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coyotes in yard

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From: Becky Honaker
Antioch, IL
I was wondering what steps should be taken regarding two coyotes. They have taken residence in a den which our street believes to be in some tall grass, they will both travel out and around several yards (at least five) every night around 11, and sometimes several times a day. They are sniffing around swingsets, and in places where small children play. Several of us have dogs, and are scared to let them out in the yards. When seen, my husband will go outside and yell and wave his arms. Often they are not scared and will just stand there. Is there something we can do to make them go away? We are concerned for the small children and dogs.

Extension Message
From: Laura Kammin
Visiting Extension Specialist, Pollution Prevention
Extension-Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program
Coyotes are becoming a part of the urban landscape. In many cases, this means that coyotes will be seen sitting in backyards or running across the park or golf course (even during the day), or denning in more secluded locations. As long as the coyotes are not taking pets or being aggressive towards humans, a live and let live approach works best. Coyotes are smart, curious animals. They will sit and watch people or pets. But they should not approach people. A small dog or cat should not be left outside alone when coyotes are in the area. Not all coyotes would take a pet, but they are predators, and it is best not to give them the option. Larger dogs should be fine; they typically substantially outweigh the average coyote. You can find more information about what to do when coyotes are in your area at:

But the basics are: * Alert residents of the neighborhood and the local municipality (e.g., police, public safety officer) as soon as a problem develops with a coyote (a problem would be missing pets, etc. and not simply seeing a coyote in the area). * 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 a coyote. * Do not feed coyotes. * Property owners should limit the availability of unintentional food sources such as bird food, pet food, ripe fruit, and trash. * Comply with local ordinances that require oversight/restraint of pets. Do not leave small pets unattended when they are outside. Consider the use of fencing or kennel runs to protect small pets. * Recognize that coyotes are a permanent fixture in Illinois’ rural, suburban and urban areas. Seeing a coyote(s) cross a field, backyard, golf course, road, etc. does not necessarily constitute a problem or a dangerous situation for humans or domestic animals. * 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. * If removal of a coyote is deemed necessary, hire a person with coyote removal experience who is licensed by the IDNR. Coyote removals approved by the IDNR usually involve the use of cage (live) traps or padded foot-hold traps. * Safety procedures for dealing with coyotes are different than those for dealing with a strange dog. If a coyote approaches you, do not run. Yell, stand up straight and wave your arms (the goal is to make yourself appear larger), or throw something at the coyote to scare it away. If you have more questions please feel free to e-mail me.

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