I've grown up seeing coyotes around the Hudson Valley, and hearing plenty of stories. Most of the time if I ever saw any coyotes, I was either in a car, or watching from a window inside a house. I hadn't experienced a coyote in person, until this.

Taking a Stroll in Poughkeepsie

I go for walks after work. It's great to clear my head, and it feels nice to move around after sitting most of the day. Most of the time, I'll just do circles around my neighborhood for about a half hour, but this one day, I decided to change my route, and walk around where the Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel is in Poughkeepsie.

Conor Walsh
Conor Walsh

Right near the chapel is the gorgeous hill on the other side of the street from a group home that you can look out on and see the trees and the hills just roll on for miles. I find it to be a very peaceful place. Not so much this time...

I Was Confronted by Three Coyotes

I stood at the hill for a while taking in the sunset. All I had on me were my keys and my wallet while wearing athletic wear and a jacket. After taking in the sunset for a while, I wanted to head back before it got too dark.

As I'm walking back to the main road, out of the woods scurry out three coyotes. They see me and stop. Naturally, I stop, as well. They are blocking my way out of this development, and the route I need to get home.

I did my best to control my breathing, and stand tall. I was outnumbered, but I've often heard that coyotes are more scared of humans than humans are of coyotes. I took out my keys in one hand, and my phone in another. I've heard that when confronted with coyotes, you should try to act big and tall.

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I waved my arms in the air, making noise with the keys. Also, my phone has that feature when you shake it, the light comes on. I noticed that made the coyotes flinch a bit. I let out a deep, authoritative yell, and stomped on the ground. Again, they flinched, but they didn't run away. At this point, I didn't know what to do.

All of a sudden, a car horn broke through the night. The coyotes looked behind me, and scurried off. When I was sure the coyotes where gone, I turned around. One of the workers from the group home was getting into their car, noticed me there with the coyotes, and honked the horn to try to scare them away.

I went over to thank the worker, and we talked for a little bit. They were my guardian angel that night. They offered me a ride home, but I told them I was fine. We shook hands and went on our way. I got home just fine, but definitely a little shook.

What to Do When You See A Coyote

If you find yourself confronted by a coyote, and they do not flee at your sight, and even start approaching, you should begin a technique called "hazing" to try to scare them away. It's very similar to what I did to try to scare them off.

Coyote Smarts says to be as big and as loud as possible. Never run or turn your back on a coyote or any wild animal for that matter. To act big and loud, wave your arms, clap your hands, and shout in an authoritative voice.

If you have anything like this available, make noise by banging on things, use an air horn or blow a whistle. These sounds can also alert people nearby, as well.

Throwing stones, sticks, small balls or anything you can get your hands on is a good idea. The idea is to scare, not to actually hit or injure.

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