Encountering Coyote: What to Do

by Jane Ahrens

Avoid Conflicts with Coyotes NYS DEC – New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
February 20, 2022

Coyote Conflicts

The Eastern coyote is firmly established in New York. They live in New York as an integral part of our ecosystems. People and coyotes can usually coexist if coyotes’ natural fear of people is maintained. Coyotes provide many benefits to New Yorkers through observation, photography, hunting, and trapping; however, not all interactions are positive. While most coyotes avoid interacting with people, some coyotes in suburbia become emboldened and appear to have lost their fear of people. This can result in a dangerous situation with pets and young children at the greatest risk.

Below are steps you should take to reduce and prevent coyote problems from occurring. For additional information see our nuissance wildlife species page.

Take Steps to Avoid Conflicts with Coyotes NYS DEC – New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

February 1, 2021

It’s that time of year again when many of New York’s resident coyotes are setting up dens for pups that will arrive this spring. Eastern coyotes are well adapted to suburban and even some urban environments, and for the most part, they will avoid contact with people. However, conflicts with people and pets may result as coyotes tend to be territorial around den sites during the spring through mid-summer. They need to search almost constantly to provide food for their young.

Coyotes are found throughout the state and are an integral part of our natural ecosystem. Incidents with people or pets are rare, but it is important to be aware of the presence of coyotes so you can take steps to reduce the chance that a negative interaction occurs.

Awareness is key to minimizing potential conflicts. To reduce or prevent conflicts with coyotes, we encourage New Yorkers to take the following steps:

  • Do not feed coyotes.
  • Remove sources of food in your yard including pet food and birdseed.
  • Do not allow coyotes to approach people or pets—make loud noises and wave your arms if one comes near.
  • Supervise pets while outdoors—do not let them roam free.
  • Contact your local police department and DEC regional office for assistance if coyotes are exhibiting “bold” behaviors and have little or no fear of people. Seeing a coyote occasionally throughout the year is not evidence of bold behavior. 

More and more people have seen coyotes recently on Fishers – in their back yards, and while walking with and without their dogs.

See a list below. If you have a sighting please email finyinfo@gmail.com and we will add it to the list.

What should you do if you encounter a coyote? It boils down to this advice:

  1. Leash your dog – Pick up and carry a small dog.
  2. Stand tall and assertive – Maintain eye contact.
  3. Haze the coyote until it leaves the area – make noise, stomp feet, flap jacket, wave flashlight.

Be sure to visit this website, Urban Coyote Initiative that expounds upon these simple points mentioned above, has a lot of good information, and includes breeding season info, and more.

4. Report overly brazen coyotes

If a coyote comes too close, follows you for too long, acts overly assertive or does not respond to hazing, report the coyote. The coyote may have become habituated to humans or is being fed by someone, which can result in aggressive behavior. It may be that the coyote can be hazed by city officials to reverse its behavior or, as unfortunately is often the case, may have to be removed.

Reporting on Fishers Island 
a. Coyote Behavior of Immediate Concern – call 1st to the NY State Trooper at 631.788.7600, if no answer call the FI Constables Joe Brock @ 631.788.5674, Jeff Edwards @ 631.788.7318. They can help and are obligated to report to the NY State DEC in Suffolk County before taking action.
b. Coyote Behavior of General Concern – call the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation in Suffolk County @ (631) 444-0250.

5. Steps to keep coyotes away from your neighborhood

  • Do not let your pet outside alone, especially at night.
  • Do not keep pet food outside.
  • Haze coyotes every time you see them, regardless of if you have a pet with you (unless it is during pupping season, February to July).
  • Avoid having any attractants in your yard, which means picking up fallen fruit from trees, cleaning the BBQ grill, securing lids on trash cans, covering your compost piles, and removing anything else that might be a food, water, or shelter source for coyotes.

If you have a sighting you would like to add, please email the date and location to finyinfo@gmail.com

Click the button above to learn more.

