(Pixabay)

Woman walking dogs attacked, stalked by pack of coyotes on Mission trail

Massive spike in coyote attacks reported in Lower Mainland over winter

A pack of coyotes attacked a woman hiking with her three dogs on Sunday, before stalking her down the path until she could reach safety.

Cindy Wade said the “shocking” encounter has given her anxiety about trekking a trail that’s been a part of her routine for a decade. She said she worries it could happen to somebody else.

“I never saw it coming. I never heard it coming, ” Wade said. “The next thing I knew my feet were in the air I was just trying to figure out what had hit me.”

The incident is the latest in a massive spike of coyote attacks on humans over the winter, B.C. Conservation Service has previously told Black Press media. All of these attacks have been on runners and cyclists.

RELATED: Runners and pets fall target to coyotes, cougars in Lower Mainland

At approximately 3 p.m., April 25, Wade was walking Jacob’s Ladder Trail adjacent to Heritage Park when something slammed into the back of her knees, causing her to fall head over heels downhill.

The next thing she heard was her Australian Shepherd screeching, and seeing a “big blur of fur” as she got to her feet. Wade’s fall had been partially broken by her large Karelian Bear Dog, which then chased off the attacker into the woods behind them.

She said she heard crackling in the bushes to her left, and caught a glimpse of brown ears peaking above the foliage.

When Wade turned around, she was face-to-face with the head coyote again, which had circled back and stood elevated on the hill she had just tumbled down.

She said it was three feet away from them, and big.

Wade said she initially turned to run, but stopped herself, instead opting to stare down the large coyote while walking backwards until she could reach an exit. The wild dogs followed.

“I just kept screaming, “No! No! No!” and yelling and putting out my arms – he didn’t seem to care,” she said. “I could hear the other ones right close to me in the bush walking.”

RELATED: ‘Never run from a coyote’: Canadians report increased sightings during pandemic

The tense standoff lasted for 10 minutes, Wade estimates, until she ran into another group on the trail, who escorted her to her van.

B.C. Conservation Service has confirmed the report, and said an officer investigated the area shortly after the attack, but no trace of the animals could be found.

“We’re monitoring the area very closely,” said Sgt. Todd Hunter. “It is relatively rare … but it does happen from time to time.”

Hunter said they haven’t been alerted to similar encounters in the area which would indicate any escalation, but that the service is taking the incident seriously.

He said they’re alerting people to be cautious in the area, and report any further incidents immediately. Signs will be installed if further reports are made in the next few weeks.

Generally, the BC Conservation Service’s response is dictated by circumstance, not pre-judged reactions, Hunter said, but added they won’t “jeopardize safety.”

“We don’t really have an ability to relocate coyotes back into the environment, especially if they’re in a conflict where someone’s hurt,” he said. “(But) we’re not going around wantonly eliminating wildlife.”

Hunter said it’s a peak time of year for human-wildlife interactions, and they are seeing an increase in encounters as more people go outside and the weather warms.

A variety of factors could explain Sunday’s incident, but easy food sources in the community are a big concern as it can cause abnormal behaviours in coyotes, according to Hunter.

“People are leaving things out … They are actually diminishing the public safety in the area,” Hunter said. “Those types of habituated coyotes are the most dangerous.”

People hiking in wooded areas need to be prepared for potential wildlife encounters, travel in pairs, make noise, and follow municipality’s rules around dog leashes, according to Hunter. He said that prevention is the best response.

“I’m not saying this is the case in this situation, but we are recommending those things,” he said. “In this case, the person was yelling, and she put fear into the coyotes and they ran off. That’s exactly some of the type of stuff that we want people to do.”

Wade said the behaviour seemed territorial to her, and they may have thought she and her dogs were another pack. She said they had passed two teenage boys, just prior to the encounter.

“I grew up on a farm, and I’m used to little tiny brown coyotes. I’ve never been worried,” Wade said. “I was just always under the assumption if I left them alone, they’d leave me alone.”

RELATED: Coyotes kill dog, chase cyclist in Fraser Valley; conservation officers issue warning


@portmoodypigeon
patrick.penner@missioncityrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

MissionWildlife

Just Posted

David and Julie Kaplan with their children Estelle and Justin. (Special to The News)
BC family whose move was stopped by COVID border closure back on the road

Maple Ridge’s Kaplan family will arrive at their new home in Nova Scotia on Wednesday

A sign to students outside Pitt Meadows secondary. The school is currently listed by Fraser Health as having COVID-19 exposures. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Schools in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows have COVID-19 exposures

Highland Park, Laity View added to list of nine with cases in past two weeks

Balaji Kumar in front of his backyard observatory in Maple Ridge. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge man makes astronomical discovery

Balaji Kumar spotted a dwarf nova outburst from his backyard observatory

Jack Emberly is the host of a podcast on CEED Pod. (The News files)
CEED Centre in Maple Ridge launches new podcast

Available on CEED Centre website

The Ridge Meadows Flames are hosting an under-15 development skate this summer. (Facebook)
Ridge Meadows Flames announce under-15 development camp

Junior B club to host eight skates in July

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

Brad MacKenzie, advocacy chair for the ALS Society of B.C., says having research projects in the province allows people here to have access to cutting-edge treatments now being developed. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds research chair for Lou Gehrig’s disease at UBC

Pandemic has cut off patient access to international projects

Terry Driver as he looked around the time of the killing of Tanya Smith and the attempted murder of Misty Cockerill in Abbotsford in October 1995. No current photos are available of Driver.
‘Abbotsford Killer’ Terry Driver denied parole, deemed ‘high risk’ to re-offend

Driver murdered Tanya Smith, 16, and seriously injured Misty Cockerill, 15, in 1995

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

In this Monday, March 15, 2021 file photo a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is pictured in a pharmacy in Boulogne Billancourt, outside Paris. Questions remained Wednesday about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada, as Manitoba limited use of the shot and Ontario announced it planned to save an incoming shipment to use as second doses. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Christophe Ena, File
Questions remain about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot in Canada

More than two million Canadians have received AstraZeneca and 17 have been confirmed to have VITT

A Mountie issued B.C. RCMP’s first ticket for non-essential travel May 1. (Black Press Media files)
Driver ticketed, told to ‘return to Lower Mainland immediately’ by Vancouver Island police

The motorist was originally pulled over for driving-related offences May 1

Children walk back to their classroom while wearing masks and physical distancing at St. Barnabas Catholic School in Scarborough, Ont., in October, 2020. A group of B.C. teachers has issued an open letter calling for the relaxation of non-pharmaceutical interventions for children in B.C. schools. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)
Group of B.C. teachers calls for easing of pandemic measures for students

Teacher group says ‘response to COVID is out of balance to the cost our youth are paying’

Most Read