I woke up to a surprise on Saturday morning.

My fiance and I live in a housing development in Sauk Rapids. It is a pretty busy area, and in no way is it considered "the country", but when I took my dog out to go potty Saturday morning there was a coyote standing in my backyard. It wasn't a small one either. This thing was the size of a full grown Labrador. As I stood in the yard with my dog on his leash, the coyote looked at me, and just trotted away. He wasn't scared of my 13 pound dog or myself, he just didn't want anything to do with us.

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I always take my dog out on a leash, we don't have a fenced in yard. But I can't help but think what could have happened if that coyote was back there, and I had left my fluffy rabbit-looking dog unattended.

Coyote mating season is in full wing in Minnesota right now too. The season usually lasts from January all the way through February, so they are out in full force, and males can be aggressive. The Minnesota DNR even issued a warning this year about the abundance of coyotes and importance of keeping an eye on your pets.

Coyotes are capable of easily jumping over a 6 foot fence, and are popping up more and more in urban areas. The best things to do would be to clear yards of any food scraps and bird seed, and always keep an eye on your pets when they are outdoors. Though it is uncommon for coyotes to kill large dogs, they do have potential to injure them enough for a vet visit.

If you do have an encounter a coyote, you can typically scare them off by yelling, waving your arms and flashing light their way.

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