The Cook County, Illinois, Coyote Project



  Results of the Study  





Major Implications of the Study: What We Learned

Coyotes are common throughout most of the Chicago region, and our radio-tracking data demonstrate that people and coyotes coexist on a daily basis, with people usually unaware of interactions.



 A synthesis of our results from the Chicago metropolitan area produces a portrait of a coyote that appears to benefit from the urban landscape through enhanced survival and possibly elevated population densities, while also exhibiting strong spatial and temporal avoidance of humans by consistently avoiding developed portions of the landscape and shifting activity patterns to nighttime hours.


Specifically, we have found that:

  • As a top predator, coyotes are performing an important role in the Chicago region. Increasing evidence indicates that coyotes assist with controlling deer and Canada goose populations.

  • Most coyotes are feeding on typical prey items, such as rodents and rabbits, and generally avoid trash. However, wildlife feeding will eventually habituate some coyotes, leading to conflicts.

  • Coyotes are exposed to a wide range of diseases; however, to date none of them pose a serious human health risk. In general, the coyote population appears to be relatively healthy.

  • Despite the importance of natural habitat for coyotes, some individuals are capable of maintaining territories in portions of the landscape with minimal or no natural areas and elevated human activity.  However, coyotes consistently avoid areas associated with humans, regardless of their sex, social status (i.e. resident or transient), activity period (i.e. daytime or nighttime), or the amount of urban development within their home ranges. 

  • Effective control programs target nuisance coyotes, rather than targeting the general coyote population. Coyotes removed through control efforts or other causes are quickly replaced. Successful management programs also include public education and outside consulting.

  • Some types of repellents, such as electronic devices employing lights and sound, may be useful for preventive control of coyotes, but more work is needed to evaluate their effectiveness.




The Cook County, Illinois, Coyote Project

The Ohio State University