Coyotes have become a frequent sight in Cook County in the past few years. Populations of the species, which were indigenous to northern Illinois, have returned in recent decades in greater numbers. Since coyotes favor undeveloped land, this is particularly noticeable in the vicinity of Cook County Forest Preserves.
Hodgkins has one forest preserve, Theodore Stone Woods, and is bordered by another, Sunset Meadows, just to the west. Coyotes have been spotted frequently in and around Hodgkins for many years now. Although coyotes tend to avoid humans, there are circumstances that can increase human-coyote contact, which can often become a nuisance to humans and deadly to the coyote.
According to the Audubon Society of Portland and the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control, there are a number of strategies the public can adopt in order to reduce conflict with coyotes:
- Be sure to supervise children and pets outdoors. House pets should be kept indoors or in controlled access to the outdoors (walking on leashes and/or confining in a fenced-in yard)
- Never feed a coyote
- If you see a coyote in or near your yard, shout and make loud noises to signal they are not welcome
- Remove any fallen fruit from your yard
- Never approach a coyote. Cornered coyotes will bite, and habituation to humans is the primary cause of aggressive foraging around yards. Teach children to respect wildlife from a distance
- Cover and secure household garbage
- Consider installing a motion-sensitive outdoor lighting system if coyotes become a frequent visitor to your property
If a coyote becomes a nuisance by aggressively following children or animals, or if they are repeatedly spotted in yards during the day, they should be removed by professionals. If you encounter an aggressive or threatening coyote, contact the:
Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control
10220 S. 76th Ave.
Bridgeview, IL 60455
You may also contact the Hodgkins Police Department
at (708) 352-4476.