Dog walker takes Marin Headland's coyote concerns into his own hands

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A Marin man, concerned about coyotes, is taking matters into his own hands and posting signs at a popular trail.

"I just want people to be aware they're in the area, and be alert," Brian Bullard told KTVU, as he taped signs along the Alta Trail in the Marin Headlands.

It's a three-mile path, through private property and into the Golden Gate National Recreational Area, and leads all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge.

It's popular with hikers and dog-walkers from neighboring Marin City and Sausalito.

Bullard, owner of Fur Family and Friends, says Alta is very popular with commercial dog walkers like himself.

"There's at least 10 different companies, during the day, they come up with six dogs each," he explained.
Bullard's coyote concerns escalated earlier this month when two coyotes attacked a 60-pound pit bull that ventured off the trail into the brush. It wasn't badly hurt, but was nipped enough to get checked at the vet.
Bullard started hanging his laminated signs soon after.

They read "Coyote Alert" and advise open-space visitors to avoid approaching or feeding coyotes.

Bullard says it's especially important to have dogs under voice control, because coyotes are especially protective of their dens this time of year, during pup season.

He was even surprised by a close encounter as he was hanging signs.

"There was a coyote right in front of me, I couldn't believe the timing," he said, "and he watched me the whole time I was putting up the alert sign."

"I'm definitely concerned, " visitor Patricia Davis told KTVU as she walked her dog Wesley on-leash, "because he'll see a deer or a rabbit, and off he goes".

"It's their home, so we're definitely intruding, " said Casey Roh, as her german shepherd romped on the path.

"A coyote passed within ten feet of me and wasn't even fazed, wasn't scared of me or my dog, so they definitely should be treated with respect."

Bullard demonstrated how people should startle coyotes so they remain skittish around people.

"The best thing to do is make yourself look large, wave your arms, and shout, 'hey coyote, hey coyote move, coyote move'", he explained.

He hopes his outreach will help all creatures on the trail co-exist peacefully.

"The dog walkers, we're a community and it's just really nice we can help each other out, help visitors out," Bullard said,

"Coyotes are great animals, it's great that we can all be here in nature: dogs, humans, coyotes and other wildlife."