Dealing With Coyotes
Coyotes inhabiting the Chicago metropolitan area are a fact of life. Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) biologists estimate there are more than 30,000 coyotes in Illinois. As coyotes are usually nocturnal hunters and are naturally very wary of humans, many residents of Hanover Park are unaware of their presence in our area.
Although coyotes are less common than some of their furry counterparts- raccoons, skunks, opossum etc., they remain the top predator in the local wildlife food chain. This fact alone sometimes inspires fear and uneasiness in people. However, research into the nature of this creature indicates we can rest somewhat easy.
It is well-documented that most coyotes co-exist quite peacefully with residents of our area, but problems do sometimes arise. On rare occasions coyotes have been known to attack small pet domestic dogs and cats. Documented coyote attacks on humans in Illinois are extremely rare. In fact, a small child or adult is many times more likely to be attacked by a stray dog or even the family pet. In spite of these odds, there are steps we should take as responsible parents and pet-owners that will further protect their safety. These strategies are listed below:
Strategies to Prevent Nuisance Coyotes:
· Never leave small children and pets unattended. If a coyote approaches you do not run but rather yell, stand up straight and wave your arms or throw something at the coyote to scare it away. The goal is to make yourself appear larger. Pets should be walked on a short leash. It may be helpful to carry a portable compressed-air horn, a loud whistle or other noisemaker to help scare away coyotes.
· Property owners should limit the availability of unintentional food sources such as pet food, bird food, fruit from backyard trees and trash. Never intentionally attempt to feed or leave water outside for a coyote or other animals. Make sure garbage containers have tight-fitting lids.
· Do not provide shelter for coyotes or other wildlife. Remove any brush or wood piles from your property. Check underneath backyard sheds for any evidence of burrowing.
Please be advised that Village police personnel do not respond to reports of coyote sightings, nuisance complaints of coyotes, or any other wild animal complaints unless the animal poses a clear and immediate threat to public health, safety or welfare, and all other practical options for removal have failed. A vicious, injured or any wild animal suspected of having rabies should be reported immediately by telephoning 9-1-1. Removal of nuisance wildlife from private property is the homeowner’s responsibility and is best left to a professional contractor having the training, experience, equipment and the required trapping permits from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to safely resolve the situation. Private contractors handling animal nuisance issues may be found in the telephone business directory (yellow pages) listed under “wildlife removal services.” Many are on-call 24 hours a day.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources also maintains a website: www.dnr.illinois.gov, which lists private contractors in each county who have permits to trap coyotes. Further information about coyotes is also available by contacting the local Region II Office of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, 2050 West Stearns Road, Bartlett, IL 60103 (telephone 847-608-3100).
Some very interesting facts are presented in “The Cook County, Illinois, Coyote Project” which is a continuing study of coyotes inhabiting the greater Chicago metropolitan area (2000-Present). The project is headed by Dr. Stanley Gehrt, School of Environment and Natural Resources, Ohio State University. The website to access this study is: www.urbancoyoteresearch.com.
Residents are also highly encouraged to click on the link below to watch a 10 minute video called “Coyotes in Suburbia: Preventive Measures” which is presented here with permission from the City of Wheaton, Illinois.
Questions regarding the Village’s policy on coyotes or other wildlife may be directed to the Code Enforcement Unit Supervisor during normal business hours at (630) 823-5565 or to the Police Department Supervisor on-duty after business hours at (630) 823-5500.