With the recent news of people actually feeding coyotes and letting them “play” with their pets at a Chicago park, now might be a good idea to take a look at some of the coyote management plans here in Kane County.
Two of the Lincoln Square coyotes were relocated Monday (Feb. 6, 2017) by Chicago Animal Care and Control, but there remains some concern that more might be on the loose.
Here in Kane, the city of St. Charles put out a news release this week emphasizing that the city has adopted a Coyote Management Plan and encouraging residents to get more familiar with it. The plan was developed by the city of St. Charles and the St. Charles Park District and is available on the city website at www.stcharlesil.gov/coexisting-local-coyotes.
Area coyote sightings tend to increase this time of year, the St. Charles news release said.
“The Coyote Management Plan is designed to increase awareness about normal coyote behaviors and promote the safety of residents and their pets when dealing with potential coyote encounters,” said Laura Rudow, superintendent of parks and planning. “Human safety is the top priority of the plan, which aligns with strategies adopted by nearby communities.”
The plan contains answers to frequently asked question about coyotes, information about typical behaviors, and a checklist with tips to help make your yard unattractive to coyotes.
Coyotes are common across the state of Illinois, and are necessary in order to keep populations of smaller wild animals and vermin in check. St. Charles says we can expect an increase in coyote sightings between now and the spring as young coyotes leave their parents in search of mates and territories to call their own. And, during winter months, coyotes are more willing to venture out of their rural or wooded habitats and into residential areas in search of food and shelter.
Coyote Rules Other Kane County Communities
The city of Geneva is taking a proactive approach toward educating the public about coyotes living in suburban communities. There are helpful educational resources available on the city’s website on how to deal with these wild animals.
Geneva, too, has a coyote management plan and regularly monitors coyote sightings. A standard Coyote Incident Form is available to residents and employees on the city’s website to allow for a consistent reporting mechanism and data collection point for coyote incidents.
The city’s plan directly and specifically warns residents about “habituation,” the condition when wild animals tolerate humans at a distance and progress to closer contact.
“Habituated animals can and do become troublesome and dangerous,” the report says.
Intentional feeding of the coyotes is likely the principal cause of coyotes losing their fear of humans. “Those in the wildlife management circles believe managing the wildlife is the easy part; it’s humans that are difficult,” the report says.
Virtually every city or village in Kane County offers advice to residents about how to deal with or coexist with coyotes.
- City of Aurora: “Coyote Awareness”
- Village of South Elgin: “State Officials Offer Tips to Avoid Coyotes”
Advice From Kane County Animal Control
Kane County Animal Control offers pages of advice as well as links to Scientific Wildlife Management. Here are just a few of the tips:
Coexisting with Coyotes
Don’t feed any wild animals such as raccoons or deer, which encourages coyotes as well. Garbage should be stored in secure containers. Do not put meat scraps in compost piles.
- Remove bird feeders and outside pet food containers. Coyotes will prey upon small mammals that are attracted to birdseed and pet food.
- Don’t allow pets to run free and keep a watchful eye on them. Walk dogs on a leash, especially at night. Keep cats indoors at all times. Do not let pets out at night unless accompanied by a person. Don’t leave cat or dog food outside.
- Provide secure shelters for poultry, rabbits, or other outside pets.
- Clear wood piles, brush piles and other potential cover for coyotes. Secure garbage in areas where coyotes can’t access it; keep yards clean of refuse and brush.
- Don’t leave small children outside unattended.
- Reinforce the coyotes’ natural fear of humans by turning on outside lights, making loud noises, throwing rocks and so forth. Be aggressive in your actions. Although the response may not be immediate, eventually the coyotes will flee.
- Consider fencing your yard. Use a minimum height of 6 feet and bury the bottom at least six inches below ground level. Slant the top of the fence away from the enclosed area to prevent them from getting over the top.
- Encourage your neighbors to follow the same advice.
SOURCE: city of St. Charles news release, city of Geneva website, Kane County Animal Control website
- FEATURE PHOTO BY DAVE SODERSTROM PHOTOGRAPHY.