Wolves & Coyotes

Choose one of the following topics to learn more about wolves and coyotes:

Wolves and coyotes are generally not a threat to humans. Wolves are secretive, usually once a wolf has detected a human it will run away without the person even knowing it was there.

Wild coyotes are naturally curious animals, however, they are timid and will usually run away if challenged. Coyotes start posing a risk to people when they lose their wariness and become comfortable around humans - this is usually a result of direct or indirect feeding by humans.

The following advice may be useful:

  • Scare away approaching predators: Do not run away. Use stones, sticks, rocks, loud noises, waving arms and aggressive yelling while maintaining eye contact.
  • Keep dogs on leash and under control at all times
  • Create and maintain space. Give wildlife lots of room to avoid you, never crowd around them.
  • Do not stop to take pictures.
  • Never feed wildlife. Avoid food-conditioning wolves or coyotes by securing all food and garbage.
  • Prevent conflicts. Give all wild animals distance, not food. Avoid hiking alone. Keep children close.
  • Be predator aware. Understand and watch for wildlife warning signs.
  • Be informed and inform others of current information.
  • Be prepared for an encounter. Carry deterrents such as noise makers, sticks, or bear spray, and know how to use them.
  • Respect all wildlife and their right to be here.

It is not normal for wolves or coyotes to attack or pursue humans, especially adults. Aggressive behavior toward humans by wolves or coyotes is usually the result of the animal becoming conditioned/comfortable with people as a result of direct or indirect feeding.

If a wolf or coyote is spotted in an urban or rural area it is recommend to keep children inside until the animal has left the area or to pick children up and carry them. The animal was likely just passing through. Children shouldn't be left unsupervised. Also refer to pets if applicable.

It is an offence under section 33.1(1) of the Wildlife Act to feed dangerous wildlife. Report via 1-877-952-7277 anyone that is feeding or intentionally attracting dangerous wildlife.

If you are concerned about an encounter or about encountering aggressive wolves or coyotes, keep a deterrent handy. Deterrents could include: rocks, sticks, banging pots and pans, tin cans filled will rocks or pepper spray (may not be an option in an urban setting).

If a wolf or coyote approaches you:

  • make yourself look as large as possible - if sitting, stand for example.
  • Wave your arms and throw objects at the wolf or coyote.
  • Shout at the wolf or coyote in a loud aggressive voice.
  • If the wolf or coyote continues to approach don't run or turn your back. Continue to exaggerate the above gestures and slowly move to safety.

Coyotes aren't as agile or strong as bears. Ensure that the compost bin is securely built and has a lockable lid. This should prevent the coyote from gaining access to the compost bin.

  • Remove any meat, meat by-products, fish, and cooked fruit and vegetables from compost.
  • Sprinkle lime in the compost.  The lime will aid the composting process and help to reduce the odour.
  • Covering the compost with a light cover of dirt or soil or a heavy cover of grass clippings will also assist with odours.
  • If the conflict persists the compost bin may have to be removed.

Fencing out predators over large area can be very difficult. Most predators will easily cross over or under conventional livestock fences. A predator's response to a fence will be influenced by a number of factors including its experience with fences and its motivation for crossing the fence.

Some predators learn to dig deeper or climb higher to defeat a fence. Recent improvements in equipment and design have made fencing more effective and economical. There are two categories of fencing, electric and non-electric fencing:

Non-Electric Fence

Net-wire fencing in good repair will for example deter coyotes. Openings in the mesh should be less than 6 inches high and 4 inches wide.

Preventing predators from climbing over top of the fence can be achieved by adding a single electrified wire at the top of the fence or by installing overhanging wire.

  • High tensile barbed wire at ground level or a buried wire apron will discourage predators from digging under fences
  • Fences should be at least 5 1/2 feet high to hinder animals jumping over them.

Electric Fence

New energizers, chargers and fence designs have recently revolutionized electrical fencing in North America. Many different designs including portable electric fences are available.

Labour to keep electrical fencing functional can be significant. Wire tension must be maintained; vegetation under the fence must be removed to prevent grounding and damage from feeding livestock and wildlife, and the charger must be checked to ensure proper operation.

  • Electric fences can trap predators inside the fence.
  • Fencing alone wouldn't necessarily eliminate predator conflicts, but when used in combination with other predator control methods it can be highly effective.  Sound husbandry practices must be maintained.

Remember to pick fruit as it ripens, since ripe fruit has a high caloric value and is a highly sought after food source by bears as well as coyotes.

  • Fruit can be picked before it ripens.The un-ripened fruit can then be stored indoors while it ripens.
  • Let friends or neighbours pick the fruit.
  • Determine if the fruit trees are necessary or if they are still wanted, if they aren’t, have the trees cut down.
  • Install electrical fencing to protect fruit trees.
  • The more a coyote is fed, the more it will become comfortable with living in an urban environment.

A growing number of livestock producers are using guarding animals as part of their predation management plan, including widespread use with sheep farmers.

