In Illinois, coyotes are protected as a furbearer. Coyotes in urban areas that become problems may be removed if a nuisance wildlife permit is issued by an Illinois Department of Natural Resources District Wildlife Biologist. There have been no human attacks by coyotes in Illinois in 30 years.

Food-associated coyote attractants

Feeding of wildlife, including bird feeding: Feeding of wildlife, such as raccoons, deer, raccoons and squirrels, often attracts coyotes, more for the presence of prey than for the animal feed itself, although they may sometimes eat the feed as well. Even feeding birds, if seed is spilled on the ground or is accessible to squirrels, can serve to attract coyotes. Residents should take care to reduce the risk of attracting any wildlife other than birds by taking steps to keep squirrels out of feeders, and removing spilled food promptly.

Pet food: Pets should be fed indoors whenever possible. If a pet is kept outdoors, it should be fed once a day and the uneaten food removed immediately.

Garbage: Garbage should not be left outside in plastic bags or otherwise unsecured. For garbage pickup days, garbage should be put out that morning if possible.

Habitat availability

Places that can shelter small mammals are likely to attract those animals, which in turn may attract coyotes. Examples include: woodpiles, crawlspaces under decks and sheds, junk piles, unsecured garages or attics, heavy brush and trees, uncapped fireplace chimneys, etc. Removing or sealing up these types of harborage not only decreases the likelihood of attracting coyotes. It can also prevent issues with other wild animals.

Discouraging coyotes from becoming habituated to humans

Although the City of Chicago has had no reports of attacks on pets or humans by coyotes, owners of small dogs or cats should monitor their pets carefully when they are outside and not allow them to run at large. (This is a violation of City ordinances and puts your small pets at risk.) Coyotes normally will not bother larger dogs, such as labs, Springer spaniels, etc. Of course, small children should always be supervised when they are outside. If a coyote has become “too comfortable” around humans, experts recommend making them uncomfortable: chase them off with loud noises, throwing things at them, etc. There are other devices that may frighten or irritate coyotes, such as motion-activated sprinklers. See Coyote Hazing: Guidelines for Discouraging Neighborhood Coyotes.

Coyote control

Coyote control programs are often established in response to public pressure based on perceived — rather than actual — threats, and are generally difficult, expensive and of little value. A number of methods have been tried to control coyotes. Most of these methods also present a threat to non-target species, including domestic pets and sometimes protected, threatened or endangered wildlife. Several of these methods also present a hazard to humans, especially children, as well.

Details of the study of urban coyotes in Cook County, Illinois, are available at: The Cook County, Illinois, Urban Coyote Study.

Tips from Chicago Animal Care & Control

Illlinois Dep’t of Natural Resources Recommendations

Living with Coyotes Brochure