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How to keep Coyotes, Foxes, and Wolves Out of Your Yard and Livestock

Updated on December 19, 2012

In my part of Wisconsin wolves are unheard of, however recently a new pack has moved in just a couple miles away. Neighbors have seen what they believe to be wolf tracks in their fields and around their barns and house. With the snow finally falling people are just beginning to notice wolf and coyote tracks, however they have probably been there since the fall if not sooner.

Foxes and Coyote mating season starts in January and February and they give birth during March and April, making sightings more common during this time. Wolves mate anywhere from January to April, moving often looking for mates and a good place to den.

With increased sightings of coyotes, foxes, and wolves in the area people are becoming fearful for their families and livestock. Although these predators are coming into the yard and around the livestock it is unlikely these predators will attack your children or pets. It is more likely that your child will be bitten by your own family dog than a wild coyote, fox, or wolf. However it is never a good idea to leave young children or pets unattended outside for any period of time.

Keeping these predators out of the yard can be simple and nonlethal, with these tips and tricks keep your family, livestock, and livelihood safe and predator free.

Red Fox
Red Fox | Source
Coyote | Source
Grey Wolf
Grey Wolf | Source

Tips for keeping predators away:

Keeping predators away can be simple and nonlethal with a few tricks that will help prevent predators from coming into your yard killing livestock and becoming comfortable around people.

  • Keeping a guard dog such as a Great Pyrenees or Shepherd will prevent predators from coming to close to livestock.
  • Moving livestock to different pastures can prevent wolves from coming in and killing the young or sick
  • Reinforce chicken coops with heavy gauge welded wire along with a finer layer of mesh to prevent coyotes, foxes, or wolves from being able to reach through
  • Putting up fences will also prevent traveling predators from entering the yard and seeking out livestock, however predators have a heightened sense of smell and can smell up to a few miles away.
  • Putting up a coyote barrel (freestanding cylinder) that attaches to the top of a fence may also be an option. It prevents dogs from getting out and other animals trying to come in out. It literally rolls the animal off that is trying to climb over.

Do not feed coyotes, foxes, or wolves, whether that be on purpose or by accident.

  • Leaving extreme amounts of bird seed in feeders attracts small mammals, and coyotes. Just enough bird seed for birds is enough to keep away the rabbits and squirrels along with the coyotes.
  • Feed pets indoors whenever possible and store the feed where it is inaccessible from wild animals
  • Keep garbage cans secured shut and compost piles free of meat and easily accessible edibles
  • Bury, burn, or dispose of carcasses in fields instead of leaving them to rot

Take Away Housing:

Trim and clean shrubs and brush to ground level which reduces housing and hiding cover for coyotes, foxes, and their prey

Trapping foxes and coyotes may work as a temporary fix however new families can and may move in. Trapping also requires a licenses.

It is possible to live in harmony with these beautiful predators. They are only looking for food sources as we are slowly tearing apart their habitat. By using these tips we are encouraging them to stay away from humans and to find their food elsewhere. Winter months are long and food is scarce. With the white backdrop of snow it is easier to see the red fox and coyotes moving through the fields and pastures than it is in the summer.

Mating is in season for coyotes, foxes, and wolves and we are seeing them more often as they are looking for mates and new places to den. They have always been here, just because we can see them more, doesn't mean they have become a threat to us or our livelihood.


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    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 4 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      While one livestock guardian dog (LGD) may be enough to discourage coyotes and foxes from approaching your farm, I think it will be out numbered and outmatched by a wolf pack. We need to protect wolves as they are our valuable natural heritage. But wolves are a wild animal after all and will kill and eat a dog perceived as an intruder in their territory. A win-win situation may require keeping those breeds of LGDs that are effective against wolf predation. These include Turkish / Kurdish Kangals, Central Asian Ovcharkas, Bulgarian Karakachans, etc.

      If you have noticed wolves, keep your dog inside a safe boundary or in a safe kennel or it will become wolf dinner.

      Great hub. I liked it for the valuable information contained in it.

    • Shesabutterfly profile image

      Cholee Clay 4 years ago from Wisconsin

      I have not heard of any of those LGD breeds, but you have definitely piqued my interest. Looks like some research is in my near future:)

      I've also heard keeping a llama in with cattle, horses, or sheep is a great way to keep wolves away as well. Wolves seem to steer clear of llamas and having just one, could greatly decrease the likelihood of a wolf pack coming and terrorizing your farm animals.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 4 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      Your hub that is a must read for our ranchers in the west. Most of them demonize wolves by saying that they hunt their livestock and their LGDs too. Well, all I can say is that those ranchers make half-hearted attempts at protecting their sheep and then ask the government to allow harvesting of wolves.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      We have a wolf coming into our yard. It would be impossible to fence 6 acres of land to keep them out. We sure couldn’t afford it. We also have coyote packs that come in the yard. We just live with them and hope for the best that's all that we can do. Hoping not to run into them while on a walk. They are hanging out here because they are hunting in the farm field across the street from our house and they are hunting deer in our meadow. It was to bad that Wisconsin had a hunting season on them this year.

    • profile image

      Tom 2 years ago

      I do not believe there should be a crazy fear for Wolves, they are a part of nature but if you have dogs you should keep an eye on them at all times and not let them wander aimlessly about. I do think they should be kept in check and a reasonable harvest each year should do so which will allow hunters and the business that benefit from them continue to be stable, it will allow deer herds to remain at levels that might not make the hunters happy but it can be a healthy herd - that is the plan that makes sense to me.

    • Shesabutterfly profile image

      Cholee Clay 2 years ago from Wisconsin

      Tom I completely agree. Here in the Midwest, wolves are becoming much more prevalent and people are so afraid of them. Personally, I see it like you do and don't mind that they have moved in closer to where my parents live. It's about knowing the animal and keeping track of your surroundings and your own personal animals.

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