2021 Coyote Sightings on Fishers Island

(only a fraction of recent sightings are listed here and previous years are listed at the bottom of this page):

1/31/21: Herrick driveway by Lucinda Herrick
2/8/21: On Stoney Beach in Hay Harbor by Liz Furse
5/1/21: Dead female likely struck by car found on Equestrian Ave.
5/10/21: North Hill sighting by Jennifer Russell
5/11/21: 6:00 pm South Beach Road by Herrick’s, thru the fence to Race Rock Garden office by Tommy Doyen
7/1/21: Gary residence on Top of the World @ 6:30 PM
7/17/21: Holiday House at Hay Harbor, “In the middle of the night, we heard barking and we thought it was a dog. It sounded like it was coming from the water. We couldn’t see anything but then grabbed our boat light and finally found a coyote out on a rock on our old pier (picture attached). I don’t know if it’s from the north hill pack or another. It was gone by morning.” Tom & Elisabeth Parker
7/19/21: Two at 5:00 pm at Foley’s on Castle Road just past the rainbow, East End
7/31/21: We had a coyote wandering around this morning at the end of Reservoir Road near the ferry. We let the neighbors with small dogs know! Lindsay Conant Betancourt
8/31/21: Coyotes howling at the moon (outside Beach House) above Middle Farms. FYI, at about 12:30 am last night, a pack of coyotes were howling at the moon, or more likely some cornered prey, outside our beach house – we think a group of 3-4. They sounded young, but we could find no carcass this am. Keep an eye on your pets, if nearby…from William Kelly

A message from the Fishers Island Conservancy’s Adam Mitchell

I can understand that coyotes can be frightening for residents on the island. Coyotes can be beneficial to the island by keeping rodent populations down and under control, much like foxes do on the mainland and the mink have done on Fishers. It is also important to note that coyotes were once native to this part of the US; the coyotes returning to New England may be a different population, but so were the wild turkeys and white-tailed deer that people appreciate being in the wild. The truth of the matter is, even if residents take measures to remove coyotes on the island, there will always be opportunities for them to come over from the mainland next year, so it will be important that residents and some small population of coyotes find a way to coexist.

I think the recommendations highlighted in the urban coyote project are useful ways to ensure healthy and safe coexistence. We should stress the importance of leashing dogs and keeping cats and other small pets indoors to maintain pet safety, and above all, encourage residents not to approach or feed any coyotes they may see.

Coyotes can quickly lose their fear of people if they start to associate humans with food or shelter, and that can lead to conflict. So removing outdoor food (including dog food), keeping trash bags in cans or indoors until ready for disposal, and refraining from littering will help reduce interactions with coyotes. If this sounds like this would also help the environment, well, sometimes what’s good for you or me is good for the planet.

Adam Mitchell
Associate Wildlife Biologist ®
Assistant Professor of Entomology
Department of Wildlife, Sustainability, and Ecosystem Sciences
Tarleton State University

2019 Coyote Sightings on Fishers Island:

Reservoir Road, July
Madeline Avenue
Winthrop Drive, August
Elizabeth Field, September
Hay Harbor Golf Course, July, August, September
Navy Yard Fence
Wilderness Point
Clay Point Road, August
Top of the World
Brooks Point
North Hill, September 1

October 11, 2019 a woman encountered 4 coyotes at the airport in the early morning with her small dog. She was able to immediately scare (haze) off 3 by waving her coat but another lingered longer.

2020 Coyote Sightings on Fishers Island

10/14/20 @ 5:45 pm: Warden’s on Equestrian and up Ocean Ave by Tracy & Joe Brock
10/24/20 evening: Whistler Avenue Fort Stretch by Marlin & Ellie Bloethe
10/25/20: Eating apples at McAllister’s on the West End by Tracy Brock
10/29/20 @ 11:00 am: Bottom of Shingle Hill on Ferguson property by Reyn Parsons
10/30/20 daytime: Parson’s at HHC by Carl Scroxton
10/30/20 daytime: Cushing and across to Union Chapel Thrift by Dave Pollack
10/31/20 @ 3:40 am: Behind the Movie Theater 3:40 am on camera c/o Carol Giles

10/31/20: A small pet was taken and killed late Saturday afternoon, October 31, 2020 by a young coyote 20 feet in front of the owner’s parked car while unloading at the residence at Clay Point Road at Cedar Ridge Road during daylight. The coyote was not dissuaded by human activity or the presence of another large dog. Please be aware of all your small pets.

