Coyotes are found in urban environments throughout North America. Though there is a rise in awareness that coyotes are around, there is still a great deal of misunderstanding among residents about coyote behaviour and their role in our urban ecology. Coyotes help keep rodent populations in check. They usually steer clear of residential areas and humans, and prefer to make their homes in large parks and woodlands. However, they will occasionally seek food or shelter in residential neighbourhoods if the opportunity arises.
While seeing a coyote in Oakville is not necessarily cause for alarm, it can be concerning when coyotes come a bit too close for comfort. The town’s coyote hazing video explains what to do if you encounter a coyote on your property, and shows you how to haze or scare them away. If embraced by the entire community, repeated hazing ensures coyotes maintain their fear of humans and know our homes are off limits.
Reducing coyote conflicts
Feeding coyotes, running from them and allowing pets to roam off-leash have contributed to coyotes losing their inhibitions towards people. There are a number of things we can all do to help reduce human-coyote conflicts:
- Discourage coyotes from entering your property by removing brush piles or areas that may be perceived as a resting place or den.
- Don't feed coyotes. Ensure garbage, bird feed and pet food is inaccessible.
- Do not leave food waste in town garbage cans.
- Keep pets attended and on leash. The town's by-laws require pets to be on leash except in designated areas (off-leash parks). Supervise animals when they are in the yard. Cats should not be permitted to roam freely.
- Do not turn your back on, or run from, a coyote. Stand tall, wave your arms and make lots of noise.
The town works with community partners to educate the public and reduce coyote conflicts. Open the February 4, 2016 — Town continues to work with community partners to reduce coyote conflicts news release.
Coyote sightings and map
There is currently a case of mange circulating in some coyote populations in Oakville which has led to these animals frequenting residential neighbourhoods to seek warmth and find easy food such as birdseed and garbage. Mange is not a threat to humans or pets and does not directly lead to increased aggression. To learn more please see our Coyote Fact Sheet (pdf, 118 kB).
Through the coyote reporting system, the town is working with the Oakville Humane Society to assist them in locating and treating infected coyotes. Please report coyote sightings and activity through this system. If there is an immediate risk to safety call 911 as the reporting system is not designed to respond to these types of calls.
Visit the coyote sightings map to learn where coyotes have been observed. This mapping reflects reported sightings and is not meant to indicate the number of coyotes present or a complete profile of where coyotes are present in Oakville. It provides the town and residents with useful information on understanding where the possibility of encountering a coyote may be more prevalent.
Capture and relocation of coyotes to more than one kilometre away is not permitted under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. Research shows wildlife relocated from urban areas usually return or become a problem elsewhere. In addition, when coyotes are hunted or lethally destroyed, they compensate by producing larger litters and expanding their range. Only in rare cases where an individual coyote is demonstrating unusual / aggressive behaviour or severe trauma or illness do animal control agencies capture coyotes.
If a coyote poses an immediate threat to safety, call 911.
Contact the Oakville Humane Society at 905-845-1551 if you encounter a coyote you believe to be sick or injured.
The town has held numerous information evenings on Living with Coyotes featuring presentations by coyote and media experts. Videos and transcripts from previous meetings are available:
Video from January 31, 2012 Living with Coyotes community presentation
January 31, 2012 Living with Coyotes meeting summary (pdf, 227 kB)
Managing your wild neighbours video from October 16, 2012
Video from September 15, 2011 Living with Coyotes community presentation
Visit the Oakville Public Library website for suggestions and books available on coyotes.
In addition, the town offers a number of other resources and links on coyote awareness and co-existence:
Living with coyotes backgrounder (pdf, 73 kB)
Coyote fact sheet (pdf, 118 kB)
Understanding our fear of coyotes (pdf, 135 kB) July 14, 2011, Michael Howie, Oakville Today
Education is the key to peaceful coexistence (pdf, 840 kB) July 7, 2011, Michael Howie, Oakville Today
Ministry of Natural Resources wildlife management