Editor's Note

Editor's Note: Getting 'SMART' about coyotes

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When it comes to wildlife, I’m sorry to say I am a great coward.

For example, a large number of hissing Canada geese consider the National Safety Council headquarters their turf. Some even stand near the front entrance, as fearless and defiant as my youngest nephew when he was 3, looking like they’re just waiting for an opportunity to dart inside and help themselves to free snacks on Wellness Wednesday. More than once I’ve come to a halt yards from the doors, wondering how the heck I’m going to get in.

Similarly, I spent a warm spring years ago unwilling to open the sliding door of an apartment I had rented because a raccoon chose to spend her final weeks of pregnancy on my balcony, staring at me and displaying claws that looked more than capable of ripping through a screen and ripping me apart.

More recently on my radar screen are coyotes. I’ve spotted them by the train tracks near where I live and heard them at night. I’ve even seen them in my mom’s backyard – an incident that made me realize that if I was in the yard instead of inside looking out a window, I’d have no idea what to do.

Coyote encounters: Do you know what to do?

Key points Although most coyotes in urban areas have adapted to be more active at night, they can be spotted during the day if they lose the instinct to avoid humans. Don't feed coyotes.

This month in Safety+Health, Associate Editor Kevin Druley speaks with experts about what outdoor workers – and anyone – can do to help avoid a negative encounter. He explains the SMART method (read his article) and cites one expert who assures us that coyotes “are more afraid of us than we are of them.”

In my case, probably not. But I intend to get SMART about them, and I hope you will too.

Melissa J. Ruminski The opinions expressed in “Editor’s Note” do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.

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