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Idaho Fish and Game

Fish and Game receives reports of aggressive coyotes and fox in the Magic Valley


Residents are strongly encouraged to keep dog on-leash when recreating to reduce chances of conflicts with wildlife

Amid increasing reports of coyote and fox activity around Twin Falls and as well as other areas of the Magic Valley, Fish and Game reminds recreationists to take additional precautions with their pets to reduce the risk of potential conflicts with coyotes and foxes, especially during denning season.

Fish and Game officials in the Magic Valley Region were recently made aware of two non-fatal coyote incidents with off-leash dogs. The first encounter with an aggressive coyote occurred near Hagerman near Justice Grade when an off-leash dog was bitten by a coyote. Fish and Game also received a report that a hiker, along with her unleashed dogs encountered aggressive coyotes along the Auger Falls trail system in the Snake River Canyon.

A third encounter involved a fox that aggressively approached a man walking through a large vacant lot near Fred Meyer in Twin Falls. The report also noted that domestic cats have disappeared from the neighborhood.

Coyotes can be found throughout Idaho.

The recent incidents occurred near the peak of the coyote and fox breeding season, when coyotes and foxes can become more territorial.

Over the last few years Fish and Game’s Southwest Region office in Nampa has also received several reports of dog-aggressive coyotes in the Boise area.

“During breeding season for any wildlife species, they can become aggressive towards people and pets. Our advice is to avoid known areas with coyotes and foxes and keep your dogs on-leash when in these areas” stated Mike McDonald, Regional Wildlife Manager

A red fox walks down a path within the City of Boise.

Coyotes and foxes are highly adaptable animals and denning can occur even in city parks or along urban river corridors, which have good hiding habitat and abundant prey species. 

Encounters between coyotes and domestic dogs can happen at any time of year, and coyotes can always pose a risk to dogs in situations where they view them as either a prey source or as competition. The risk increases during the mating season (late February to early March) when coyotes – particularly males – become more aggressive. That’s also the case during denning season in spring and early summer, when coyotes are inclined to protect their young around their den sites.

Coyotes are generally active at night, though they can be spotted during the day. They are naturally fearful of humans but may become more comfortable if given easy access to human food, garbage, pet food, small domestic pets, and feral cats. 

Here are some steps homeowners and recreationists can take to keep their pets safe and prevent coyotes and foxes in urban areas from becoming habituated to living near people:


  • Remove or secure coyote attractants — such as pet food, trash or dog feces — as well as attractants for native species that coyotes are known to prey on.Coyotes typically eat small animals such as mice, voles, squirrels, gophers, raccoons, skunks and foxes. 
  • Enclose backyard poultry, livestock, or other small animals that live outside with secure fencing and a roof.
  • Don’t leave your dog outside unsupervised, particularly in areas where coyote conflicts have been known to occur.
  • If possible, ensure your property boundaries are secure by keeping fences in good repair and letting your dogs out for bathroom breaks only in fenced areas, particularly at night. 
  • If your property is not fenced, turn on outside lights and make noise before letting your dog outside, and consider taking your dog out on a leash for nighttime bathroom breaks.
  • Clear away brushy areas around your property that coyotes may see as safe denning or hiding spots.


  • Keep dogs on-leash when using trails.
  • Consider bringing a loud noisemaker with you – a whistle, bell or horn – which can be helpful in scaring off a coyote.
  • Carrying bear spray and know how to use it. It’s not just for bears and can also be used as a highly effective tool against other wildlife if an unsafe encounter occurs.
  • When hiking, make noise to announce your presence. 
  • Be present in the moment, and aware of your surroundings and your dog. Don’t use earbuds or headphones while hiking.
  • If you know that an area has recently experienced dog-coyote encounters, consider using a different trail system or an entirely different recreation area in the Magic Valley.

For more information, contact the Magic Valley Regional Office at (208) 324-4359.