The Vermont Warden Service responded to a coyote attack in Panton on June 19. The complainant is a resident of Panton who has not responded to a request to be identified in this release.
The complainant reported that they were walking a farm road through an un-mowed pasture behind their residence with their dog, when an apparently healthy coyote emerged from the grass. They reported that the coyote attacked their dog—which the complainant has not confirmed was leashed—and subsequently attacked and bit the complainant, leaving a puncture wound in their cheek.
The complainant separated themself from the coyote and retreated with their dog while shouting to keep the coyote at bay.
Emergency medical services (EMS) and Game Warden Wesley Butler responded to the scene. The coyote was not present when Warden Butler arrived. The complainant was treated by EMS on site and was advised to seek medical advice regarding precautionary treatment for rabies.
“The complainant did many things right in this incident,” said Game Warden Wesley Butler. “Resolving the immediate threat, making loud noises to deter the coyote from attacking further if applicable, and retreating from the area and contacting emergency services are what we would recommend in any similar situation.” Butler added that there have not been further reports of a coyote in the area.
Coyote attacks on people are rare in Vermont. Since 1991 there have been only four prior coyote attacks in Vermont, one of which involved a rabid animal.
Other states advise that aggressive behavior by healthy coyotes is most common during the late spring and summer when coyotes defending young will be protective of the area around their dens, or in cases when coyotes have become habituated to finding food near people’s residences.
The Fish and Wildlife Department recommends avoiding recreating near known den sites through September, making sure to keep dogs leashed, and using deterrence techniques like making loud noises, waving your arms, or throwing sticks or stones if approached by a coyote.
“Coyotes are important members of our ecosystem and Vermonters have a good track record of living safely alongside our state’s healthy, stable coyote population,” said Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department Wildlife Biologist Chris Bernier. “Coyotes are naturally avoidant of people, but also adaptable. To help keep Vermont’s coyotes wild, we recommend similar steps to those advised for bears: minimize attractants like unsecured garbage or livestock, use deterrents like loud noises to haze individuals away from your property, and report coyotes that show consistent bold behavior or little fear of people to Fish and Wildlife.”