Denver Metro Area Coyote Behavior Study


Watch videos of presentations made at the November 5, 2014 Denver Metro Area Coyote Symposium.

Denver Metro Area Coyote Behavior Study

December 2013
- Over the past two years, Broomfield has been a participant in the Denver Metro Area Coyote Behavior Study, led by Researcher Stewart Breck (USDA-National Wildlife Research Center). Previously, this study has involved the collaring of coyotes in Broomfield and other metro areas with GPS tracking devices to better understand the movements, behaviors, and territories of coyotes. This month, researchers will be moving into another phase of the study to review community-based hazing of cCoyoteoyotes and how it may alter coyote behavior.

Researchers are currently working with Broomfield staff to select three or four sites in Broomfield where the low-intensity hazing activities will be targeted. In these locations, researchers and local volunteers involved with the project will try to promote the hazing of coyotes to citizens that may encounter coyotes while using public trails.

For the purposes of this study, ‘hazing’ will consist mainly of vocal or noise-making methods to frighten coyotes and make the animals less comfortable around humans. Researchers also advocate physical or visual actions to help haze coyotes, like waving of arms or stomping of feet. These accepted methods of hazing do not include any chasing of coyotes or any physical contact with the animals. These hazing practices are the same practices that Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff has promoted through its public outreach literature and are also listed in Broomfield's Coexistence with Wildlife Policy. Broomfield staff has provided this information to citizens over the past several years. The hazing work will take place before young coyotes are born in the spring so that the hazing will not impact adult coyotes with their young.

The purpose of these activities is to determine whether a community-based coyote hazing treatment can make coyotes less visible (i.e., wary of people) and alter coyote behavior and reactions to the presence of people. A secondary objective will be to use educational tactics and information campaigns to encourage people to use low-intensity hazing when coyotes are too close and create a safety concern.

The primary goal related to these objectives is to determine if people’s interactions with coyotes can be altered so that a reduction in human-coyote interactions and conflicts can be achieved in urban environments.

Public notice signs will be posted prominently in the locations at the research sites, so that residents are aware of these activities. The locations will be selected to coincide with areas of known coyote-human conflicts, pet attacks, or reports of bold coyotes. Cameras will also be placed in these locations to film coyote activity.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Who is involved in the Denver Metro Area Coyote Behavior Study?
A: The study is led by the National Wildlife Research Center and is supported by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, along with Broomfield, Lakewood, Aurora, and Jefferson County.

Q: What types of areas will be chosen for this research?
A: Areas will be selected where coyotes frequently are observed close to humans and residential settings along public trails and open space. Other communities, such as Thornton and Lakewood, are also planning to be involved in the hazing study.

Q: What can residents expect to see within the study areas?
A: This research will take place exclusively on public land. Residents will likely see signs and may encounter volunteers along the trails at study areas. The signage and volunteers will provide education about coyotes and encourage residents to haze coyotes when the animals are seen, by shouting, using noise makers, or waving their arms at coyotes to scare them off.

Q: How long is the hazing portion of the study?
A: Researchers plan to be in the Broomfield area over the next six to eight weeks, depending on weather and other logistics.

Contacts for more Information:
CSU Coyote Project: Stewart Breck – 970.217.0433
City and County of Broomfield: Pete Dunlaevy – 303.438.6216

Project Overview

Why engage citizen scientists in the Denver Metro Area Coyote Behavior Study? Including citizens in the data collection process (citizen science) includes stakeholders in the process of knowledge building and allows citizens the opportunity to actively engage in finding solutions to coyote conflict. Wildlife biologists sometimes use a citizen science approach on projects and problems that have stakeholders as a central component and where more traditional studies cannot be applied due to funding, staffing, or land access limitations (Weckel et al., 2010).

The Coyote Watch program supports the goals of the Denver Metro Area Coyote Behavior Study by engaging citizens in knowledge building through informed coyote observation, fostering improved understanding of coyote ecology, behavior and interactions with people and pets at the community level, which may help reduce negative interactions between coyotes and people overall.