Coyote behavior unusual of two Steiner dog incidents, says Texas Parks & Wildlife

Kelly Simon  Texas Parks & Wildlife

Kelly Simon
Texas Parks & Wildlife

By SARAH DOOLITTLE, Four Points News

One dog was fatally bitten by a coyote last week and a day later, another dog came within two feet of a charging coyote both in the trails in Steiner Ranch.

Kelly Simon, Urban Wildlife Biologist for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, explained that in cases like this, the department may choose to kill a coyote.

“They evaluate risk. If the risk is high enough, they will determine what action needs to be taken. One option may be lethal control,” Simon said.

In her opinion, however, “That’s not the direction I would recommend.”

Simon emphasized that this kind of encounter is, “extremely unusual behavior, it’s not natural behavior” to the extent that she speculated as to whether or not these were possibly feral dogs and not a coyote or coyotes.

The two dog owners, however, are confident that they each saw a coyote.

With coyotes and humans living in such close — and increasingly crowded — quarters, coyotes will inevitably seek out other food sources, including pets. “Coyotes are highly adaptable,” Simon said.

And unlike animals like bears or snakes, which can be relocated, coyotes are pack animals, so a single animal removed from its pack would be completely lost. Coyotes are also not relocated because of Texas rabies quarantines. Killing a problem coyote is the only option.

Simon encouraged everyone to remember to, “Let wildlife be wild… Remember that coyotes are wild. Appreciate them as they are. But they need to be respected as they are.” That includes not feeding them directly or inadvertently, and keeping a respectful distance whenever possible.

To best prevent encounters, she recommended that:

  • Animals should always be on a leash.
  • In the greenbelt, carry a deterrent, such as something that makes a loud noise.
  • In the event of a negative wildlife encounter, call 311 to file a report.

By calling 311 to report human-wildlife or pet-wildlife encounters like these, Simon said that the department, “can keep track of interactions that are negative,” and determine whether or not action needs to be taken.