Picture this: You’re out in the wild, surrounded by the beauty of nature, the wind rustling through the leaves, and the sun casting a warm glow on the trail.

Suddenly, you spot a pair of keen eyes watching you from the distance. It’s not a friendly hiker, nor is it a mischievous squirrel. It’s a coyote!

While encounters with these curious canines are relatively rare, knowing how to react when you meet one is essential. In this guide, we’ll delve into the world of coyotes and uncover the dos and don’ts of dealing with them, all with a dash of adventure and humor.

What To Do If You See A Coyote While Hiking

Know Your Coyotes 

Coyotes are remarkable creatures, often considered the wily tricksters of the wild. They’re members of the dog family and are known for their intelligence and adaptability.

These medium-sized canines typically sport a grayish-brown coat with keen yellow eyes that seem to hold endless secrets.

You’re likely to spot them in various habitats, from open fields to suburban neighborhoods, so that you might cross paths with one during your hiking adventures.

The Do’s and Don’ts 

Now that you’ve come face to face with a coyote, it’s time to remember the golden rules:


  1. Maintain Eye Contact: Keep those peepers locked on the coyote. It sends a signal that you’re aware of its presence.
  2. Appear Larger: Raise your arms and make yourself look as big as possible. Think of it as your “coyote superhero” pose.
  3. Back Away Slowly: While keeping eye contact, take slow and deliberate steps backward. Maintain your cool.
  4. Speak Calmly: In your best soothing voice, talk to the coyote. You can even throw in a friendly “Hey there, coyote buddy.”
  5. Use Noise-Making Devices: If the situation escalates, whistle or shout to deter the coyote.


  1. Don’t Run: Whatever you do, resist the urge to bolt. Coyotes have a knack for chasing things, and you want to avoid being their afternoon jog.
  2. Avoid Direct Eye Contact: Staring them down might make them feel threatened. Instead, blink occasionally to appear less aggressive.
  3. No Feeding: Offering treats might sound like a good idea, but it’s not. Feeding wild animals can lead to habituation, which is a fancy way of saying “they’ll keep coming back for more.”
  4. Don’t Approach or Pet: Remember, these are wild animals. Resist the temptation to pet the coyote and share your granola bar.

SCoyote Behavior and Misconceptions 

Let’s debunk some myths. Contrary to popular belief, coyotes are not lurking in the woods, plotting to steal your picnic basket. They’re curious creatures, and when they approach humans, it’s usually out of curiosity or a desire for an easy meal.

Attacks on humans are rare; most coyotes would rather avoid you altogether. So, rest easy knowing that they’re not the villains they’re sometimes made out to be in the movies.

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Preventive Measures 

While coyotes are generally not a cause for concern, being proactive is always a good idea. Here are some tips to reduce the likelihood of a coyote encounter:

  • Hike in groups; there’s safety in numbers.
  • Make noise as you hike to announce your presence.
  • Keep your pets on a leash, and pick up small dogs if you encounter a coyote.
  • Secure your food and trash to avoid attracting wildlife.

When Are Coyotes Most Active? 

Coyotes are not your typical early risers or night owls. Instead, they fall somewhere in between. These crafty canines are most active during dawn and dusk, often called their “crepuscular” activity period.

If you’re hiking during these times, you’re more likely to spot a coyote or have a chance encounter. However, enjoy the outdoors at these magical hours; remain vigilant and follow the do’s and don’ts mentioned earlier to ensure a safe and memorable hiking experience.

Reporting Coyote Encounters 

If you encounter a coyote that displays aggressive behavior or appears sick or injured, it’s essential to report it to your local wildlife authorities. They can assess the situation and take appropriate action to ensure the safety of both humans and coyotes.

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In the great outdoors, surprises are part of the adventure. While spotting a coyote may not be what you expected, armed with these do’s and don’ts, you can confidently navigate such encounters.

Remember, coyotes are as much a part of the wilderness as we are, and by respecting their space, we can continue to enjoy the beauty of the natural world safely.

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