The Do’s and Don’ts of Wildlife Encounters on the Trail

All Illustrations by Charlie Layton

Running on trails almost guarantees you some interaction with wildlife, and that’s a wonderful thing. The likelihood of a safe wildlife encounter is far greater than an unsafe wildlife encounter. However, there is potential for a meeting with a predator, a snake or any animal that feels a need to defend itself. Here are some very general guidelines on how to stay safe and defuse potentially unsafe situations in the wild.



  • Stay calm, keep your dog on a leash and back away slowly.

  • Stop running, stand tall, and yell if a coyote(s) sees you and appears to be sizing you up.

  • Throw something to scare it away, but don’t actually hit it.

  • Make eye contact if the coyote is alone, and back away slowly.


  • Turn your back and run away or let your dog give chase.

  • Act threatening or look any of them in the eye if you are facing a pack.

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