11/1/2030 @ 7:30: Middle Farms; Driving Range 9:00 am, by Pru & Mimi Gary
11/2/20: Eating Jack-o-Lantern leftovers in Grey Gulls compost by Joe Brock
11/3/20 @ 4:45 pm: Treasure Pond Road at Bradbeer’s driveway. From pix, it looked like the same one Pru & Mimi Gary saw. Beautiful, healthy, confident by Jeanine Behr Getz
11/4/20 @ 2:00 pm: Good size coyote crossing from the Gate House and going towards the Club Housing by Jimmy Wall
11/7/20 @ 6:30 am: One at the compost station and possibly one at the Harrington’s driveway near HHC golf by Wendy O’Neil
11/16/20 @ 8:53 am: Along Mud Pond heading towards 7th fairway on FIC golf course by the Britts
11/19/20 @ 10:00 am: South Beach parking down from the Transfer Station by Leslie Tombari
11/27-28 in daylight: Thanksgiving weekend at FIC. Blatant walking across 6 on fairway & in brush on east side on 7
11/28/20 @ 2:00 pm: Big one spotted at 5th or 6th hole at the Big Club
11/30/20 @ 11:00 am: One medium-size 50-60lbs spotted at the bunker at Race Point
12/1/20 @ 4:45 pm on 9 by Dave’s garage on the HHC course…”I ran and chased it off course towards the Rogers and Lucinda’s…with my sand wedge after an unbelievable shot with my 7 iron (put ball 5 ft from cup) – golf has never been so exciting!” Jonathan Farrar
12/2/20 @ 3:45 pm: Crossing from Kandi Sanger’s yard to the tennis courts. “He stopped halfway to the courts and watched me watching him from the car then moved on. Beautiful creature, quite secure.” Bernice Auger
12/3/20 @ 10:00 am: A large “blonde” coyote was spotted near South Beach parking area by Hay Harbor’s 1st green. It ran into the parking lot, onto the beach, then along to the golf course. When last seen it was hanging around on the golf course – seen by Tom Kexel
12/16/20 @ 8:15 am: “This morning a big coyote walked around us as we were heading down the HHC 8th fairway towards the beach about 8:15 am. We stopped and I had Slocum sit with the girls and I chased him away… but he was not too scared ..he hung around until I ran at him and it finally left after 5 min.” Jonathan Farrar
12/18/20 @ 7:30 am: One at Race Rock Garden running along the South Beach Road fencing by Jane Crary
12/20/20 @ 3:00 pm: Spotted in Peter Crisp’s driveway on Equestrian Ave. by Andrew Edwards
12/23/20 @ 3:00 pm: Spotted a large coyote trotting around the Ordnance and then down the dirt path towards Billie and Todd’s house from the ferry apartment window. Julia DeCiantis Lyon
12/23/20 @ 4:00 pm: This coyote seen at base of Winthrop Drive (off Trumbull) behind the Kibbe fort house looked well fed and not aggressive. Fiske family

If you have a sighting you would like to add, please email the date and location to finyinfo@gmail.com

“Play your role in maintaining a coyote’s fear of humans, and by extension, maintaining distance from pets.” ~ Urban Coyote Initiative

Coyote at Top of the World by Mimi Gary Fall 2019

Coyote video: Eating peaches early morning on Winthrop by Patty Faulkner August 2019.

“Play your role in maintaining a coyote’s fear of humans, and by extension, maintaining distance from pets.” ~ Urban Coyote Initiative

Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay . Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

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