As coyote mating season gets underway, residents are reminded to take extra care with family pets while outdoors. Male coyotes can become more aggressive during this time of year and since dogs and cats can look like prey, it is important to keep pets leashed at all times.
According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, breeding season peaks in late February or early March.
Keep yourself and your pets safe by following these pointers:
- Never feed coyotes—it is illegal to feed coyotes in most places. Feeding endangers your family and neighbors as it lures coyotes into neighborhoods.
- Keep unattended cats and dogs indoors or in completely enclosed runs, especially at night, and do not assume that a fence will keep a coyote out of your back yard.
- Accompany your leashed pet outside. Make sure you turn on lights if it is dark to check your back yard for unexpected wildlife.
- Keep dogs on short leashes while walking outside; the Division of Wildlife recommends a leash no longer than 6 feet.
- Leave noisemakers on hand to scare away coyotes that may enter your yard, such as whistles and horns.
- Do not allow a coyote to get in between you and your pet or child—keep children close to you.
- Yell, clap hands, blow a whistle and try to make yourself look larger if you have a close encounter with a coyote.
Photo: Yathin S Krishnappa