Watch out for coyotes during mating season; animals seen on Rio Grande Trail | AspenTimes.com

Watch out for coyotes during mating season; animals seen on Rio Grande Trail

Ryan Summerlin
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

It may be the procreating season for coyotes, but it's also a time when the animals get increasingly agitated with humans.

A jogger recently reported a coyote on the Rio Grande Trail near the new Riverview School that was getting a little too close for comfort.

While she was jogging along the trail south of Glenwood Springs, she first noticed an unusual amount of feces on the path. Then, she saw the coyote come out of the bushes, said the woman, who did not want her name used.

When she turned around to jog home, the animal followed her, she told the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. And the only way she could get it to stop following was to turn around and walk backward to watch it.

Aggressive coyote behavior is a known issue for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, said Mike Porras, CPW's northwest region public information officer. The combination of a growing human population and a robust coyote population is leading to increasing conflicts, he said.

CPW has been seeing these kinds of issues on the Front Range as well as in rural Colorado. Coyotes are very adaptable and are just as at home at 12,000 feet as in the inner city, Porras said.

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Once they've found food, shelter and space, they're likely to remain there, and if they've set up a den and had a litter, then they can become very territorial and in defense of their litter, he said.

CPW encourages residents to inform the department immediately if they encounter an aggressive animal.

John Groves, Carbondale district wildlife manager, said that CPW has received only one report about a coyote on Rio Grande Trail, but the department will take further action if they get any more reports of a coyote acting aggressively in that location.

The behavior that the jogger reported is a little abnormal for a coyote, and it may indicate that it has a den nearby, Groves said.

But that's difficult to say without more investigation of the area, he said. With only one report, it's hard to say if this coyote is a problem or it's simply an isolated incident, Groves said. This time of year is also breeding season, making coyotes more territorial and prompting more conflicts, he said.

If you come across an aggressive animal, you should try to chase it away by yelling at it and raising your arms. And if the animal persists in being aggressive, get out of the area and inform CPW, Groves said.

If you have a dog, keep it on leash while on the trail and don't allow it to run away from you, as coyotes are known to lure dogs away.

CPW also runs into issues with people feeding coyotes, conditioning the animal to expect humans to be a food source, which can lead to serious conflicts, Porras said. These kinds of conflicts also are concerning due to the possibility of a coyote carrying diseases, such as rabies.

For more information on coyotes and potential conflicts, visit http://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/LivingwithWildlifeCoyote.aspx.

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