Here is the look of a coyote fleeing, first dogs, and then a person. The coyote seemed to have a definite idea of where it was going when I first saw it. I followed far behind. Then, suddenly, the coyote stopped because, about 200 feet ahead, in its direct path, it could see dogs playing in an open area. The coyote observed for a few seconds, and then turned to go the other way, looking back a couple of times at the dog group to make sure it had not been seen. The dogs and owners did not see the coyote. The photos from the top row depict this situation.

As the coyote headed back in the direction from which it had come, a lone walker appeared about 100 feet ahead on the path coming in the coyote’s direction. I was on this same path, so that now, the coyote was between two humans on the same path. The coyote jumped off the path and into the tall grasses and continued 100 feet further away from the path. The coyote remained on rigid alert and ready to bolt as it and the lone walker eyed each other intently  for a few seconds. The bottom row of photos shows the coyote in this situation. The coyote did not like the situation and bolted further off and out of sight.

These are the most typical and common coyote reactions when a coyote inadvertently chances upon either dogs or humans in its path. The coyote does not want to encounter dogs or people — however, this sometimes just happens by chance as the coyote makes its rounds or moves to a different part of a park.

If the dogs had seen the coyote, there very well could have been a reaction by the dogs. Unleashed dogs, of course, are freer to do as they please and don’t tend to make intelligent choices when wildlife is involved. Pupping season presents additional challenges for all concerned: a coyote feels much more territorial and protective during this time period, and we humans need to be more vigilant about keeping our and our dog’s distance and respecting a coyote’s needs.

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