Coyote Protection in Canada


Coyotes are widespread across Canada. They are highly intelligent animals and are very closely related to wolves and dogs; like dogs, they are social animals that have rich emotional lives and form family units. They are also a native part of North American ecosystems and play an important ecological role.

Unfortunately, there are few laws protecting coyotes in Canada, and in part due to their undeserved reputation as “pests”, coyotes are often the victims of wildlife killing contests across Canada.

A photo of a coyote staring off into the distance
A photo of a coyote standing in a field of dry grass
Killed for more than a century due to the this myth, they have survived and spread from the West across much of Canada, occupying the ecological niche wolves once did. They have even expanded into cities. Coyotes usually eat small prey such as mice and rabbits, keeping rodent populations in check. People can coexist peacefully with coyotes by keeping cats indoors, removing bird seed and pet food from backyards and “hazing” animals who become too familiar with humans—driving them away through nonlethal means such as shouting and spraying water.

What To Know if You See or Encounter a Coyote

An encounter with a coyote in the urban and suburban landscape is a rare event, even where coyotes are found in large numbers.

These animals are generally nocturnal and seldom seen. You may catch a glimpse of a coyote, however, as they move from one part of their territory to another in search of prey (usually small mammals such as mice or voles).

Observing a coyote in this manner (even during the daytime) does not mean that the coyote is sick or aggressive. If the coyote is scared away by your presence, they are exhibiting natural behaviour and this should not be cause for concern.

If a Coyote Is in Your Neighbourhood

If you spot a coyote in your neighbourhood, relax: Most coyotes avoid people. “Seeing a coyote out during the day is not a cause for alarm, especially in the spring and summer when they’re looking for food for their pups,” says Lynsey White, HSUS director of humane wildlife conflict resolution.

If a coyote displays no fear of people, he’s probably been fed. You can re-instill his fear by raising your arms and yelling to drive him away. This is called hazing. Unlike trapping, which sometimes catches pets or other wildlife but rarely the coyotes who are causing problems, hazing works.

Coyotes may mistake small, unattended pets as prey or attack large dogs they view as threats to territory or dens. To keep your animals safe, take two simple steps:

Watch your pets. Keep cats indoors, and never leave small dogs outside unsupervised or let any dog out of your yard off leash.

Secure food sources. Store garbage in wildlife-proof containers and feed pets indoors.


A coyote who does not run away when encountering humans has, most likely, become accustomed to or habituated to people. This generally occurs when a coyote has been fed (in the form of handouts, pet food left outside, or unsecured garbage).

Coyotes who come to depend on these sources of food may begin to approach humans looking for a handout and may begin to exhibit what’s perceived as “too tame” or aggressive behavior.

When coyotes become habituated, hazing can reinstill the natural fear of humans. Hazing entails using a variety of scare techniques to teach a coyote to regard people as threatening and stay away from them.

Coyotes are Clever and Adaptable Survivors

Evolved to survive constant attacks by wolves, who are bigger and stronger, coyote packs quickly replenish when their members are killed.

Did You Know?

Unless human-caused deaths disrupts their social systems, only alpha male and females coyotes breed. Younger, less dominant animals in packs and transient coyotes outside packs do not breed, limiting coyote numbers naturally.

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