Coyotes are chasing skiers at Idaho resort, experts not sure why

Coyotes in Sandpoint, Idaho, have been exhibiting “highly unusual behavior,” which includes chasing skiers at Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort.

Most encounters at Schweitzer occurred in early January, including an incident in which a skier was bitten.

But the Idaho Department of Fish and Game said patrons should be on guard and contact the agency if they spot coyotes on the slopes.

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“Before the coyotes could be located and dispatched, one bit a female skier,” the IDFG said Friday. “Although her injuries were minor, Fish and Game and Schweitzer Mountain Resort took the matter very seriously. Efforts are still underway to trap and dispatch the offending coyotes.”

Coyotes are also roaming a business district near downtown Sandpoint in broad daylight. That’s “extremely rare,” Fish and Game explained, because coyotes are nocturnal and typically wary of humans.

The body of at least one “dispatched” coyote has been retained for testing.

Experts said it’s unlikely that coyotes in the area are rabid, and they don’t begin to defend pupping dens until April and May. The most likely explanation for this behavior, Fish and Game said, is habituation to humans.

A news release about the issue was shared on the Idaho Fish and Game Panhandle Region Facebook page Friday, inspiring jokes about the presence of coyotes on ski slopes.

But one person commented that it’s no laughing matter:

“For those saying it isn’t a big deal, here’s the other side. Multiple reports from Schweitzer ski resort about coyote(s) actively pursuing and biting skiers.

“One woman was chased into a tree well and had to fight the coyote off, finally being rescued by another skier who beat the coyote with her ski poles. Getting bit and requiring rabies shots is NOT amusing.”

The Panhandle Region Facebook page will post updates as they are warranted.


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Story originally appeared on For The Win