Coyotes have taken up residence in my yard

linnea56(z5 IL)February 7, 2010

OTÂsort of. Except that IÂm wondering what kind of effect they will have on the snow-covered sleeping garden. There are 3: one of which has a broken front paw that just dangles. They seem to have a shelter behind 2 pine trees in the back corner. ItÂs where I have all my tomato cages, similar items, and empty pots stashed.

We are the only house without a wood fence which might be why theyÂve chosen our yard. Though IÂve seen them scrambling over the fences all around us with no difficulty. Even the one with the broken paw. There is shelter in other yards too, maybe they picked ours because with no fence, they canÂt be cornered.

My handicapped cat no longer goes outside so IÂm not too worried about thatÂjust will watch to make sure she doesnÂt sneak out behind me. Other neighbors must be well aware and I assume are being careful as well. You canÂt miss the howling, after all. Every night right outside my home office window.

Coyotes have been occasional visitors to the neighborhood for maybe 5 years. A few years back they had eaten up all the local bunnies and disappeared for awhile. By last year I had a virtual bunny population explosion on my hands. I donÂt know what they are eating now, though they all look well fed. There are plenty of squirrels around, they donÂt seem to be bothered by the coyotes being there.

The route they take in and out is right over a shade bed, tracking over hostas, goatsbeard, astilbe, and some new bleeding heart. TheyÂve knocked over the stored pots. I assume for now it will be alright. But any easy path they took to get behind that tree would be over one of my perennial gardens. They could wrestle under the low tree branches to get in, but never seem to go in that way.

Tell me if I need to do something about thisÂor wait until spring. Though I donÂt know exactly what I COULD do. If they start trampling emerging plants I will get defensive. I donÂt know much about coyote habits. Maybe the urine will chase the vermin away from my garden. ThatÂs what IÂm hoping for. (Wish I could get them to pee in a jar for me!) But do they urinate near where they sleep?

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I suggest you contact the wildlife officer in your county or state. A coyote that stays away from humans is probably not a worry for humans, tho it certainly is for cats, small or medium dogs, and many wild animals.

A coyote that approaches humans or coyotes in packs are both a worry. Rabies or just plain aggression are real problems. They will attack humans, and small children are especially at risk. Get in touch with a wildlife specialist. This is too close for comfort--especially three of them.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2010 at 6:38PM
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I agree. I would call and check to see if they can be relocated. Shudder...

How tall are the fences they are scaling, out of curiousity?

I've seen a coyote around here too, once. Just walking down the middle of the street. It's very odd, as I consider our area on the urban side of suburban. Maybe that's part of the wooded areas to hang out in. We used to live near Corps of Engineers property, and never saw anything like foxes or coyotes. Then we move here and in just two years I've seen them several times.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2010 at 9:25PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

If you have neighbors and mention fences I'm going to guess not rural.

A coyote, or more than one, that has lost fear of people and has been in your yard more than once is the beginning of a no-win circumstance developing for you and for the animals.

Illinois Natural Resources suggests you do not assume your neighbors know anything and to alert them. Then call your local police department first, who may very well refer you back to Department of Natural Resources and Wildlife. Be sure to mention one is injured. Breeding season can begin as early as end of this month so don't delay your calls.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2010 at 11:00PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

Thanks! The fences are about 4 feet tall. IÂm in a Chicago suburb, not rural at all. Lots here are only a ¼ of an acre so itÂs not like there is room to roam, so to speak.
I have not been outside at the same time as them. But one thing I notice now, is that I am seeing them during the day. I never used to; but it could just be that now that they are living in MY yard, they are going back and forth a lot more.

What would a wildlife officer do? I know they wonÂt remove them, I saw it mentioned in the town newsletter. "They have a right to live here, etc.," But I guess if I talked to one, at least I could find out if this is normal behavior. Maybe they can do something about the injured one.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2010 at 11:09PM
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perennialfan273(zone 5)

Maybe you should hold off on contacting animal control. It could mean that you'll have less rabbits to worry about this year (crosses fingers).

    Bookmark   February 7, 2010 at 11:09PM
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I live near Boston and coyotes are now part of the urban animal population in Boston. The suburbs, where I live, are full of them and as long as they stay in the woods and away from people, it works. But coyotes are potentially dangerous; they have attacked both domestic pets and people in Massachusetts.

Find out the laws in your state. That should be your first step. It may be necessary to have them humanely destroyed if they pose a threat. You would likely have to hire a licensed wildlife control specialist to do this.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 9:28AM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

I would call animal control if for no other reason that to get the injured one to a wildlife rehabilitator.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 12:48PM
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linrose(6b KY)

I heard on yesterday's news that 3 coyotes were seen on the Columbia University campus in NYC. If they are in Manhattan that means they are everywhere, have adapted to urban life and could get comfortable in your neighborhood.

