Ask the Survival Mom: What should I do about coyotes in my neighborhood?

Reader Ellen asks:

We have coyotes in our neighborhood.  I know this is old hat to many people, but we are in a very built-up, 1950s urban/suburban neighborhood in the Southeast. There is a nature preserve about 2-3 miles away, and I assume that is their main habitat.  Coyote migration to our state is relatively new, and having them boldly walking down our fairly busy streets in the dusk and dawn is new this year.  I have heard they are starting to come into people’s yards and take down cats and small dogs.

image by Matt Knoth

Firing a “warning shot” on a lot that is less than 1/3 acre is not a way to make happy neighbors.  I am researching ways to deter them from our yard and area, and I read that they usually will not a) hunt in daylight or 2) attack humans unless they have become extremely emboldened.  I do have 2 preschool/kindergarten age kids who are used to “free ranging” in our yard, and if an encounter is extremely unlikely I don’t want to go all paranoid and confine them to the house.  They are familiar with the fact that we have snakes around and know what to do in case of a sighting, but large predators is a different situation.

Do you or your readers have any suggestions for coyote-proofing our yard and kids?

The Survival Mom:

Ellen, the problem with coyotes isn’t new.  According to this article from last year, it’s becoming a nationwide problem.  And if our country’s economic trend continues downward, we may see packs of feral dogs also becoming a problem.

My first question to you is, have you called your city and police department about the problem?  They may be able to send out animal control officers who will trap the coyote.  Depending on their policies and the circumstances, they may put it down or set it loose far outside city limits.  They will also be able to tell you more about the problem, how they are dealing with it, and give you tips for staying safe.

Obviously, make sure that no food, including dog food, is left outside and that trash cans have very secure lids, with a latch if possible. Even compost piles and bird feeders can attract coyotes and other wild animals.

Talk with your neighbors about the issue and see what solutions they have come up with.  See who would be willing to join in on a “coyote alert” phone call system, so that everyone in the neighborhood will know when a coyote has been sighted in the area.  Since the problem affects everyone in your area, the more people working toward a solution, the better.

Do you have a large watchdog?  That would be one way to be alerted if a coyote got into your backyard while your kids were playing.

Personally, I’d be tempted to sit outside the the kids with a BB gun in my lap, considering that firing a .22 within city limits is a big no-no.

Now it’s your turn…

What else can Ellen do to make sure coyotes stay away from her home and backyard?



There may be links in the post above that are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, which does not affect the price you pay for the product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. 

© Copyright 2012 The Survival Mom, All rights Reserved. Written For: The Survival Mom
The following two tabs change content below.
I'm the original Survival Mom, and have been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more for 5 years. Come join me on my journey to becoming more prepared to handle everyday emergencies and worst case scenarios.

Latest posts by The Survival Mom (see all)

I want to receive updates and
EMP survival reports!


  1. Tom Usher says

    A BB gun isn't going to do a thing. Coyotes do hunt during the day though not as often as they do at night. I see 'em on the deer trail on the back of my property during the day on a fairly regular basis. You need to figure out what's attracting them. They're there because there's food available. If they can't eat they can't survive and they'll move on. In a residential area they've got trash, pets and usually small critters such as squirrels and rabbits. You can't do much about the squirrels and rabbits but the coyotes will eventually thin them out. You can control the rest and that's where you start.

  2. JSW says

    I’d say the neighbors be damned and sit out with the .22 or .22 magnum if one is spotted. I’m sure all the animal lovers will tell you that coyotes won’t attack children let alone adults, but that’s not true: there are factual news stories enough about people being killed by coyotes and wolves (one and same in this area).

    The idea of talking the issue over with eighbors is a good one: get everyone on the same page.

    A large watchdog may be helpful, though not many dogs will hold much chance fighting even a small wolf or coyote: they fight for a living every, know all the tricks and are in better shape than any ‘civilized’ dog.

  3. shadowfaxhound says

    coyotes DO hunt during the day-usually alone. at night they hunt in the pack. pack howling "starts" and "ends" the hunt. coyotes DO attack humans and attacks on people are becoming more commonplace. it takes a LARGE dog to tangle with a coyote. they are wild animals–they have to hunt and kill to eat. coyotes have been known to lure dogs to them and then kill to eat. they are intelligent, opportunistic hunters. they adapt to their environment even in CITIES let alone urban/rural areas. Dogs, cats, even children are considered easy prey for coyotes. ALWAYS stay with children when they are outside if coyotes are in your area. Heed warning of barking dogs. guard your pets. For me–a shotgun would be safety weapon of choice because of short distance of range and you don't have to be a real good shot. when walking with children, take your dog with you. attacking coyotes will view the dog as a threat and attck the dog BEFORE attacking humans. this gives you a chance to get to safety. Pets can be replaced. you and your childrens safety MUST be primary importance..ALERT animal control EVERY time you see a coyote. give them 1st chance to solve the problem.

