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Coyotes Chased Joggers Near Rancho Laguna Park

It's unhealthy for coyotes not to be afraid of people.

It might be time for Lamorinda’s coyote population to remember that humans are dangerous. It’s when canis latrans gets too comfortable with homo sapiens that things turn ugly; first for the people and their pets, and then for the coyotes.

Lamorinda Weekly has an excellent article about two joggers and their dogs, who were pursued by a pack of 10 coyotes last month in Rancho Laguna Park in Moraga. The women and their pets got away unscathed. The same might not be true for the coyotes. 

It's when coyotes grow aggressive that wildlife officials call in the trappers. The article quotes a scientific paper that investigated what happens when humans leave coyotes alone. It’s not good.

"Our observations indicate that in the absence of harassment by residents, coyotes can lose their fear of people and come to associate humans with this safe, resource-rich environment. In such situations, some coyotes have begun to act aggressively toward humans, chasing joggers and bicyclists, confronting people walking their dogs, and stalking small children."

The Lamorinda Weekly article is quick to point out that only one coyote attack on a human has ever been recorded in Northern California.

CJ February 13, 2013 at 07:50 PM
In otherwords these coyotes need to be shot. In rural areas the rancher shoots them and hangs their carcasses on the fence to make their point to the other coyotes. Not sure this works , but it looks menacing. Coyotes are all over Briones and get pretty loud and menacing in isolated areas of the park especially around sundown. They will track you if you are with a dog.
c5 February 13, 2013 at 08:32 PM
They aren't interested in the humans, just the pets. I say leave them alone, and when you are in the parks with your pets pay attention. This is not much of a problem so let's not blow it out of proportion. For the most part coyotes are pretty skittish around people.
Amanda February 13, 2013 at 09:53 PM
How many people have been hit by cars in Northern California vs. attacked by coyotes? Let's put this into perspective.
Amanda February 13, 2013 at 09:55 PM
Some of the ranchers near my in-laws (central coast) have dead coyotes hanging from their fences. I'm not sure what kind of deterrent it is; there were a lot of dead coyotes on the fence I saw.
Chris Nicholson February 13, 2013 at 11:13 PM
I'm not too worried about risks to adults. There is probably a small risk to kids, but the real issue is cats and small dogs. When encountering coyotes near residential areas, people should scare them off and throw stuff at them. They are territorial animals that will get the message that they are not welcome in the land of the upright giants. If people tolerate their presence, they will encroach more and more. Leaving them alone in an encounter is the opposite of what you should do if you want to keep the wild animals safe and separated from people/pets. If coyotes start feeding on our pets, I think it is time to thin their numbers and push back their range. Not sure if I would put the head on a pike afterward, but I would have no problem doing some depredation work if necessary.
Amanda February 14, 2013 at 12:39 AM
Uh, I'm at Moraga Commons and there's a woman who's feeding the feral cats behind the bathrooms. Now, the fact that I've seen more coyotes here than anywhere else in Lamorinda makes sense.
Steve J February 14, 2013 at 02:36 AM
I'm no animal expert but those look like cows to me. Not coyotes. They only appear to be mildly aggressive anyway. I wouldn't worry too much about them. They probably only want some kibble or whatever it is that cows eat.
Dive Turn Work February 14, 2013 at 04:20 AM
Maybe they will eat the solicitors.
Running Man February 14, 2013 at 04:43 AM
I've run that trail hundreds of times at varying times of day and season over the years. You will see cows, deer, turkey, snakes, coyotes and all kinds of critters along as you ramble through. Everybody gets along fine as long as you keep moving along and mind your own business. This sounds like a good story for the local newspaper but nothing to get too exercised about.
Dive Turn Work February 14, 2013 at 05:00 AM
If I saw a snake, I would definitely keep running.
Sandman February 14, 2013 at 06:12 AM
They should fence in Rancho Laguna park so the joggers and off leash dogs are protected from the coyote's.
