In the spring, when animals like coyotes give birth to pups, it is more likely that people walking their dogs or hiking can run across them.
Coyotes themselves really do not want to see a human, but will guard their babies by yelling or growling at you or your dog, or running at you to clear you away from their pups. Fake running charges are often a last-ditch effort. A poor outcome with a coyote parent can happen when a dog is off-leash, or a human takes a stick to the den.
They will attack a dog—especially if it tries to get into the den where their pups are.
In the wild, coyotes have not become used to humans, or “habituation”. These coyotes are often very glad to run for their lives from you. Wildlife expert, Shelley Marie Alexander, who has studied coyotes for over 30 years, has examined the statistics and found that every year, lightning results in more injuries to humans, than coyotes.
It is also not a good idea to feed them. They come to depend on you and come to your property, and those of your neighbors, more often.
In times of need, starving coyotes may be guarding their food. Or they can latch onto your clothing—demanding food. But, strict avoidance of the animals, at all times, is best, say experts. Do not needlessly endanger other humans by attracting them with food.
That said, Dr. Alexander, has also proven that it is not unusual for coyotes, even those with babies, to stay in their dens when humans approach them in urban areas. They are habituated to humans, ignore them, and stay out of their way.
Please do not go near coyote dens, if you know a den exists in your area!
Dr. Alexander of the University of Calgary, and the SPES (Stanley Park Ecology Society) program in British Columbia, are both involved in studying and protecting coyotes.
More information about respecting the boundaries of coyotes and wildlife