  4. Laura says

    We had coyotes when we lived up in Portola, CA and they tried to get our Golden Retriever to jump the fence and go after them. Of course the bigger problem there where the bears. Once they closed the dump outside town the bears where going up and down streets getting in people's garbage. An even bigger problem was getting my husband and sons to quit going outside to see the bear!

  5. Elaine says

    Bb/pellet guns are a very good at discouraging marauders. This works on feral cats and dogs as well as coyotes in my neighborhood. You can also use no kill traps to catch and release elsewhere.

  6. Dennis says

    Try a Contech CRO101 Scarecrow Motion Activated Sprinkler in your yard. It comes on whenever any critter comes near and sprays them with water.

    Works for neighborhood kids too!

  7. alicia says

    How about frozen paint balls in a paintball gun? I hear that will kill a cat, and the paintball gun might look a little less intimidating to the neighbors. Be sure you don't have anything outside that will attract the coyotes either. We just lost half of our chickens to coyotes this weekend, and saw one lurking around our yard a couple days later.

  8. Jeff says

    Take your .22 and slide a 16 oz water bottle over the barrell and use masking tape to hold in place. This works as a great silencer, you have to put on new bottle after each shot. Shot those mangy varmits in the guts and let him run off to die in the woods. That way your neighbors wont see you having to dispose of the carcass. I have lost many of pets and livestock to Coyotes. Be careful with your children, I am 6' 4' 230 lbs full grown man and have been stared down by a single coyote. Kill them all!!!

    • Swampy says


      My God I hope that was a joke.

      Manufacture of a suppressor aka silencer is a federal crime. Even if it’s a water bottle over the muzzle of a .22.

      Yes, coyotes too close to humans need to be taken out but your advice will send someone to prison.

    • Travis says

      Jeff, you are an idiot. Too much time on your hands? You must be afraid of the coyotes. Stop pushing your fear mongering. People need to LEARN about them so they can empower themselves and lose the fear. Coyotes are found around every city and most suburbs. Many people are only alarmed because they “see” a coyote, not because a coyote has done anything. Monitor children and pets closely – with our without coyotes in the neighborhood. The worst predators walk upright on two legs.

  9. Stealth Spaniel says

    Coyotes are the worst! They can, and will, jump a 6ft. fence like it isn't there, snatch up your child or dog or cat, and disappear with them before you know what happened. There is a reason that ranchers will nail a dead coyote up on a fence and leave it to rot. When I lived up in the sierras, I had all sorts of prey driven critters- mountain lions, coyotes, eagles; you name it. NOTHING went into my yard without mama-I did not care if it was high noon or 2 am. The neighbors joked that my yard would be mistaken for a landing strip because I lit that baby up as soon as it got dark. I was armed, angry, and ready. It is the only way to protect yourself and yours.
    1-Talk to the neighbors. This is NOT Pretty Patty Soft Fluffy Coyote. This is a sneaky, smart, battle tested predator. They are opportunistic, and will kill without hesitation. Everyone in the neighborhood needs to be on the same page.
    2- Give animal control a choice, either they remove the predator, or you will. And, since you have also notified them by mail, get a a copy of the signed postal receipt to your lawyer. You may need it. You have every right to defend your family against all intruders.
    3-Always, always, always be in the yard with pets and children. Pets are domesticated animals-they cannot outfight this predator. My friend had Great Danes-and even then, all 12 of her dogs went out together. Children would simply have their throat torn out-which is what a coyote(s) does to domestic pets. So, you are the thin guardian line. And never think that you can "just" disappear to answer the phone, stir a pot on the stove, etc. Coyotes are very smart, and THEY will watch YOU!
    4-Clean the yards. No pet food, no bird seed, no unprotected garbage, etc. You want it very clear: hellfire and damnation will rain down if a coyote even peeps over the fence.
    5-None of this means that you cannot enjoy your property. My backyard in the sierras was 1 beautiful acre. I had flowers, bird feeders, a small garden, etc. But I was so territorial, not even a rattlesnake tried to move in.
    Good Luck!

