Coyotes are highly intelligent animals that adapt well to changing habitats and conditions and are an important part of the natural world here at MCR.  We frequently see them in the early morning and late afternoon, roaming the fields (especially at the fields closest to the boat ramp parking lots) searching for small rodents and birds. According to NJDFW: “The first known record of coyote occurrence in New Jersey was recorded near Lambertville, Hunterdon County in 1939. The animal was described in newspaper accounts as ‘a long, bushy tailed animal looking something like a police dog but with the coloration of a coyote’. The mounted skin is in the collection of the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton. NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife received another 29 reports statewide sporadically over the ensuing 40 years, but increased significantly since 1980. To date, coyotes have been documented in nearly 400 municipalities from all 21 counties (94% of the state’s land area). Coyotes play an important role in the ecosystem, helping to keep rodent populations under control.”

They are by nature wary of humans. However, coyote behavior changes if given access to human food and garbage. If you see a coyote and it approaches, stand tall (do not crouch or run) yelling and waving your arms, as well as using a noisemaker like a whistle, horns or shakers, can ward it off.  It is also important to remember to always keep your dog on a leash at MCR, as interactions with wildlife (coyotes, bears, fox, porcupines, bobcats, etc) and your pet can happen if the dog is allowed to run free (this can put your pet, you and the wildlife living here in an unnecessary risk situation).