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Message from Mayor Paul Rosenberg – Coyote Information

Posted on March 2, 2021


Dear Rye Brook Residents:

Rye Brook to Host Coyote Information Exchange Meeting:

The Village has received many inquiries about coyotes in recent weeks as many residents throughout Rye Brook have heard very loud “howling” throughout the night and have spotted coyotes wandering around at all times of the day.

The Village has reached out to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) for their suggestions on how to address what appears to be a larger coyote population this year than in prior years.  The NYS DEC has only approved trapping permits when we have witnessed aggressive coyote behavior.  Also, we are in the tail end of coyote mating season, which could explain their current sounds and behavior.

After consulting and getting advice from the NYS DEC, the Village also contacted the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and we are working with the USDA to evaluate (and potentially remove), coyotes exhibiting aggressive behavior.

It should be noted that coyotes are very territorial animals and generally operate in pairs (although you may not always see two at the same time).  Some experts have said that removing one coyote can actually cause a growth in the coyote population. If one or both members of the pair are killed, lone coyotes may move in to mate, young coyotes may start having offspring earlier, and litter sizes may grow.  It’s important to note that relocation can have the same impact.

In order to address the concerns of Village residents, we are in the process of scheduling a “Coyote Information Exchange”, where we will have a Zoom-based meeting with a coyote expert in attendance to provide information about coyote behavior and answer residents’ questions.

Please look out for a blast email regarding the Coyote Information Exchange meeting.  If you are not signed up for Rye Brook Blast emails, please click here to sign up.  More coyote information:

Coyote Fact vs. Fiction:

  • No other carnivore has experienced as large a range expansion than the eastern coyote.  These coyotes originated in Canada, then northern NY, then expanded south.  By the 1980’s coyotes were found throughout the state except NYC and long Island, and then expanded their suburban territories in the 1990’s.  Now, they regularly inhabit areas into the Bronx, and sightings have occurred in other NYC boroughs and as far east as Long Island.   Non-aggressive coyotes are not going away and are here to stay.
  • The large number of people living in Westchester County can make a surprisingly good coyote habitat with an abundant food supply.
  • Coyotes often look like German Shepherds but at about half the weight (35-45 pounds).
  • Coyotes are “opportunistic omnivores” who seek to eat what is easy to find, scavenge or catch.  Their diet includes rabbits, mice, racoons, insects, deer, plant materials, etc.
  • Coyotes are NOT strictly nocturnal.  They may be seen during the day but are more active at sunset and at night.
  • Coyotes do not migrate.  They stay in their home range.
  • Coyotes mate for life and the mating season typically peaks in late February and early March.  They have litters of 4-6 pups in April or May that grow rapidly and are full grown by 9 month and are then driven from their parent’s home range.  They will go 50-100 miles away to find their own vacant territory, find a mate, and enter adulthood as a pair.
  • After hearing a family group of coyotes howl, it is easy to get the impression that the woods must be overflowing with coyotes. In reality there were probably just a few who can make a tremendous amount of noise.
  • To minimize conflicts, it is important that people do their part to maintain the natural fear that coyotes have of humans and remove any outdoor food supply. This includes pet food, bird seed, garbage, etc.
  • Overall, problems between people and coyotes are rare, yet the potential for conflicts to occur remains. Human behaviors may increase that potential if people feed coyotes (either directly or indirectly), or if they allow coyotes to approach people and pets.
  • Coyotes acting normally are not trapped and relocated or destroyed in our area.  A coyote can only be removed if it is acting aggressively towards people or is injuring private property.
  • Can coyotes exhibiting aggressive behavior be trapped?  Yes, NYSDEC can issue a site-specific  permit to trap an aggressive coyote.  They do not issue permits to allow general trapping to remove coyotes without aggressive behavior.
  • Can the Village get a trapping permit from the NYSDEC for an aggressive coyote?  Yes, but the Village typically places a trap on public property.  A property owner can also request a permit on their property from the NYSDEC by calling (845) 256-3098.
How to handle coyote encounters:
  • Do not let a coyote approach anyone, including pets.
  • If you see a coyote, be aggressive in your behavior-stand tall and hold arms out to look large. If a coyote lingers for too long, then make loud noises, wave your arms, or throw sticks and stones.
  • Contact the Rye Brook Police Department and NYSDEC regional office for assistance if you notice that coyotes are exhibiting “bold” behaviors and have little or no fear of people.
  • Teach children to appreciate coyotes from a distance. Children are at greatest risk of being injured by coyotes. If a coyote has been observed repeatedly near an area where children frequent, be watchful.

Helpful Links:
NYSDEC on Eastern Coyote Information: https://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/9359.html
NYSDEC on Coyote Conflicts: https://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/6971.html
NYSDEC Guidance to Avoid Conflicts with Coyotes: https://www.dec.ny.gov/press/119388.html
Wolf Conservation Center: https://nywolf.org/
Wolf Conservation Center: Coexisting with Coyotes: https://nywolf.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/coexistencekit.pdf
Wolf Conservation Center: Why Killing Coyotes Doesn’t Work: https://ryebrook.org/documents/coyotes/

Sources:  NYSDEC & Wolf Conservation Center

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