Advancing Best Practices . . . , by Lesley Sampson & Lauren Van Patter

I am pleased to post this original research paper by Lesley Sampson and Lauren Van Patter. The paper is logically and well written, and emphasizes precision in use of language as well as precision in defining and dealing with human-coyote conflicts. Most importantly for me, it counters the misconception that there is a “progression in habituation which leads to aggression” — a fabricated dictum that suggests “removal” of coyotes is appropriate when an arbitrary “threshold” of “habituation” is reached — something that has no basis in reality. “Habituation” is a nebulous term which has been misused and has been historically convoluted so badly, that Lesley and Lauren eschew it entirely and instead use the term “proximity tolerance”  which is a much more accurate term. This will become clear to you as you read the paper. If your community is looking for a ‘coyote management plan’, this paper alone could serve as the backbone of such a plan. By the way, prevention of antagonistic situations in the first place is much easier than dealing with a problem once it comes up: keep your distance, leash and walk away from coyotes, don’t interact or befriend, never feed. Prevention is that simple. Scaring coyotes off should be reserved only for when they are actually approaching you and in your space. Once there is a problem, authorities should handle the situation, as the paper states.

Downloadable: press image to view original article

Advancing Best Practices for Aversion Conditioning (Humane Hazing) to Mitigate Human-Coyote Conflicts in Urban Areas, by Lesley SampsonCoyote Watch Canada and Lauren Van PatterQueen’s University, Kingston, Canada

Coyotes (Canis latrans; Figure 1) are increasingly recognized as a permanent feature of urban environments across much of North America (Hody and Kays 2018). As highly adaptable generalist omnivores, they are proficient foragers who make use of a range of natural and anthropogenic foods within cities (Gehrt et al. 2011, Murray et al. 2015, Poessel et al. 2017). Heightened public awareness of their presence and concern over the potential for negative interactions, especially with domestic pets, have increased community interest and the dialogue surrounding human–coyote conflict (Alexander and Quinn 2011, Elliot et al. 2016, Draheim et al. 2019).

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. The Valley Vegan (@TheValleyVegan)
    Oct 29, 2020 @ 02:18:19

    I have downloaded this and will read in greater detail at a later time. Until then, just reading about the hazing techniques, a couple things came to mind when it was stated that most encounters are due to dogs, not humans.

    The first is that some of us have “hard case” dogs (like mine who spook easily & are not “socialized” like normal dogs) and have to think of ways to haze coyotes without scaring the dogs into doing something stupid! I carry with me on our hikes a bell (always attached to my backpack), a small air horn, a bag of marbles, and pepper spray. When we had our encounter on the trail this summer, I only had the bell & the pepper spray, so I had to make use of my voice, body language, and as a last resort the pepper spray (I did not spray it AT or ON the coyote, it was only a 12-ft stream, only toward it, into the wind, which gave it pause). Since I was in the coyote’s territory, I don’t believe hazing would have been the right option for me, but standing my ground, and giving me & the dogs room to escape was my only purpose. Of course, as I said at the beginning, to find methods that don’t scare my dogs into escalating the situation (I’m CERTAIN that if my dogs showed any sort of fear in the moment, they would have been even more of a target).

    I think it was pretty clear in the report that they weren’t talking about hazing just because you see a coyote — but I hope people understand the when you’re supposed to do this. My instinct is just because I see one in my neighborhood Or in my yard, doesn’t mean I should haze it. And especially shouldn’t haze when coming across one out in their own world.

    This is a fantastic report. Thank you for posting!!


  2. Jo Thompson
    Oct 29, 2020 @ 12:45:27

    Great information. Thank you for sharing.


  3. Eileen Wyza
    Oct 29, 2020 @ 13:42:48

    Thank you for sharing important research articles like these! I am a doctoral student currently studying coyote genetics, behavior, and management, and I have been following your blog with great interest for quite a while. Not only are your firsthand encounters with groups inspiring to me and my research, but sharing information like this is also so important! Thank you for all that you do.


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Oct 30, 2020 @ 06:26:30

      Hi Eileen — Thank you for being supportive! The basis of all research, I think, is first-hand observations. This paper, too, is the result of lots of first-hand experience and observation, and much of the information in it coincides with what I myself have seen. When you have time, I’d love to hear more about the focus of your studies. Warmly! Janet

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