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Thread: Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes?

  1. #1

    Default Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes?

    We've got lots of unwelcome "guests" in my neighborhood. First we were inundated with chipmunks, now it's coyotes. The coyotes are pretty bold and look starving. I can see their ribs in at least 2 cases.

    Is it worth pointing a bright flashlight on them to scare them away? How about strobe?

    I told my wife to flash him then throw the flashlight at him and scream like a banshee if he doesn't run. I never saw coyotes my life before this year. Now I know of at least 3 different ones I've seen this week. All different sizes. Each one always alone when I see him.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic Midnight Oil's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes?

    I've managed to shoo away raccoons with my R2 in a CL1H.

    I would place myself behind a good solid barrier, though. Just in case.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Midnight Oil View Post
    I've managed to shoo away raccoons with my R2 in a CL1H.

    I would place myself behind a good solid barrier, though. Just in case.
    We don't want to play with them! We're concerned about entering or leaving the house in the dark. Not likely to be anything to hide behind.

  4. #4
    *Flashaholic* Sgt. LED's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes?

    Shotgun, if they are too close for comfort.

    Why play with them?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes?

    That would get me a fast trip to jail where I live.

  6. #6
    *Flashaholic* Sgt. LED's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes?



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  7. #7

    Default Re: Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes?

    +1 on the shotgun. Even that's out of the question, a supersonic .22 caliber air rifle can deliver a pretty good blow to a coyote.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes?

    No doubt that those previously mentioned chipmunks are part of the reason the coyotes are present, looking for dinner. Most coyotes I have encountered don't even need to be flashed with a light to avoid me but I am sure it would help.

    Be more concerned with a coyote that doesn't start looking for a way to get clear of you when you do light him up....rabies could be involved.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes?

    1) No, they probably don't scare coyotes. Search CPF, you'll find lots of threads on how lights don't really scare anyone/anything/anybody/anytime. I mean, yeah, disorient with strobe a little, but are you scared of light?
    2) They're probably not "starving." you just don't see a lot of fat coyotes, now do you? They may be hungry since they're in your neighborhodd for the first time.
    3) Coyotes are pretty timid. They're in the neighborhood where I grew up, and always take off pretty easily. And if not, they're not too aggressive.
    4)sure, shoot them. Of just yell a bit. If you're that scared of a 45lbs 'dog,' carry some pepper spray or a baseball bat.

    Worry more about the cougars, bears, other humans. whatever else your neighborhood has.
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  10. #10
    Flashaholic Midnight Oil's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes?

    How 'bout flood lights in front of your entrances with motion sensors?

    Won't do you much good away from the house though.
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  11. #11
    Flashaholic* TORCH_BOY's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes?

    Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes? Not sure, I know Guns do

  12. #12

    Default Re: Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes?

    My families cats aren't the slightest bit scared of, or even interested in, bright flashlights. I doubt a coyote would feel any differently.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes?

    The only predators in the area are fisher cats and now coyotes. Walking down the street one looked right at me and then sauntered into the woods in no hurry at all. I was too surprised to do anything but he didn't seem to be afraid of me at all. He DID look hungry. As far as all coyotes being skinny I have no idea. As I said first I've even seen. The other two times we saw them were from the car as we entered the driveway. They ran from the headlights so I hoped the flashlight might be as effective.

    My wife is pretty scared because there have been reports of people bitten by coyotes around here but usually they're trying to prevent the coyote from eating their dog on a leash when attacked. Another case the coyote attacked a child and her grandfather was badly bitten fighting off the coyote. I read that "city" coyotes like ours don't have the fear of people that coyotes in the wilderness do.
    Last edited by recDNA; 07-19-2010 at 08:36 PM.

  14. #14
    Flashaholic* ti-force's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes?

    I also agree with the lead/copper propelled by gunpowder scenario, but since it's not an option where you live, you may have to resort to other options. While it's probably very unlikely that these Coyotes will harm you, there's always the possibility when you're dealing with a wild animal, and if you happen up on a pack of them they could get brave. There are certain chemicals that could be used to do the job, but you need to make sure it's the Coyotes that get it, and not the neighbors dog. You need to bait the Coyotes with food and slip the substance in the food. Just be responsible.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes?