  10. Momomma3 says

    We live on a farm and I agree with the other posters, Coyotes DO come out during the day. They made the mistake of stalking our chicken pen during the day. My husband was able to shoot and injure one as they were running away. Now we have one limping Coyote along with at least 2 others that stalk our property. The shot to scare didn’t even scare them when there was a hit. The Coyotes carried off our Shitzu at 7:30 in the morning and some how got our Rottweiler too. We heard the awful howling of the Coyote pack one night and our Rottie was never seen again. Do not mess around with Coyotes. If they are in your neighborhood, do not let your kids go outside alone. The Coyotes are very sneaky and good hunters. Be safe, be careful and be very alert until the Coyotes are taken care of.

    • Travis says

      You forgot to mention that you apparently weren’t monitoring your own pets. You think some person wouldn’t have stolen a little foo foo dog?

  11. David M says

    Call my cynical, but I’m not confident everyone in a neighborhood will be 100% good about locking up their garbage, not leaving pet food out in a bowl, etc.

    If the wind is blowing right, they will smell a smorgasbord of food miles away and come looking. And with enough prowling and snooping. I’m sure they will eventually find some pet food, garbage, pets, or wild animals to eat.

    I’m with Stealth Spaniel on this.

    Sorry Jeff, the bottle on the 22, is a silencer and a Federal crime. Not that I wouldn’t do it after a collapse.. But no point going to jail with some bum rap.

  12. Rich White says

    My problem is in my neighborhood is there are several well intended individuals that feel sorry for ant stray cats so leave food out for them. This has caused not only a high concentration for other vermin but a guaranteed stock of pray for the Coyotes as well as a food source for them.

    Wildlife controls as well as local officials are reluctant to do anything. I have a larger dog but she is as important to me as any other part of my family and I would be devastated is she were killed trying to defend her domain. I think as I have exhausted all public outlets with no help I will shoot the animal if found in my yard.

    The most disturbing thing… I have CCTV on my home and I captured a video of a Coyote stalking and killing a neighborhood stray cat and running off with it. I was disturbing to see the voracity of this Coyote while on the attack. They may seem to be cute or perhaps majestic. But I have seen with my own eyes they kill without mercy.

    • Travis says

      They are opportunistic and kill to live. You talk about “mercy”?? Check out some of the youtube videos of coyote hunts or wolf hunts or even hunting in general. Humans, the apex predator, show the least mercy of all. If in doubt, check Jeff’s post above. Proof.

  13. Beth says

    I watched a coyote snatch my dachshund in broad daylight with me standing right there. I heard her killing my pet. I hate coyotes who have also taken several of my outdoor cats over the last 10 years. I have the cats to keep down the rodent population. Voles, Moles, Chipmunks and Squirrels do a lot of damage in my flower beds every year. These animals DO hunt in the daytime, are not afraid of humans and need to be eradicated from neighborhoods. All you people who are so concerned about mercy for coyotes have not seen a beloved pet slaughtered by these vicious creatures. I am afraid in my own back yard of these predators and want to know how to kill them any way I can. I am not able to sit in my back yard at night with a gun and shoot them because I am 60 years old and not a very good shot.

  14. Pam says

    We are newly experiencing coyotes in our neighborhood after living here for 35 years. I live in the city of South San Francisco, Ca. Hardly anyone is aware of the coyotes here yet. I put warning signs out and realtors take them down. The City showed a movie about how cute coyotes are in their attempts to get gophers. The creator of the movie said the coyotes are here to stay and we have to make the adjustment. The City has put up no warning signs. There are many common green areas (parks) in between condensed townhouses here, and many parks. I saw a coyote at 9:30 am strolling to a park, sit down on the lawn and warch a guy with his dog off leash. I waived to him to get out of there and pointed to the coyote. He came over to me and was shocked. People have no clue here. I am trying to make people aware but they ignore me and think I am a crazy lady. One lady refused to put her dog on leash after I told her a coyote is coming down our street every day. As I drive around on some mornings to see what I can see, finally one policeman was scoping the area where the coyotes have their dens and finally saw one. He said it was his first sighting and was reporting it. A coyote ate my little darling feral cat who I was getting ready to bring her into my house. That is why I have to take this on.

  15. Ingrid Threet says

    I really appreciate everyone’s comments. last night I had a horrible nightmare that coyotes took my beloved dog. This morning I decided to research it more because I hear them howel in the woods across from our house. I especially appreciate the point that Stealth Spaniel made to never leave your dog alone for “even a moment”. I know I have left my dog alone briefly to run back in the house to grab my carr keys, turn off the coffee pot or just go to the batheroom. This poster may have saved my dog’s life. A big “Thank you” to all the people that provided input into tthis important matter from this naive city girl! <3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *