Coyote puppy season prompts closure of SF Presidio areas to dogs

File photo of coyotes in the San Francisco Presidio. (Presidio Trust )

Starting next week, some hiking trails in San Francisco's Presidio will be closed to all dogs, whether on or off leashes, as coyote pupping season got underway, Presidio Trust officials said Tuesday.   

The closures will go into effect on Monday, prohibiting dogs from large sections of the Park Trail and the Bay Area Ridge Trial.

The Presidio Trust announced hiking trails will be closed to dogs starting Monday, April 4, 2022, due to coyote puppy season.  (Presidio Trust )

Officials said it was a proactive move to "reduce the potential for coyote/dog conflict," during this time of year when coyote parents tended to be on heightened alert and extremely protective of their den.

"As in recent years, we expect this year’s pups to be born in April and the den site to be located somewhere in the center of the park," the Presidio Trust said, adding, "We’ve placed signs around the Presidio – especially along trails where coyotes have been active in previous years – to raise awareness about coyote pupping season."

Officials advised that in the event that dog owners encounter a coyote while with their pet, they should quickly leave the area, but don't run. "If the coyote follows, be assertive and aggressive," officials said, noting you can forcefully throw objects toward the coyote, making an effort not to harm the animal but to scare it away. 

In the event of a close encounter within 50 feet, people were advised to use the following tactics:

  • 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).
  • Maintain eye contact, which makes them uncomfortable and timid.
  • If the coyote continues to approach, do not run or turn your back on the coyote, but continue to exaggerate the above gestures while backing away slowly. 

"During puppy season, it's even more important to leave the area immediately. Coyotes will attempt to drive away other coyotes and dogs from their pups, and hazing may not work," officials warned.

Closing these trails to dogs has been an annual practice in the Presidio for this time of year. The closures were expected to last through early September, when coyote puppy season ended. Officials reminded visitors that all 24 miles of hiking trails in the Presidio remained open to people.

Bay City News contributed to this story.