    I don't know if lights scare coyotes, but I have moved them away from me on a lot of occasions by shining a bright light on them. I think that they find them unpleasant, especially on a dark night. Just a fact that you are focusing on them may make them back off to some degree. I can't carry a shotgun, as suggested. I take my nightly walks on a trail with quite a few coyotes, but pepper spray or more serious hardware can be kept in a pocket. After a lifetime of being in coyote areas, I have never felt like one of them was going to attack me. But, there is always that chance. Especially if they are rabid or fed by people.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes?

    Good idea but too many pets in the neighborhood that get loose. I don't want to poison my neighbor's cat. Eventually I suppose the coyotes will eat all the pets that get out.

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* ti-force's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes?

    Quote Originally Posted by recDNA View Post
    I read that "city" coyotes like ours don't have the fear of people that coyotes in the wilderness do.
    Most of the time these "city" Coyotes were wounded or crippled somehow, and can no longer fend for themselves in the wild, so they resort to an easier meal. If the flashlight thing works at running them off, you're still not solving the problem, you're just treating the symptom, so to speak. You need to get rid of the problem. Of course others will come along afterwards, so it will probably be ongoing.

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* ti-force's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes?

    Quote Originally Posted by recDNA View Post
    Good idea but too many pets in the neighborhood that get loose. I don't want to poison my neighbor's cat. Eventually I suppose the coyotes will eat all the pets that get out.
    Sometimes you have casualties at war..... Nah, I understand you don't want to harm any pets. Plan B- A trap of some type. Are you allowed to have a bang stick where you live? If you could trap them one at a time (again baiting with food of some type would be needed), you could use the bang stick to finish the job.

  19. #19
    Flashaholic notsofast's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes?

    I had one in beam of my DEFT for quite a while until he got to where he headed into the woods. He could have exited into the woods at any time but didn't. The travel distance was about 50yds. He would look my direction periodically and I kept thinking how it must hurt his eyes and ruin his night vision to look at that intense light.

    In this case the answer would be no.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes?

    Coyotes are pretty timid in my neck of the woods. A quiet fart will scare them off here. Never tried a light.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes?

    Based on my experiences with shining my Fenix TK40 in Turbo mode on various dogs, nope. Dogs aren't scared at all of it when in turbo or strobe modes.

    But, a whistle does work. I'd suggest getting a Fox 40 whistle and keeping it in your pocket at all times. I've found out that one sudden blast of even a common police whistle gets even the most vicious dog to run away.

    That's the case with dogs, but I'm not sure about a coyote because I've thankfully never come across one.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes?

    Quote Originally Posted by recDNA View Post
    The only predators in the area are fisher cats and now coyotes. Walking down the street one looked right at me and then sauntered into the woods in no hurry at all. I was too surprised to do anything but he didn't seem to be afraid of me at all. He DID look hungry. As far as all coyotes being skinny I have no idea. As I said first I've even seen. The other two times we saw them were from the car as we entered the driveway. They ran from the headlights so I hoped the flashlight might be as effective.
    My one experience with coming across a coyote where I live (town borders on green space) matches the first bolded passage above. However, I was driving my car at the time, so my experience is quite different from the second bold - the coyote sauntered across the road staring right into my headlights, not the least perturbed. Makes me think a flashlight won't do much, even on strobe.

    Quote Originally Posted by recDNA View Post
    Good idea but too many pets in the neighborhood that get loose. I don't want to poison my neighbor's cat.
    +1. It's NEVER a good idea to leave poisoned food around. I'd recommend you check with your local wildlife control office for advice (or even humane society - they often field these sorts of calls). But I suspect their advice will be to keep any pets or children away from the coyotes, and insure there are no other food sources on your property. And that's probably the best advice to follow.
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  23. #23

    Default Re: Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry237 View Post
    I don't know if lights scare coyotes, but I have moved them away from me on a lot of occasions by shining a bright light on them. I think that they find them unpleasant, especially on a dark night. Just a fact that you are focusing on them may make them back off to some degree. I can't carry a shotgun, as suggested. I take my nightly walks on a trail with quite a few coyotes, but pepper spray or more serious hardware can be kept in a pocket. After a lifetime of being in coyote areas, I have never felt like one of them was going to attack me. But, there is always that chance. Especially if they are rabid or fed by people.
    I have a neighbor who left his garage door ajar 24/7 for his cats to come and go. I noticed the garage is now closed all the time. I bet the coyote was eating the cat food in there..or the cats.

