The Texas Panhandle coyote population is growing, and in the next few months the coyote mating season will be reaching it’s peak. The mating season began in mid-January and ends in early March. During these months coyotes are much more aggressive, and should be treated with caution.

Texas Parks and Wildlife explains male coyotes are out looking for food for their den and they are extremely territorial.

The agency says coyotes are scavengers and will eat just about anything, including small pets. It’s an issue all West Texans should be aware of as these wild animals are not just in rural areas.

Coyotes have always been a part of the urban landscape in Amarillo according to Texas Parks and Wildlife. The best way to protect your dogs or cats is to keep them inside and when they do go out, walk them on a leash.

Wildlife experts also advise not leaving pet food or garbage outside. Coyotes are often out and about around dawn or dusk. Most of the time they’re not seen during the day unless they are rabid.

The Coyote is very similar in size to a small German Shepherd and weighs an average of 25 to 40 pounds. It has long, slender legs, a bushy tail with a black tip, and large ears that are held erect. The Coyote's coat can vary, but it is usually gray or buff-colored. From a close vantage point, there is no mistaking the yellow eyes and black, round pupils. The Coyote is a strong swimmer. It characteristically runs with its tail down instead of horizontally like foxes, or up like wolves and dogs.

What to do if you encounter a coyote while walking a pet:

If you're walking a smaller dog, pick it up.

Make yourself appear the bigger threat.

Do not run or turn your back.

Continue to “haze” the coyote until it leaves the area; then you should go, too.

HAZING METHODS

Using a variety of different hazing tools is critical because coyotes can habituate to individual items, sounds, and actions. Yell and wave your arms while approaching the coyote.

Use noisemakers (e.g. your voice, whistles, air horns, bells, soda cans filled with pennies or dead batteries, pots and pans banged together).

Use projectiles (e.g. sticks, small rocks, cans, tennis balls, rubber balls).

Try other repellents (e.g. hoses, water guns with vinegar water, spray bottles with vinegar water, pepper spray, bear repellent, or walking sticks).

Remember coyotes are unpredictable. Always stay on the safe side and never assume that ignoring or running away will prevent an attack.