If you hear what sounds like a little dog howling in the middle of the night, it’s most likely a female Michigan coyote yearning for love. You may have heard coyote cries in the previous month since coyotes are in the midst of the mating season, which starts in mid-January and runs through March. Those midnight sounds are coyote love songs, and they’ve arrived just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Coyote breeding season occurs typically in late February and early March, with a gestation length ranging from 58 to 63 days. During this time of year, male coyotes might become more hostile. When coyotes approach a neighborhood or farm, they endanger your dog cats and may loot the bird feeder. During mating season, this danger increases.
Michigan Coyote Behavor
Coyotes in Michigan are mainly carnivorous, its diet consists primarily of deer, rabbits, hares, rodents, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates, though it may also eat fruits and vegetables on occasion. Its characteristic vocalization is a cry made by lone individuals.
Families establish in the middle of winter when females are in season. When a female coyote is ready to mate, she often attracts males by scent marking and howling. A single female in heat might attract numerous potential men who will pursue her for up to a month. Once the female coyotes have selected a mate, the pair can be in a couple for two to three months before mating. Even in locations with high coyote numbers and enough food, the Michigan coyote remains rigorously monogamous.
According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, coyotes are found in almost any habitat in Michigan, including urban and suburban areas. People accidentally establish suitable habitats for adaptive species such as coyotes, foxes, rabbits, squirrels, deer, geese, and turkeys, allowing these creatures to spread outside typical natural habitat borders. If your cottage or cabin is near a Michigan state game area, chances are you have seen or heard a Michigan Coyote nearby.
While coyotes are an essential component of our ecology, some residents may find them bothersome.
“If there’s an unwelcome coyote in the area, look for possible attractants that might make the area appealing,” said Holly Vaughn, wildlife outreach and engagement manager with the DNR.
“Is there a nearby patch of woods or natural area that provides shelter? Are there food sources, such as bird feeders that attract small mammals or an abundance of rabbits?” Vaughn said. “Where possible, modify or remove the things attracting coyotes or the small mammals they prey on.”
Changes might be as easy as removing bird feeders and keeping garbage cans indoors until trash collection day. You may also use “hazing” strategies to keep coyotes’ innate dread of humans. These actions limit the chances that coyotes or other animals may become used to finding accessible food supplies.
“You want to make it an uncomfortable and unpleasant experience for the coyote to be near people,” said Vaughn. “Coyotes that become accustomed to being around people may become bolder as their fear lessens. So it’s good to remind them that people should be avoided.”
Hazing Methods to Deter Michigan Coyotes
Hazing means removing an animal from an area or discouraging an undesired habit or activity by using deterrents. For example, hazing can help coyotes retain their fear of humans and keep them away from backyards and play areas.
Use various hazing strategies to avoid coyotes becoming used to repetitious or single stimulus gadgets, noises, and movements.
- Intimidate the coyote by yelling and flailing your arms as you approach it.
- Make Noise – Using your voice, whistles, air horns, bells, “shaker” cans filled with pebbles or coins, pots, lids, or pie pans smashed together
- Throw a stick, a tiny rock, a can, a tennis ball, or a rubber ball.
- Water pistols with vinegar water, spray bottles with vinegar water, pepper spray, or bear repellent
Other Methods to Remove Michigan Coyotes From Your Land
If you’ve tried these methods and coyotes are still hanging around your property, or if you’re concerned about their presence, contact a nuisance wildlife control company for assistance. The DNR allows these firms to remove some species, including coyotes, from private land.
If hunting is permitted in your location, the coyote hunting season is open statewide year-round, with no bag limit. Check local laws and review the statewide hunting and trapping regulations for coyotes in the current Fur Harvester Digest at Trapping and Fur Harvesting.
Learn more about coyotes and how to handle conflicts with wildlife at Managing Michigan Wildlife.