HALIFAX -- A courier driver in Nova Scotia had a close call with a coyote near Windsor.

The driver had just finished a delivery and was walking back to his truck when a coyote came out of the woods and lunged at him.

"There was contact made, and there were a couple of slices on the arm of his jacket, but there weren't any punctures or abrasions to the skin," said Kim George, a wildlife biologist with the province.

The driver wound up hitting the coyote in the head, prompting it to run off.

Experts say coyotes sometimes get a bad rap among people.

The young spend the first year of their lives in a family unit before venturing off on their own. That usually happens around this time of year.

"It's not unusual in the fall to see young, naive animals out and about," said Fred Harrington, a professor emeritus at Mount St. Vincent University who studies the evolution of human and animal behaviour.

Harrington says young coyotes either already know humans because they live near them, or have never seen one before, which can sometimes prompt an unusual response.

Either way, it's import to remember one thing.

"It's essentially a wild dog," Harrington said.

It's a mysterious creature to many of us, even those whose interactions have been too close for comfort.

Harrington says the best advice if you come face-to-face with a coyote is to stand tall and make a lot of noise.

"Act like you own the place," he says.

If you want to make sure it goes the other way, take a few steps toward it -- that simple act sends a message that even the youngest coyote will understand.