With colder weather sweeping in, Illinois residents, especially those with pets, should be aware that coyotes will be searching for food for winter, which means they are more likely to be closer to homes.
Lynsey White, director of Humane Wildlife Conflict Resolution with the Humane Society, said people should make sure they are not unintentionally providing food for a coyote.
“You also want to make sure you are not unintentionally feeding a coyote by leaving pet food outdoors for example,” White said. “You want to make sure your trash cans are secure. You just want to make sure you are not providing any additional sources of food.”
The Humane Society offers a few recommendations for pet owners to keep coyotes from being attracted to your house. Residents should avoid feeding pets outside, make sure yards are free from fruit that has fallen from trees, clean up bird seed, set trash cans out the morning of pick-up instead of the night before and use trash cans with tight lids. If composting, do not compost meat or fish.
Neighborhoods with free roaming pets can also attract coyotes. Keep pets in an enclosed, coyote-proof area. Coyote-proof fences are at least eight feet tall and made from materials coyotes cannot climb, or at least six feet tall with a protective device like chicken wire on top. Fences also must extend at least one foot underground to prevent coyotes from digging under to get through.
“The most important thing is to make sure that you’re not letting your cats or dog roam around freely outside,” White said.
If a coyote is spotted, the Humane Society recommends hazing. Hazing involves yelling and approaching a coyote with arms extended or using noisemakers like pots and pans to scare them. Residents also can throw items like sticks or small rocks that will not hurt coyotes. It is important to continue showing aggression toward the coyote until it has left the area completely.
The Humane Society said killing a coyote will not eliminate them from the area because another one will simply move into the unclaimed territory, and the species is effective at reproducing in large numbers.