What’s With All the Coyote Attacks Happening in New Jersey?
It’s happened again. Another coyote attack on a Rutgers campus. It’s the second time in five days for the Livingston campus. The first was when a man was walking on a path of their Ecological Preserve. That coyote was described as aggressively running at him then biting him. He was treated and the coyote wasn’t caught.
In the latest attack a man was walking near parking lot 105 on Road 3 by Sutton Lane. Again, an aggressive coyote came up from behind and lunged, biting at his leg. Luckily only the guy’s pant leg was bit before the animal ran off.
I was born and raised here and I don’t recall another year with so many coyote incidents making news. Also in 2019:
In October the Ramapo Valley County Reservation in Mahwah was closed to the public after two coyote attacks in one weekend. A woman and a dog were attacked separately. In August in the township a 53 year old woman saw a coyote chasing a deer and it darted towards her and bit her twice before returning to the chase. She fended off the attacking coyote with a baseball bat.
In Fairfield back in June a mother and her 4-year-old son were set on by a coyote. She was pushing her boy in a stroller in a park when a coyote followed her then attacked, knocking the stroller over. The woman fell to the ground and was bit on the back of her leg, then the animal turned on the child. The 4 year old was bit on the leg and people began running over to help. The coyote lunged at her again before turning away. A police officer arrived shortly after and the coyote was still menacing the area. It aggressively approached the cop and he fired several rounds from an M4 rifle and killed it.
Usually coyotes operate under the radar and are skittish around humans. Is there a rabies outbreak causing this? Are coyotes just losing their fear of humans? More than thirty years ago there were only about 100 coyotes in New Jersey. Now there are over 3,000. Hunting never seemed to help. This animal is remarkably clever and hunters who tried had very little success.
So all you can do is be careful. The advice is pretty much the same as when you see a bear. Make noise, make yourself look as big as possible, stare in its direction to let it know you see it but don’t look directly in its eyes, and never, ever run as that will trigger its instinct to attack. Also if you have a dog or a young child, pick them up immediately. They will go after the smaller, easier prey first.