    I'm not afraid of them but my wife is. Maybe I'll get her some pepper spray.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes?

    I my experience lights only scare coyotes if they associate the light with something more lethal or frightening to them. Once you've shot at one while using a light, he will head in the opposite direction the next time he sees any kind of light. We can shoot around here, maybe one of those loud airhorns would scare them, but I haven't tried it.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes?

    Quote Originally Posted by ti-force View Post
    Sometimes you have casualties at war..... Nah, I understand you don't want to harm any pets. Plan B- A trap of some type. Are you allowed to have a bang stick where you live? If you could trap them one at a time (again baiting with food of some type would be needed), you could use the bang stick to finish the job.
    Yes, trapping them is legal. No on the bangsticks. They're still considered firearms. I'd have to trap him THEN poison him. I wouldn't want to try to pick up the trap with him in it or I could throw it in a barrel of water. With my luck I'll catch every animal BUT the coyote. We have lots of skunks and they like cat food too. Nix on the trap idea.

    The key thing is thanks to all your help I know the flashlight won't do anything but allow us to watch where they go. We have woods (conservation land) on 3 sides of the house but they're not very deep. It's amazing to me that deer and coyotes and goodness knows what else can live in such a small wooded area. I'm hoping to get a picture of the coyote next time I see one for the town paper.
    Last edited by recDNA; 07-19-2010 at 09:52 PM.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes?

    Coyotes are not dogs....sure they may be canines....but not dogs. While the rabid ones are certainly to be feared with reason, most others will simply leave you alone. Kinda the whole "Can I eat this?No. Can it eat me? Possibly." thing of seeing another predator. Which is what we are to them.

    Every coyote I have lit up with my light has stopped what it was doing and upon me moving toward them has ran away as though I was chasing it. While I'm not sure that I could say that they are afraid of the light itself, they do understand that the light means there may be something bigger behind it that can hurt or kill them.

    Poison is an indiscriminate killer, not only is it likely to kill the coyote...but the toddler who happens across the trap and finds the bait interesting.

  27. #27
    *Flashaholic* Sgt. LED's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes?

    Paintball gun.
    Zing their asses a few times and they will develop a fear of people again and I think that'd still be legal.
    If enough of your neighbors do the same I bet they would move to another area before long.

  28. #28
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes?

    I have predator called coyotes at night and use a flashlight with a red cover lens (Surefire E1L) and it is very effective. The coyote will come into the call regardless of the light and the light will blind the animal and allow you to adjust and aim your rifle without spooking the coyote to flight. I have used the light to pick up eye reflection by turning on and off the light in short bursts and the reflection of the light off the eyes of the predator are like beacons that can be seen easily up to 200 yds and probably further out. To answer your question, no, the light will not scare away the coyote. Your smell and movement are what will spook the animal to flight.

  29. #29
    Formerly d1live
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    Default Re: Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sgt. LED View Post
    Shotgun, if they are too close for comfort.

    Why play with them?
    I hear ya Sgt.. I keep a 12 gauge in the bedroom with a Olight M20S mounted to the barrel lately Using 3 to 3 1/2 inch magnum shells they dont stand a chance, and they are scared of bright light which is the main reason I use a red filter (+ its the law here in WV), green works good at distance's over 100 yards (using a 204 rifle) but green is illegal to hunt with in most states. Sounds like you need to call the local game warden or law enforcement agency for more answers, they may come out and trap the animals. Coyotes run in packs so their are many more lurking, be careful taking the trash out ect ect

  30. #30

    Default Re: Do Flashlights Scare Coyotes?

    Nope. I'd lose my carry permit if they caught me shooting a paintball gun in town. Kids used to shoot mailboxes so they passed an ordinance against them. Most encounters have been too short to get out a paintball gun and shoot anyway (although it sounds like fun to me). I just want my wife to feel safe going to and from the car at night. I think pepper spray on her keychain would make her feel safer. Whether she'd have the presense of mind to use one quicky enough I don't know. I just want her to feel safe around the house.

    I usually like animals but not when they make my wife uncomfortable in her own yard.

    The police just take too long to get here to be of any use. These animals don't lay around waiting for anybody. When I see them they're always walking or running. Probably feel uncomfortable in the open.
    Last edited by recDNA; 07-19-2010 at 10:03 PM.

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