I agree with what everyone hear has said, find out the laws in your state, contact the appropriate officials, and see what if anything you can do to alleviate the situation.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 3:45PM
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Come to think of it, we've had spottings 30 miles south from me, also on our farm 50 miles SE they are present and get the cats (and presumably other prey).

I've not seen any yet but live close to a large park where we are overpopulated with deer which we never had (I was out a lot as a kid) growing up. There is a run along a creek which winds around for miles so it wouldn't be surprising other animals make their way in.

I feel sorry for the one with the injured paw and would try to get help for it but would want them OUT of my yard. Frankly, I'd be afraid to go outside with them hanging around, and my cat does go outside (not very long since I had him neutered).

Good luck with the wildlife people; they are there to do a job but may not tell you what you want to hear. I don't think you should have to pay to get them out; if it were something inside the house you couldn't trap yourself, yes, then I guess that's the way it is around here, also have to pick up our own road kill now, wonder if that's the case on the busy streets, doubt it.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 7:04PM
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So let me get this straight, the coyotes have been in the neighborhood for years, outside your window all winter, have caused no problems, yet some people here think they should be caught or destroyed? According to the document I've attached, there have been no coyote attacks on humans in IL in the past 30 years. Too bad the opposite can't be said.

Here is a link that might be useful: coyotes near Chicago

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 1:27AM
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They could also be a mix of coyote and dog. This is called coydog. they are more aggressive than coyotes. If they set up a home with pups they will become aggressive.
I wouldn't want them shot, as farmers do in my area.
Why don't you try to scare them away with bright lights and loud noise.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 9:42AM
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I'm not advocating destroying them, would just want them relocated away from my property and the paw treated on the injured one.

If they get too populous, I'd have to rethink that, just like I have to accept deer being culled which I find repugnant with bow and arrow as it is done here and elsewhere.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 1:22PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

They have been in the area for at least 5-10 years, maybe longer. Some years you would hear them a lot at night. But very rarely, would you see them in the daytime, and then not in the neighborhood. Daytime, only crossing into some wooded or brushy area a few miles west. Then they would disappear for a while, when, I assume, they had eaten all the usual small prey.

My husband was reading at the library last weekend, and a conversation started about how people were seeing them during the day, and how unusual that was. With the snow, they are trotting up and down the sidewalks.
There used to be a fair number of pet dogs let out loose into back yards, or cats allowed to roam outside. Now thatÂs rare. Either owners are more careful or some pets have been taken.

IÂm not expecting that anyone would take the coyotes away. I donÂt think thatÂs done around here. And IÂm all for reducing the rabbit population. But since they are definitely living in my yard, not just passing through, IÂm wondering whether I should just let them stay or make it more uncomfortable for them so they move elsewhere. We could fence off the area under that tree. At this time of year IÂm not gardening. But when I start, I donÂt want to feel anxious or threatened. As I said, they are staying right next to one of my perennial beds. They look healthy now. But I would think that the injured one is more likely to get sick.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 3:26PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Quote: "So let me get this straight, the coyotes have been in the neighborhood for years, outside your window all winter, have caused no problems, yet some people here think they should be caught or destroyed?"

That is exactly what I was thinking....

I was also thinking it might be a *good* thing - should keep the rabbits out of the yard, even better if they keep the groundhogs in check, too

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 5:59PM
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The coyotes are there because of easy food ie rabbits. But coyotes are wild animals and as such are unpredictable. I was going to suggest getting a large dog such as a Shepherd but they are probably licensed and controlled. The pressing problem is if they have a litter. Then there will definitely be trouble.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 8:05PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Coyotes are known to have attacked people; a hiker was killed on Cape Breton Island last summer. They are dangerous animals, predators, and do not belong near human habitation. They have adapted to humans much as deer have, also hugely overpopulated. Sentimentality over wild animals is not an appropriate reaction to either too many deer or too many coyotes. I'd shoot them.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 6:01AM
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Oh yeah, it's a good thing until something *bad* happens.
This reminds me of some posts I've seen on other forums where someone has discovered a hornets nest on their porch or a yellow jackets nest in their yard.
Advice given by other members had comments like, "Oh, they are just part of nature, just be careful around them". Forgive my language but screw that! If there is something in my yard that could harm me or especially my children, I will remove it myself.
We have coyotes here and they come in my yard sometimes. So far hollering and making loud noises scares them off. Hopefully that's all it will take in the future.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 8:17AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

seriously ..

you are thinking about giving up your garden to WILD animals ....

it is NOT safe for you.. nor your pets.. nor any children within the scouting zone of those animals ...

they are feral .. this is NOT a disney picture ...

be done with them.. through appropriate channels ....

look in the yellow pages under animal control .... trapping ... etc .... if nothing else.. those peeps will know the law.. and lead you toward the right person to call ...

and then.. you can enjoy the garden you have worked so hard on

your only other option is to move ... and let them have the house and garden ... IMHO

good luck


    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 8:28AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

go figure on the link


Here is a link that might be useful: todays ny papar

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 8:45AM
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I am also of the opinion that it is too close a proximity for comfort, for me.

