According to the Humane Society:

Coyote attacks on people are very rare. More people are killed by errant golf balls and flying champagne corks each year than are bitten by coyotes.

On a Wikipedia page listing attacks by coyotes on humans, I counted 22 attacks in 2017 in just the US and Canada.

So based on what the Humane Society said, there should have been over 22 people killed by flying champagne corks and golf balls in 2017. Is that anywhere close to being true?

  • 1
    Do note that many coyote attacks are likely not reported. Jun 1, 2018 at 16:30
  • 2
    I think the article meant that those two other causes of death should be combined. Suggesting that more than 22 people a year were killed either by an errant golf ball or by a flying champagne cork. Not 22 of each.
    – Steve-O
    Jun 1, 2018 at 20:34
  • bls.gov/opub/mlr/cwc/… of golf deaths says "struck by falling object" only killed 6 people from 2001 to 2006
    – user36688
    Jun 1, 2018 at 22:03
  • 2
    I completely doubt that more people die due to flying misc. golf balls and corks. Coyotes can be somewhat aggressive in places where more of them are, but it isn't like they just jump out and attack you anywhere. Learned this from having alot around my house. Random Fact: They will kill dogs very quickly, especially small ones. Jun 1, 2018 at 22:23
  • 3
    I suspect they might have meant that more people are killed by those causes than are killed by coyotes.
    – Obie 2.0
    Jun 2, 2018 at 0:18

2 Answers 2


Not likely

  • As noted in the question, 22 coyote attacks were noted in 2017 alone. As mentioned in the comments, coyote attacks that do not result in serious injury may go unreported.

  • The Wikipedia page notes that there were 48 confirmed coyote attacks in the US between 1998 and 2003. That's a while ago, but it would still suggest about 8 a year.

  • Accurate statistics on champagne cork deaths are hard to come by, but so far as I can tell, there haven't been any. Various unreliable sites, however claim over two dozen champagne cork deaths a year, which may be the source of the Humane Society claim:

    Yes, people are killed by flying Champagne corks! Latest big news in this area was Dingxiang Loeng, Chinese business man, who was killed after being hit on the temple with a cork from a bottle of Champagne. Approx two dozen people are killed by Champagne corks each year with weddings the most common place this happens.

  • Not even Dingxiang Loeng was killed by a champagne cork. That story came from a fake news website, as confirmed by Gawker.

  • I can't find evidence of a single person killed by a champagne cork.

  • Golf balls deaths do exist, but they seem to be uncommon. I can't find a comprehensive source, but this newspaper did a search and only came up with six over many years.

  • A possible quibble is that the statistic only talks about coyote bites, not attacks. However, several of the coyote attacks mentioned on the page include bites. For instance:

    On July 4, 2017, a one-year-old boy was bitten by a coyote in Hastings, Nebraska.

    And give how coyotes try to kill their prey, bites also seem likely in the other cases as well.

As such, I conclude that it is highly unlikely that more people die from champagne corks and golf balls than are attacked by coyotes.

However, it is possible that golf ball deaths (not champagne deaths, which seem to be a non-entity) may outnumber deaths by coyote bite. Apparently, only one human is known to have been killed by a coyote in Canada, and similarly in the US. If we consider the various deaths by golf ball that we've already established to have occurred, it might well be accurate to say that more people are killed by golf balls than coyote attacks.

  • 4
    That's the beauty of that claim - if we have 40 people killed by flying golf balls, and I can't find a single instance of a flying cork killing someone, then "more are killed by golf balls and flying corks" is technically true, but the inclusion of the non-existent cork deaths into the mix gives the intended additional triviality factor to the statistics. Jun 4, 2018 at 20:26
  • not all who are attacked die, this doesn't address the claim...
    – dandavis
    Jun 5, 2018 at 18:42
  • @dandavis - Did you miss the closing paragraphs to this answer? I don't see that the answer has been edited, and it clearly does discuss deaths vs attacks. Jun 5, 2018 at 21:05
  • I guess the disparity between "not likely" and "it might well be accurate" got me...
    – dandavis
    Jun 5, 2018 at 21:06
  • @dandavis - Okay. That's a legitimate critique. Thanks for clarifying. Jun 7, 2018 at 20:42

It is easy to believe that more people are killed by golf balls, which are small and hard and travel fast, and by flying corks, than by coyotes. This is comparing killed and killed, not killed and attacked.

Wikipedia has a category deaths due to coyote attacks. It lists only:

On 26 August, 1981, 3-year-old Kelly Keen was fatally wounded by a coyote in Los Angeles.

On October 28, 2009, 19-year-old folksinger Taylor Mitchell was killed by coyotes in Cape Breton National Park, Canada.


As far as I know those are still the only two known coyote attack fatalities. Assuming that a bunch of earlier fatalities have not been recorded, that still makes about 28 years between coyote attack fatalities on the average, which may make them several times as rare as fatalities from hard, fast flying golf balls.

But non fatal coyote attacks are much more common and are probably several times as common as fatalities from golf balls.

  • 2
    Decent research on the coyote deaths, but this answer falls flat by not assessing the number of golf ball deaths. It seems to just turn into conjecture at the end, suggesting that since coyote deaths are low, golf ball deaths must therefore be several times more frequent. Jun 6, 2018 at 20:01

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