We don’t know if there are coyotes in Mount Sutro Forest, but we do know they’ve been seen in Golden Gate Park and Glen Canyon and Twin Peaks and Midtown Terrace. Since they can hunt over 4 km, it’s possible that they’re around.
So as a public service announcement we’re linking to a blog post about “aggressive coyotes” from Janet Kessler, the Jane Goodall of San Francisco’s coyotes. She also has a whole page on coyote safety. And if you’re generally interested in our city’s coyotes, her Coyote Yipps blog has hundreds of pictures and observations.
The main issue with coyotes isn’t humans. They’re shy of people unless someone has been feeding them, which is a Bad Idea. It’s dogs.
Dogs and coyotes are from the same family, which means that coyotes are very aware of dogs as potential threats, potential allies, or even potential mates. And dogs are often quite aware of coyotes, and may chase them.
If an unleashed dog chases a coyote, sometimes it’s a game and sometimes it is not. If the coyote feels threatened, especially if it’s near a den, especially if there are pups involved – it might attack. The solution is to keep dogs on leashes when walking in coyote territory. And maybe carry a shake-can (a small juice-can rattle with rocks and coins in it).
It keeps everyone safer. The dog. The coyote. The pups, if any. And the people involved.