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Shelburne mother shaken by coyote encounter

A Shelburne County woman says a coyote followed her son at the beach.
A Shelburne County woman says a coyote followed her son at the beach.

SHELBURNE, N.S. - A typical beach day turned scary for a Shelburne family during a trip to Round Bay Beach in Shelburne County.

Alisha Gardner, her seven-year old son Evan and her baby went to the beach to play and then a coyote got too close for comfort.

“I let Evan out to play while I sat in my van with the baby while he slept,” said Gardner.

While looking towards Evan something caught her eye.

“There was a coyote approaching Evan,” she said. Shocked, she screamed for her son to come to her. The coyote looked up and moved to the grasses by the beach.

The coyote started to follow the family. Gardner started to make roaring noises, clapping her hands to scare the animal away.

“It started jumping through the grass towards Roseway Beach,” she said.

The event left her shaken.

“Coyotes up there are popular,” she said. She warns that people travelling the beach should keep their pets and children close.

“This one seemed very curious with Evan,” she said.

She said at first her son thought it was a small deer, until it got close.

“He was shaken up, especially when he saw it was coming towards him,” said Gardner.

She said she remembered the hiker, Taylor Mitchell, who was killed by a coyote attack in Cape Breton.

“If it can happen there it can happen anywhere and these things aren’t nice and don’t seem to be scared,” said Gardner.

She reported the incident to Nova Scotia's Department of Natural Resources.

“DNR has investigated an incident based on a report of a boy being approached by a coyote,” said department representative Krista Higdon.

“We are trying to get additional information to determine appropriate action,” said Higdon.  She said it is important for the public to report unusual sightings or odd coyote behaviour to the DNR office.


 Be coyote smart


If you encounter an aggressive coyote, DNR says to remember the acronym BAM! (Back away, Act big, Make noise)

The department also says that fear of a coyote encounter should not stop people from enjoying outdoor recreational activities. It says to take these steps to reduce risk of an unwanted encounter with a coyote.

• Hike with friends.

• Be aware of your surroundings.

• Use a walking stick and carry a noisemaker such as a bell, a whistle, an air horn, or a personal alarm.

• Do not feed animals in the woods or along trails.

• Never discard food in the woods. Coyotes with access to human food or garbage lose their fear of people.

• Always walk your dog on a leash. If your dog is attacked, never get between your pet and the coyote as the coyote may turn its aggression toward you.

• If you see a coyote, do not approach it.

• If a coyote approaches you, don't run. This can cause the coyote to chase you

(From the Nova Scotia department of Natural Resources website)

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