Nova Scotia

Cape Split coyote attacks dog on hiking trail

A woman says her 31 kilogram dog was attacked by a coyote on a Cape Split trail last weekend.

Coyotes may be more protective because pups could be nearby

Department of Natural Resources says a coyotes can get more aggressive if sick, or if pups are nearby. (Rory Eckenswiller, John Benson)

The Department of Natural Resources wants to talk to a woman who says a coyote attacked her dog while hiking the Cape Split trail last weekend.

The story was posted on the Facebook page, Scotian Hiker, and it has people curious.

The page administrator, Don Crowell, said the posting reported a coyote attack on a leashed 31 kilogram dog, as its owners hiked the trial.

Crowell said he's never come face to face with one of the animals but he knows they're around the area.

 "I've seen tracks at Cape Split on a number of occasions so they're out there," he said.

Department of  Natural Resources Conflict Wildlife Biologist Mike Boudreau says there are not as many reports of aggressive coyotes this year as there were last year, but that may change.

"There's different types of reports that come in, from sightings, to someone being followed, to having a bold animal; one that's not backing down," he said.

The department introduced a coyote bounty in recent years, designed to make the animals fear humans and stay away from them.

Controlling the population

Boudreau says approximately 1869 pelts were turned in last year, slightly more than the year previous. 

He's not able to say whether the program is working, but both he and Crowell say people should continue to enjoy hikes and the great outdoors.

Boudreau said the department's website has suggestions on how to deal with coyotes, including carrying a walking stick.

"Just be aware of your surroundings," he said. "Travel in pairs or a larger  group and try to avoid the dusk and dawn hiking."

Crowell says he usually hikes in groups so the sound likely scares the animals, but he carries a compressed air horn with him just in case he encounters one.

Boudreau says there are any number of reasons a coyote may be aggressive this time of year. Their pups could be nearby or the animal could be sick.

Boudreau said they check out all reports and he encouraged people who have encountered coyotes to report them to the department of natural resources, either online or by calling their local office.

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