You
Hazing can certainly be cruel in high school and college, but for coyotes, it’s a necessity for both your safety and the safety of the coyote.
The objective is never to hurt the coyote. What you want to do is make the coyote remember that people are dangerous and should be avoided. This helps reduce human-coyote conflicts which almost always end badly for the coyote.
Note: It is never recommended to approach a coyote. However, you can use hazing if you accidentally run into a coyote on your property or elsewhere outdoors.
Hazing should only be done if a coyote on your property does not immediately vacate at the sight of you. Typically, if a coyote sees you they will run away. If they don’t, you may need to take a couple of steps to remind the coyote you should be feared.
To use this technique, you can throw anything at the coyote’s feet: rocks, sticks, whatever is available. Make sure the coyote sees you – you don’t want to be hiding behind a bush while you do this.
Make yourself appear as big as possible, wave your hands, shout, make noise. Do NOT turn your back on a coyote or run away from one. This will only encourage the coyote to chase you.
Again, this option should only be used if you happen upon a coyote. You should not approach a coyote to haze it. It is better to leave it alone if possible.
Here’s one of our articles on scaring coyotes that goes more in-depth on the topic: 7 Simple Steps to Scare Coyotes Away for Good.
Keep Pets Inside & Supervise While Outside
We already discussed pet food and pet water being an attractant to coyotes. But did you know your actual pets can attract coyotes too?
Small dogs and cats are especially vulnerable to coyotes. Large dogs are typically safe but can fall prey in certain situations.
If you let your pets outside to free-roam, be especially vigilant around dusk and dawn. Try to get all your pets inside before dark, and if possible provide them with an emergency escape route in case they encounter a coyote outside.
Fallen Fruit Will Attract Coyotes
It’s hard to believe a top-notch predator like coyotes will eat fruits and veggies, but it’s true! Coyotes will snack on apples, berries, watermelon, and a host of other tasty treats.
While having a fruit tree in your yard is an amazing way to get fresh fruit on a daily, if you don’t pick up the fallen fruit, you are inviting a coyote in for a lunchtime snack.
The same goes for your hard-worked vegetable garden. Be sure to fence in your garden, preferably with something at least 5 feet high.
Seal Areas Beneath Buildings To Prevent Coyote Denning
Any homeowner knows their ‘to-do list’ is about as endless as time. However, if you have something like ‘fix hole beneath porch’ on your list, you better get it done if you want to deter coyotes from your yard!
Coyotes love finding hiding places to hang out during the day or nap in the late hours of the night. Openings beneath your porch, under your home, or under a shed, provide the perfect place for our intrusive canine guests.
Try to seal these areas off if you can, or place frightening devices near the openings to discourage them from coming close.
Use Scent Deterrents To Keep Coyotes Out Of Your Yard
Scent deterrents are effective against a wide range of animals. However, similar to using frightening devices, they’re not quite as effective as a physical barrier or practicing good housekeeping in your yard.
Our article The Five Scents That Coyotes Hate (And How To Use Them) is a good reference if you want to check out some of the best scent deterrents for coyotes.
To highlight the key points, the top five scents to repel coyotes include wolf urine, white vinegar, strong perfumes, hot peppers, and bear repellents.
Scent repellents will have to be reapplied often to remain effective. You’ll also need to replace them after harsh weather conditions as they can be easily washed away with the rain. Scent deterrents are a great add-on to any coyote deterring technique.
Use A Coyote-Proof Fence To Repel Coyotes
Fences are expensive! If you’re not familiar with handy work, you’ll certainly have to hire a contractor to build it as well.
However, if you’re having trouble with those pesky coyotes, it may be time to start saving up for a coyote-proof fence.
Fences should be at least 5 feet tall with as little ornamentation as possible. Coyotes can climb fences with grooves, supports, or links. You should also place a metal apron six inches below the surface of the fence and bend it outward in an ‘L’ shape to prevent digging.
If you already have a fence, you can purchase something like Ultimation Coyote Roller Kit, which is mounted on the top of the fence. If a coyote tries to jump or climb over your fence, they’ll hit the rollers and fall back down.
If you’d like to build a fence, check out our guide: Building The Best Coyote Proof Fence in 4 Simple Steps.
Coyotes can be persistent when they know food, water, or shelter is nearby. The fact is, even if you eliminate a coyote in your yard if you continue to provide those three necessities, they will keep coming back.
To truly keep coyotes out of your yard for good, you need to make your yard as least attractive as possible to coyotes and their prey.
The 11 best ways to keep coyotes away from your yard for good include:
- Keep pet food and water inside
- Keep trash secure
- Mow the grass & trim hedges
- Hazing techniques
- Keep pets indoors at night & supervise during the day
- Pick up fallen fruit
- Keep bird feeding areas clean
- Use scent deterrents
- Use a coyote-proof fence or coyote rollers
- Seal areas beneath porches/sheds
- Frightening Devices – flandry, lights, sprinkler system, flags
It may take some time, but once coyotes realize there are no resources in your yard, they’re sure to scamper off to a different location.
If you’ve tried these methods before and can’t seem to get rid of your coyote problem, you can always contact a professional for help. Our nationwide pest control finder can get you in contact with a wildlife pro near you.
Darrow, P. A., & Shivik, J. A. (2009, January 15). Bold, shy, and persistent: Variable coyote response to light and sound stimuli. Applied Animal Behavior Science, 116(1), 82-87. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0168159108001901
Knowlton, F. F., Gese, E. M., & Jaeger, M. M. (1999). Coyote depredation control: An interface between biology and management. Journal of Range Management, 52(5), 398-412. https://repository.arizona.edu/bitstream/handle/10150/643924/9435-9316-1-PB.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
Young, J. K., Draper, J., & Breck, S. (2019, June 12). Mind the gap: Experimental tests to improve the efficacy of fladry for nonlethal management of coyotes. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 43(2), 265-271. https://wildlife.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/wsb.970
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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