Coyote Prevention: How to Keep Them Away from Your Property

A coyote looking at the camera.

Coyotes pose several problems for homeowners. Not only can they get in your garbage and make a mess, but they can be a threat to small animals around your property, including dogs and chickens. If you are worried about coyotes ruining your day, then here are a few ways in which you can prevent coyotes from getting on your property.

1. Remove Sources of Food

The most effective method of preventing coyotes from setting up shop on your property is eliminating food sources. Coyotes will eat just about anything, so you want to make sure any source of food is removed or locked away at dusk. This includes dog or cat food, bird feed, fruit, garden veggies, and trash. Coyotes are most active at dusk and at night, so make sure these things are secured away before you go to bed. For gardens, consider building a fence around them to discourage coyotes from entering.

2. Clear Out Hiding Places

A coyote with its baby.

Aside from the need to feed, coyotes also need a safe place to shelter during the day. If your property has places that make great hiding spots — like overgrown brush or wood piles — then coyotes might feel right at home. You can prevent coyotes from taking up residence on your property by removing these tempting hiding places. You can also discourage coyotes from lingering on your land by keeping the grass short and trimming bushes and trees that have become overgrown.

3. Eliminate Rodents

Coyotes will eat just about anything, including small rodents. Eliminating rodents on your property will go a long way in repelling coyotes. You can start by removing sources of food for rodents, including grains and trash. You can set up rat traps around the property but if you have a significant rat problem, you may want to consider other options. You can also get a cat to help control rodents, but cats are on the menu for coyotes so that might not be the best option.

4. Build a Fence

A solid fence can be an effective way to stop coyotes from entering your property, but only if it is done right. The fence should be at least 6 feet in height and should not feature any open spaces. As a rule of thumb, if a cat can get into your yard then there is a good chance a coyote can too. You should also think about installing coyote rollers on top of the fence. These handy devices make it more difficult for coyotes to jump over the fence and get into your yard.

5. Add Motion Devices

A coyote crosses the road.

Motion devices are another option for repelling coyotes. You can use motion sensor lights or sprinklers, which work by scaring the coyote away. Coyotes are usually fearful of humans and scare easily, so motion devices can work. But if a coyote is determined and knows that a meal is in sight, motion devices will probably fail in the end.

6. Use Odor Repellents

Certain scents have been known to repel coyotes. This includes wolf urine, ammonia-soaked rags, and mothballs. These odor repellents are simply placed around the property — and in other areas, like the trash can — to deter coyotes. Although odor repellents can be effective, they need to be applied on a regular basis and are easily washed away in the rain.

7. Install Coyote Traps

A coyote in a wooded area.

There are several different traps on the market for catching and removing coyotes. This includes paw hold traps and live cage traps. These kinds of traps should only be used as a last resort or if all other means of repelling coyotes have failed.

8. Get a Large Dog

As a last resort, you can consider getting a large dog to help deter coyotes from your property. Coyotes are comparable in size to medium-sized dogs and a large dog — like a German Shepherd or Akita — will usually scare them away. That being said, coyotes have been known to take down large dogs if they are hungry enough to take the risk.