Coyotes are a common predator in the Estes Valley and it’s currently their mating season so they are very active – prowling, howling, hunting, and mating.
Coyotes are beautiful canines with thick, wheaten fur, slender snouts, stand-up ears, long tails, long legs, and delicately featured faces. Their thick neutrally colored fur blends easily with the surrounding terrain. From a distance or with eyes of innocence, a Coyote could be mistaken for a large dog.
Coyotes are wild, cunning and stealthy predators. Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds us that Coyotes see domesticated animals, pets and small children as prey. Like our Elk, the Coyotes favor Estes Lake and the surrounding golf course and sanctuary areas. When walking with dogs, especially smaller dogs and small children, visitors are encouraged to exercise caution – keep kids close and dogs short-leashed and under control especially at dawn and dusk when wildlife is most active.
Keep Little Ones Safe by supervising when outside. Keep your dog on a shorter leash (non-retractable); pick up your dog (if possible) when Coyotes are present or suspected in the area; avoid known or potential den sites and thick vegetation (where prowlers hide in waiting); and disallow contact, play or interaction with Coyotes. As a precaution, you may choose to carry a deterrent – sticks and stones, a walking stick, pepper spray – are all effective.
Remember: Coyotes will defend their territory. Maintain a safe distance, and discourage approach and/or contact. If you suspect Coyote activity around you, keep your pet and your kids close to you or in your arms. Teach children to come directly to you without shrieking or screaming as they can sound like wounded prey and attract rather than repel the Coyote.
Never, ever feed Coyotes! They are resourceful and completely capable of feeding and sustaining themselves in the city without human assistance.
Should you be approached by Coyote:
Do not turn your back to or run! If possible to safely move to more populated areas without an encounter, gather up pets and kids and back away slowly.
If an encounter seems eminent make yourself as large and threatening, big and loud as possible by waving your arms, clapping, throwing objects, and/or shouting in an authoritative voice to chase it off.
Keep safe, enjoy the view, and remember – we all live together here and it’s up to us, the caretakers of nature, to ensure wellness and safety for everyone.