Coyotes have become a part of our environment in Richfield. "Hazing" is an effective and proven technique that will help keep your property and pets safe by making your yard unattractive to coyotes.
Call Richfield Dispatch at 612-861-9898 or 911 if you are within Richfield to report aggressive coyotes or an attack.
For information about the City's policy on addressing coyotes in Richfield, see the City's statement below. If you still have questions, call Wood Lake Nature Center Naturalists at 612-861-9365 or email Nature Center Manager Karen Shragg.
STATEMENT REGARDING THE CITY'S POLICY ON ADDRESSING COYOTES IN RICHFIELD
by Wood Lake Nature Center Manager Karen Shragg & Wood Lake Naturalist Scott Ramsay
If one sees a coyote roaming through Richfield, it can create one of three reactions, one of awe, one of fear and one of annoyance. We would like to help alleviate the fears, try to promote just how important coyotes are to the urban ecosystem and offer advice on how to live with these canines because they are going to be living among us for a long time to come.
The suburbs have a history of having a paucity of predators. In general, predators have a need for a larger territory, but suburbs offer a great life to prey species like rabbits and squirrels. With wetlands in the vicinity the populations of geese and mallards have also grown because they too were virtually without any predators.
Enter the coyote. This is one of the most adaptable and clever animals to ever try to live among us. They are the predator suburban ecosystems need because they control our prolific geese, rabbits, raccoons and squirrels free of charge. Their main diet is rodents and not too many would complain that they have less mice near their homes. Wood Lake Nature Center once had 77 goose nests. If each goose had an average 7 goslings, we would be swimming in goose droppings. The charge for goose control has risen to $1200.00 per year, but because the coyotes now live and feed here, they do not need to be controlled.
Attempts to curtail coyote numbers often fail. Coyotes tend to have more pups when they are threatened with control measures. It is also very hard to capture and kill a coyote safely within city limits. They do not go into traps and it is dangerous to try to shoot them within the city limits.
These ‘brush wolves’ also know how to get an easy meal and have unfortunately found small dogs and cats to be easy prey when left outdoors alone. Dogs who try to defend their homes against other predators have been known to run after coyotes and often lose the battle.
We need to squelch the rumor that they are a threat to small children. This is not true at all. Even their bigger cousin the wolf does not prey on people. They are seen more often in winter and do hunt during the day. It is not unusual to see them lying down on a pond or lawn. They are conserving energy and making observations.
Because they are definitely a threat to small pets, owners need to be on alert and never let their pets out of their sight. If coyotes are getting habituated to the sights and sounds in a neighborhood they need to be hazed. This means they have to be made to feel unwanted by loud noises, aggressive motion and physical discomfort. Instructions for how to do this are in the presentation given to the City Council (at this link).
There are certainly pros and cons to having coyotes in the suburbs and cities. The pros definitely outweigh the cons if we all pay attention to their benefits and minimize the negative effects. If a coyote has become a nuisance in a neighborhood, neighbors should develop a plan for collective hazing and help out elderly neighbors unable to haze them on their own. Working together we can establish the natural balance of predators and prey in Richfield and prevent the loss of pets.