ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO)- Recently, many people have caught a glimpse of a coyote. The animals can be found darting across the Stateline.
Wildlife experts say, even though the likelihood of running into a coyote isn’t high, it’s still important to know what to do in case you do end up in a confrontation.
“You are more likely to run into them when the weather gets nice and we’re out more often,” said Stan McTaggart with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. “That’s usually the difference, is you get more people out, you’re just more likely to run into them.”
McTaggart says a common mistake people make is feeding coyotes when they do see them.
“When we start intervening and feeding and providing artificial food, it becomes a problem because it makes the animals more aggressive and can increase populations,” McTaggart said.
If you’re concerned, you should be sure to always leash your pets, and try to walk them when there’s still light outside.
“I know it’s hard because everybody, getting ready for work, you have to take the dog out, and when you get home from work, you take the dog out, and sometimes it’s dark on both sides of that,” McTaggart said. “But stick to well-lit areas and places that have more activity and you’re probably less likely to see one.”
Tina Dawson Scott with the Boone County Conservation Cistrict says coyotes play an important role in the local ecosystem, which is why people should learn to live alongside the predator.
“People should know that predators like coyotes are important for rodent control, so we do need to keep a balance in nature and we do need to learn to coexist,” Scott said.
Experts say following neighborhood watch pages on social media is a good idea to stay informed of sightings in your area. If you find any problematic spots, you’re encouraged to report them to your local wildlife authority.
If you want to find out more about coyotes and what you can do to keep you and your pets safe, you can visit IDNR’s website to get the answers to some frequently asked questions.