Jose February 14, 2013 at 06:26 AM
Cow kibble?
D February 14, 2013 at 02:29 PM
It's Purina Cow Chow. Coyote Chow looks like my cat.
c5 February 14, 2013 at 05:23 PM
Steve, I agree. If those are coyotes I'm really worried.
gavilan February 14, 2013 at 06:12 PM
Yes, that's Biology 101. The more food and the fewer the predators, the larger a population will grow. Options to reduce the population (if needed) includes aggressively reducing the food supply (e.g. remove feral cats) or thin the herd (e.g. trap, shoot). Given that pets, feral or otherwise, are probably not the biggest part of a coyotes diet (no data on this, just guessing), option one will probably be ineffective. Leaving option two or leaving them alone. Not pretty, but biology frequently isn't.
Louise Benvenue February 14, 2013 at 06:27 PM
"Coyotes Chase Joggers" - this kind of reporting just creates fear; which sells, so I understand it, but Lordy, the misinformation! If coyotes are "chasing" you, it's probably because the previous human that hiked through, gave them a ham sandwich, or left delicious garbage behind. We need to live together - or maybe not. Let's just kill all the coyotes, snakes, hawks, deer, wolves, sharks, gophers, fox; so we can live in peace already.
CJ February 14, 2013 at 07:36 PM
Amanda- When you are in a boxed canyon with your dog and young child being tracked by coyotes because they see a possible meal. You will change your tune.
CJ February 14, 2013 at 07:38 PM
Feral cats vs. coyotes is a good reason to let coyotes live. But it begins the process of normalization and increases the frequency of human coyote interaction which always will result in a dead coyote at some point.
CJ February 14, 2013 at 07:52 PM
No. just the predators that pose a threat to our species and our family, friends of family (dogs), and livelihood (livestock). So coyotes, wolves, bears, sharks are fair game if they get to close for their own good. It has worked for millions of years that way. It is how you even exist. I have thought of packing my handgun on MTN bike rides for this and other wierd hiker issues I have had on trails. Maybe I should.
c5 February 15, 2013 at 04:42 PM
CJ, that would add too much weight to your pack...:) It's funny, I have never thought of 'packing' on my mtn bike rides even though I occasionally get pretty far away from civilization.
CJ February 15, 2013 at 04:58 PM
c5- I agree,but I have run into bears, large rattlesnakes on trail and coiled, threatening hikers carrying weapons and were obviously unstable . One of which was nude the hiker that is, but I guess that would apply to bears as well :)) ! Hiker was sporting a very large and sharpened point umbrella as protection and once engaged verbally appeared to be on drugs of some sort. I cannot make this stuff up. It is true. Some of the packs of coyotes in Briones can be 4-8 at a time. When they decend down a canyon to you are very loud and threatening. You are definitely looking for protection at that point.
Louise Benvenue February 15, 2013 at 07:36 PM
CJ - If ONLY that was the case. For decades ranchers in Montana have been going up in small planes to shoot eagles and hawks by the dozens; followed by impaling the dead on barbed wire fences to "warn other birds" and "protect their cattle." Birds that size cannot even come close to picking up a cow, bull, a calf, or even part of one (which they wouldn't want anyway). Sharks are routinely shot for sport because they might be dangerous- not only the ones that 'present a danger.' Wolves are shot from helicopters in Alaska (remember Sarah Palin, oh great hunter); clearly for sport. Coyotes are soooo timid. I see them several times a week when hiking with my dog and kids. Make a weird noise and they are G-O-N-E. So to say they need to be shot is just, so shallow. Reminds me of another phrase I learned in Montana, "If you can't (expletive - have intercourse) with it, then shoot it." Way to go, fellas.
Louise Benvenue February 15, 2013 at 09:21 PM
Yes, oh wise one. I will leave all the decisions to you. Sorry.. I forgot my place.
CJ February 15, 2013 at 09:32 PM
LB- Thank for recognizing the obvious. You are excused.
Amanda February 15, 2013 at 10:29 PM
Believe it or not, I have had a similar experience on the Inspiration Trail, between Nimitz Way and Camino Pablo. I was pretty freaked, but the coyote decided to turn around and go back to dragging away the horse carcass he was scavenging.

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