Backpacking and coyotes - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 11-06-2018, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
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Backpacking and coyotes

Going backpacking with my 18 month 75 lb male GSD on padre island national seashore. I'm a little worried about coyotes. We will share a small tent. I originally wanted to do tent-less but I figure with the coyotes better to keep dog contained with me.

I've heard they tend to approach in remote areas on the seashore, but that generally yelling at them and acting threatening will get them to leave you alone.

Planning to carry a firearm (legally), mace, and a knife for protection.

Not sure whether I will have cell reception the whole way yet but going to drive it beforehand (4wd) to see. It's about 60 miles out and 60 miles back. He's well-conditioned for the hike and I'm going to cache water along the way on the drive.

So any coyote tips? Bite triage if one of us happens to get bitten?
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 11-06-2018, 07:11 PM
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I would find another place to go. You might be able to fend off me or two coyotes but not a pack. Especially if it is just you and your pup. If you're with a group of people that would be different.
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 11-06-2018, 07:21 PM
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Where are you going that you think coyotes may be an issue? I live in the north west US and our coyotes tend to be small and usually keep their distance, however there are other places in the US and Canada where they're larger and more aggressive so my experiences may differ from what you'll encounter.

How is your dogs recall around wildlife? or will he be kept on leash? Loose dogs can sometimes attract problems so it's something to keep in mind.

Our "city" coyotes can be habituated enough to human activity to be something of a nuisance and on rare occasions be a real problem. Out in the sticks coyotes tend to be more wary and keep their distance or at least that's been our experience. If you are going somewhere other hikers have encouraged interaction, fed them, or left food unsecure you may find coyotes that have associated people with food. Keeping a clean camp, tying your food supply up and out of reach and you'll likely minimize the potential for encounters. Bear spray and perhaps a boat horn would be worth taking along. Hope you have a good trip!
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Last edited by Nigel; 11-06-2018 at 07:24 PM.
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 11-06-2018, 07:40 PM Thread Starter
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Where are you going that you think coyotes may be an issue? I live in the north west US and our coyotes tend to be small and usually keep their distance, however there are other places in the US and Canada where they're larger and more aggressive so my experiences may differ from what you'll encounter.

How is your dogs recall around wildlife? or will he be kept on leash? Loose dogs can sometimes attract problems so it's something to keep in mind.

Our "city" coyotes can be habituated enough to human activity to be something of a nuisance and on rare occasions be a real problem. Out in the sticks coyotes tend to be more wary and keep their distance or at least that's been our experience. If you are going somewhere other hikers have encouraged interaction, fed them, or left food unsecure you may find coyotes that have associated people with food. Keeping a clean camp, tying your food supply up and out of reach and you'll likely minimize the potential for encounters. Bear spray and perhaps a boat horn would be worth taking along. Hope you have a good trip!
Going to padre island national seashore, it's a barrier island on the Texas coast near Corpus Christi. Park website says 20-50 lb coyotes if it's accurate. Some of the beach is well traveled but the last 50 miles or so of beach is remote and 4wd vehicle only.

I seen quite a few stories of people online that claim the coyotes will bother you. I'd imagine a lot of them are familiar with people and handouts. The impression I get is that they are rarely aggressive.

Horn is a good idea. Will pick one up.

I checked and park permits off leash dogs in the 'primitive' area of the park. His recall is great and i will have him off leash most of the time. He sticks so close to me he might as well be leashed.

Thanks!
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 11-06-2018, 08:35 PM
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Get a bear banger. I have one and commonly carry an airhorn on remote hikes. Be cautious with off leash around coyotes as one of their favorite tactics is to bait dogs away from you. Don't wait for them to become an issue, run them off on sight.
My thoughts have always been that the best trained dog is going to disobey once in it's life and it is going to happen at the worst possible moment.
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 11-06-2018, 08:38 PM
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See if you can find some local regulars who frequent that stretch (backpackers/hikers, preferably dog owners) to give you the current rundown.

Most of the time coyotoes honestly are not an issue in the backcountry, but I’d trust local feedback above most else.
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 11-06-2018, 10:28 PM
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I've never heard of coyotes attacking an adult human and I've been around them all my life. I can't imagine they'd attack a 75lb GSD either, more likely to lure your dog away from you into a pack trap. So either a long drag line or e collar for recall, I can't imagine a driven 18 mo pup has a bomb proof recall. Keeping your dog in the tent with you at night is a great idea, hope he doesn't knock it down like mine did when she was that age. A lighted collar is a good idea too for evenings. Not sure any of those weapons will do you much good as you are unlikely to get close enough to a coyote to use them.
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 11-06-2018, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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I've never heard of coyotes attacking an adult human and I've been around them all my life. I can't imagine they'd attack a 75lb GSD either, more likely to lure your dog away from you into a pack trap. So either a long drag line or e collar for recall, I can't imagine a driven 18 mo pup has a bomb proof recall. Keeping your dog in the tent with you at night is a great idea, hope he doesn't knock it down like mine did when she was that age. A lighted collar is a good idea too for evenings. Not sure any of those weapons will do you much good as you are unlikely to get close enough to a coyote to use them.
Yeah, backpacking tent i have is so flimsy he could tear a hole in it without even trying.

I've seen two 'crazed'? coyotes in my life. Neither attacked anyone but ran around in an unpredictable fashion, confused. Rabies or something? I'm not sure.

His recall is really robust and his personality and record of behavior makes him running off after a coyote extremely unlikely. I've had two other dogs that I wouldn't trust at all in such a scenario. But, if we are just walking for hour on end, there's not really any reason for him not to be on a leash anyway. So I will exercise caution.

I am maybe being overly cautious. But I like to be as prepared as possible.
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 11-06-2018, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by WIBackpacker View Post
See if you can find some local regulars who frequent that stretch (backpackers/hikers, preferably dog owners) to give you the current rundown.

Most of the time coyotoes honestly are not an issue in the backcountry, but I’d trust local feedback above most else.
I'll try to get some feedback from a park ranger or someone like that and see what they say.
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 11-06-2018, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by ausdland View Post
I've never heard of coyotes attacking an adult human and I've been around them all my life. I can't imagine they'd attack a 75lb GSD either, more likely to lure your dog away from you into a pack trap.
Not sure any of those weapons will do you much good as you are unlikely to get close enough to a coyote to use them.
Coyotes aren't likely to attack, but they are famous for luring dogs and I have seen some pretty seasoned dogs fall for their tricks.
I carry a bear banger and airhorn because I don't like harming things. The bear bangers can be used from a fair distance and coyotes scatter.
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