You will never meet a bigger animal lover than me. We have [humanely] trapped and relocated possums from our garage, snapping turtles that wandered into the yard, and even a rat that we found living under our porch. It appeared to be a pet that had escaped...white with black spots. We actually found the rat a loving home, believe it or not. This summer we spent a few weeks trying to trap a rabbit. He was running through our backyard every night when I had the dogs out playing fetch. At first it was kind of funny, but one of my dogs was getting really good at chasing him, and I was afraid he was going to be successful soon. I did not care to witness a violent death, and I didn't want my dog to experience that either. We figured out his path and set a trap outside the fence, and one night, there he was!! We released him in a more appropriate habitat.

I am all for letting nature be, but as Jim said, if it is a threat to the health or safety of my family or my pets, sorry little buddy, but we're going to have to find you somewhere else to live. :)

I would also be concerned about the one with the hurt paw. :(

I hope you can find someone who will help you! What you need is someone like these guys. They're a franchise...wonder if they have a branch close to you?

Here is a link that might be useful: Wildlife Solutions

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 11:11AM
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I wonder if there is an agency that would relocate my in-laws?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 12:33PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

a divorce atty????


    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 1:00PM
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coolplantsguy(z6 Ontario)

Somehow, I think posting a question re an issue like this in a gardening forum, is somehow going to skew the responses in a certain direction. It's almost like asking at a bar, what those sitting there, think of beer production.

Please, as others have already mentioned, get a professional opinion.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 6:51PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

I had a pack of coyotes in my area last year. The only annoyance was the erie howls at night...well at first.

One afternoon I let the puppy outside and as I looked up a coyote was 15' from my patio next to a large shrub staring intently at my puppy....after a couple more encounters...including a neighbor running up from the street telling me a coyote was watching my puppy, I called the DNR (first the police, which was of no use).

Before they were relocated (they were relocated because they where inhabiting a business park...which is up over the berm in my backyard) they did tear up several baby bunnies in a perrenial garden. It was a sad sight seeig the remains on my entry way but in the end a good thing.

Based on my conversations with the DNR and the police there was nothing that you can do unless A)They HAVE posed a risk or B) Inhabiting commercial property (my situation)

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 9:03PM
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Lot's of incorrect information here. The attack in Canada is a different subspecies known to be far more aggressive than the and the IL/Cook County coyotes. Please don't base your actions on GW opinions, but on the basis of the local experts and professionals.

Don't label me a soft-hearted animal lover, I kill them frequently (for reason, not enjoyment), but I do respect ecosystems and human's role in them. As the Cook County Coyote Project notes in 2009, "Although the primary objectives of the Cook County Coyote Project did not involve relocating coyotes, as a service we did monitor 12 relocated nuisance (or rehabilitated) coyotes from the city of Chicago to document their movements and fates. We found that no relocated coyotes remained at their release site despite being located in favorable coyote habitat(usually they were gone within 48 hours or less), and each of them traveled in the general direction of their origin. No coyotes made successful returns, and many were killed by cars or hunters as they left the release site. Relocation rarely is effective for any species and particularly so for coyotes. However, many removal programs still relocate coyotes with the understanding that it will likely result in the death of that individual because relocation is more palatable to the general public than euthanasia."

Here is a link that might be useful: Cook County Coyote Project

    Bookmark   February 12, 2010 at 3:37AM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

Thank you for that link! It is very informative.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2010 at 12:10PM
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Just read a review of Coyote at the Kitchen Door by Stephen DeStefano in "The Week." I'm not sure that it will give you any advice, but clearly your situation will become more common as we continue to take over habitat. Here's a link

Here is a link that might be useful: Coyote at the Kitchen Door book

    Bookmark   February 14, 2010 at 1:16PM
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A group of coyotes can gang up on a even large dog and chase, traumatize, or kill it. As happened to a pet dog living near my sister in California.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 12:35AM
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Good link Dicot.

I hail from Nova Scotia where the attack took place on a hiker this summer resulting in death. This young woman was hiking by herself, which is not the issue here as most of us take to the woods solo around here to clear the brain and just enjoy it. They did find some candy bar wrappers in the vicinity of where she was killed and suspect she may have 'offered' them to the coyotes to bring them closer.

I have seen the coyotes of our area. They are certainly beautiful creatures but once they know you are close, they will turn away and watch from a good distance. Since they've moved into the area, our cats stay inside, the garbage bags go in the shed until G day, and the dogs have been trained to remain within a 90 foot radius of the house. It's a compromising relationship which works but we still have to be aware of their presence.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 7:08AM
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