Examples of guarding animals include:

  • dogs, donkeys, cattle, llamas, goats and mules

A good guard animal stays with the herd without harming them and aggressively repels predators.

Livestock guard dogs are the most common. There are several Eurasian breeds, for example:

  • Great Pyrenees, Komondor, Anatolian Shepherd and Akbash Dogs

Donkeys are becoming more popular in the United States for protecting livestock from coyotes. Donkeys are generally docile towards humans but inherently dislike canids. Donkeys will either bray, run at the canine or kick and bite at it.

Llamas, like donkeys, also have an inherent dislike for canines and a growing number of livestock producers are using llamas to protect sheep. The use of guard animals is no substitute for sound animal husbandry practices.

Wolves or coyotes that are harassing or menacing domestic animals (livestock) or birds can be hunted or trapped on a person's property under Section 26(2) of the Wildlife Act.

Under Section 2 (Property in Wildlife) - section 2(4) states that a person who by accident or for protection of life or property kills wildlife, that wildlife remains the property of the government.

Persons must report the killing or wounding of any wildlife. Failing to report the killing or wounding of any wildlife whether it is for protection of life or property is an offence under section 75 of the Wildlife Act.

Persons must comply with all Municipal, Provincial and Federal laws surrounding the use and discharge of firearms or the setting of traps.

Persons are liable for any wildlife that is wounded or injured as a result of them exercising their rights under section 26(2) and that they are legally responsible for any misuse of firearms.

If there is a hunting or trapping season open for wolves/coyotes at the time and in the location of the occurrence, hunters from their local Rod and Gun Club or a trapper from the local trapper's association may be able to assist.

Scare devices and or electric fencing may also be an option to try and help protect livestock from wolf or coyote attacks. Livestock and poultry should be kept locked inside a barn or coop at night if a coyote is in the area.

Livestock management and predator management can effectively reduce livestock losses. Listed below are husbandry techniques that can help reduce livestock predation:

  • Livestock confinement (not allowing livestock out onto a pasture) may prevent predation - this however is not a feasible option for most farmers.  Penning livestock at night is another option to help reduce predation
  • Adding lighting to a pen or corral will also help to deter predators - livestock will quickly adapt to the lighting.
  • Spring livestock birthing coincides with predator birthing and can result in high levels of predation in the spring and earlier summer because predators are trying to feed their young.
  • Having livestock born inside barns or sheds will usually prevent predation and will also reduce newborn deaths that result from inclement weather.
  • Altering livestock birthing times until later in the spring or summer can reduce predation.
  • Farmers and ranchers should avoid using pastures that have had a history of predation.
  • Pastures that are closer to buildings and human activity can be safer for young livestock.
  • Pastures with rough terrain or with dense vegetation bordering them offer cover for predators.
  • Farmers and ranchers should be checking on the status and condition of their livestock regularly in order to ensure that predator conflicts are identified quickly.
  • Regularly counting livestock is important in large pastures or areas with heavy cover where dead livestock could remain unnoticed.  It is not unusual for livestock producers that don't regularly count their herd to suffer substantial losses before they identify that they have a predator conflict.
  • Sick, injured or old livestock should be removed from the herd as predators may key in on these animals.  Once a predator identifies livestock as easy prey it will likely continue to kill even healthy animals.
  • Livestock owners should keep records and identify each animal through tagging or branding to make it easier to identify losses.
  • Keep a journal of predator conflicts. Over time this journal can be used to show areas or time periods in which predator conflicts peek.
  • Remove livestock and poultry carcasses by burying, incinerating or rendering to reduce attractants.

Keeping Pets Safe

  • Outdoor pets should be supervised and checked on regularly
  • Wolves and coyotes may kill pets that run loose
  • Pets can be left inside when people aren't home or kept inside an enclosed kennel
  • Pets should be kept leashed and under control at all times. Don't allow a pet to chase/pursue wildlife (it is an offence under the Wildlife Act).
  • Don't allow your dog to play or interact with wild canids. This will allow wild canids to become comfortable around humans and their pets.
  • Removing attractants will reduce the probability that predators will visit or hang around residential properties.

Injured or Killed

  • Report to COS Call Centre (1-877-952-7277).
  • If a wolf or coyote has acted aggressively or displayed aggressive behaviour towards a human or pet report to the COS Call Centre (1-877-952-7277).

The use of repellents and scare devices is based on the idea that predators are repelled by new or strange odours, sights or sounds. Predators can adapt quite quickly to scare devices so regularly altering how they are deployed is important.

Combining different types of scare devices seems to work better than just using one. Repellents and scare devices include:

  • Propane cannons, horns, sirens and radios with sound amplifiers, fladry.
  • Presently there aren't any chemical repellents that have shown significant effectiveness in reducing wolf or coyote attacks.

Some scare devices may be prohibited by local bylaws. Contact the local bylaw department before using such products.