Coyote Alerts: Presidio trail closures to dogs; dog and owner find themselves surrounded

Photo by Presidio Trust

This week, the Presidio Trust sent an email out alerting people to specific trail closures in the Presidio as a result of increased coyote activity and aggression towards dogs.

It’s pupping season for the Presidio’s coyote population, and that means new coyote parents are vigilant about protecting their dens and newborns. Where normally coyotes are pretty relaxed about their human and canine neighbors, during pupping season, all bets are off.

“During pupping season, coyotes are especially protective of their pups, and the parents may exhibit aggressive behaviors when they encounter other canines. In response to reports of aggressive coyote behavior towards dogs in the Presidio, the Presidio Trust is taking additional precautions to protect people and pets,” the alert email said.

The precautions include closing several trails to all dogs, whether on-leash or off-leash: the Park Trail between West Pacific and Crissy Field and the Bay Area Ridge Trail between Arguello and Rob Hill Campground. The Presidio expects to reopen these trails to dogs in August/September after pupping season ends. Coyote pupping season typically runs from March through October.

Signs are posted near these areas in the Presidio, warning dog owners about active coyote dens where adult coyotes and newborn pups are living. If you have a dog and walk in the Presidio, do not walk on these trails until further notice.

The Presidio trails that are temporarily closed to all dogs.

Pack Of Coyotes Surround Dog Walker

One dog owner had a harrowing experience recently in the Presidio when she and her small dog were surrounded by several coyotes at once.

Kathryn Lasater, a Presidio resident, told CBS News that a pack of coyotes surrounded her and her small dog, Oscar, and started moving in until she started screaming.

Neither was injured in the encounter, but Lasater said, “They were aggressive and they weren’t afraid…that’s scary.”

Another neighbor to the Presidio, Debbie McMicking, wants the Presidio Trust to remove the coyotes from the area.

“I think it’s just a matter of time until one of them darts out and grabs a little kid,” she told CBS News.

The news story also says that some that are upset by the coyotes’ aggressive behavior are hinting at possible legal action again the Presidio Trust.

“What comes first is the safety of our dogs, and of our children, and of our people,” Lasater said.

The Presidio’s Coyote Population

The Presidio believes that as of May 2017, there are seven coyotes living in the Presidio. This is based on a monitoring and data collection project that began in Spring 2016. Of those 7, two are adults (the alpha pair), three are adolescents from 2016 that have yet to disperse, and two are recently born pups.

There were as many as 10 coyotes in the Presidio but through the tracking data, the Presidio Trust learned that three coyotes left the area.

“All headed south, one going as far as Los Gatos. So far, at least two have been killed by vehicles. A fourth coyote died of unknown causes in the Presidio,” they reported on their Coyote website.

What To Do If You Encounter A Coyote

If you do encounter a coyote and it gets within 50 feet of you, these are the actions that the Presidio Trust recommends taking to warn it off:

– Be as big and loud as possible; shout in a deep, loud, and aggressive voice
– Wave your arms and throw small objects (to scare, not injure) toward the coyote
– Maintain eye contact (which makes them uncomfortable and timid)
– If the coyote continues to approach, continue to exaggerate the above gestures while backing away slowly. Do not run or turn your back on the coyote, but do exit the area. Please report this type of incident.

If you encounter a coyote during pupping season (spring through fall) AND you have a dog with you, the best course of action is to back away slowly and to leave the area immediately. Coyotes will attempt to drive away other coyotes and dogs from their pups, and hazing may not work.

If you have an encounter with a coyote anywhere in the Presidio that concerns you, please report it to the Presidio Trust coyote hotline at (415) 561-4148 or by email to coyote@presidiotrust.gov.

Sarah B.


  1. Also worth noting per the included map, the Presidio Golf Course DOES NOT have public walking paths, they’re all on the exterior of the course. While many runners/walkers typically ignore this, it would be quite unfortunate if you get hit with a ball walking on one of the golf courses cart paths. And, it would be completely your fault, regardless of how bad the golf shot is 🙂

  2. They’re not just limiting to the park borders. Was at the intersection of Presidio and Balboa Thursday eve at about 10:15 and clearly watched an adult coyote dart across the blvd, turn the corner at 14th and trot down the park side of the sidewalk – watched it for about a block or so heading north. They do range out.

  3. Is there any information on the area within the park that the person was “surrounded” and the circumstances, was their dog on or off leash?

    It sounds like the person did the right thing by hazing the coyote(s) in the end, but, it would be useful to have actual details to determine if the person was walking their dog off leash and where in the park they were – were they walking in an area the park posted as closed to dog walking.

  4. Jeffrey, while not isolated to the Presidio Golf Course, I’ll tell you that regular golfers see 2 to 3 coyotes every single round we play…..so much so that we mention being surprised if we don’t see a few each round.

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