By Thomas K. Pendergast
(Originally published in the April, 2018, issue of the Sunset Beacon newspaper, a community newspaper serving the Sunset District of San Francisco.)
Coyote season is here, that time of year between April and August when coyote sightings sometimes cause problems with humans and their pets, so Project Coyote is giving seminars about what to do when encountering the wild animals.
The carnivore breeds over the winter and gives birth to pups in the spring, then raises them throughout the summer months. While a natural fear of humans keeps them away most of the time, a perceived threat to their pups, such as when a dog or human gets too close to a den, can lead to confrontations.
Pets, like cats and small dogs, roaming around on their own without their owners, can be tempting food sources for coyotes and their pups.
“If there’s a free-roaming animal, would it be a dog or a cat, and not a lot of coyotes look at dogs as food sources, but some are going to,” said Keli Hendricks, a ranching and wildlife coordinator for Project Coyote at a recent seminar held in the clubhouse at J.P. Murphy Playground. “You can’t predict which one might be taken if you have a free-roaming small dog. You know you really have to keep an eye on it if you’re in these areas where there might be wildlife because that could be a problem.”