A Coyote in My Neighborhood or Yard
Coyotes are found throughout Illinois—in rural, suburban and highly urban areas. So if you see a coyote resting in or crossing a backyard, golf course, park or field—that is normal coyote behavior. It is also common to see coyotes out during the day. As long as they are given their space, coyotes do not typically pose a threat to people or pets.
For more information about coyotes in urban areas check out the Urban Coyote Project.
Here are some steps to prevent human–coyote conflicts:
- Do not run if a coyote approaches you. Safety procedures for dealing with coyotes are different than those for dealing with an unknown dog. Yell, stand up straight, and wave your arms (the goal is to make yourself appear larger), or throw something at the coyote to make it move away (the goal is to scare it away, not to injure it).
- Teach your kids what to do if they see a coyote. Have them throw their arms up in the air and yell “like a monster” to scare the coyote away.
- Do not leave small pets unattended when they are outside, especially at night. Consider the use of fencing or kennel runs to protect small pets.
- Do not feed coyotes. Property owners should limit the availability of unintentional food sources, such as bird food, pet food, ripe fruit, or trash.
- Comply with local ordinances that require oversight/restraint of pets. Coyotes that are protecting their den or young will vigorously defend the area. Simply walking your dog in another area keeps everyone safe.
- Target the responsible coyote(s) when a pattern of “undesirable” behavior develops. Usually it will be easier to change human and domestic animal use of an area than to capture the coyote(s). Recognize that coyote population reduction (removing some or all of the coyotes in an area) is usually unrealistic and always temporary. Removal of coyotes also requires time, effort, and funding.
- Alert residents of the neighborhood and the local municipality (e.g., police, public safety officer) if, and as soon as, a problem develops with a coyote.
- If removal of a coyote is deemed necessary, hire a nuisance wildlife control operator who is licensed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). Coyote removals approved by the IDNR usually involve the use of cage (live) traps or padded foot-hold traps. These animals are humanely euthanized, not relocated.