The Life of the Coyote

By Peggy Doty
University of Illinois Extension

Coyotes stir many emotions in the human population including fear, anger, and for many they represent the wild beauty of animal songs and prairies. Canis latrans is the scientific name for the coyote and it simply means ‘barking dog’ which is perfect considering the serenade they deliver on any given evening. The chatter of the coyote family can bring an awareness of the wild around us even in a subdivision. It startles many people who assume streets with curbs and sidewalks mean a complete lack of wildness.

On the contrary, coyotes live amongst us all the time but are so wary and able to stay inconspicuous we rarely see them. More often the coyotes are but a melancholy song in the night. The majority of those who witness the elusive coyote are hunters and farmers who catch sight of them most often due to their time connected to the land. Others who see coyotes may not realize they were simply allowed to notice them.

Peggy Doty, University of Illinois Extension Educator, said, “Coyotes are our best defense against the multiple rodent species that occur in high numbers. They are intensely focused on their family and really want nothing to do with us.” Doty continued, “Coyotes are considered a fur bearer and can be harvested as such, however if your coyotes are not doing anything disruptive on your property it would be wise to let them be so you don’t eliminate one who is copasetic with humans only to have the gap filled by a coyote who has learned a behavior that would conflict with your human wildlife values.”

Coyotes have lived around us for a very long time. Join Peggy Doty for her program, The Life of the Coyote, Wednesday, November 11 from 6-7 p.m. at the Ogle County Extension office, 421 W. Pines Rd. in Oregon. Peggy will share her interest as well as information from the longest on going coyote research project. Love them or hate them, this is sure to be informative and interesting to all those who think they know coyotes.

For more information or to register for this program, visit or call the Ogle County Extension office at 815-732-2191. The cost for this program is $5 per person. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, call the Extension office at 815-732-2191.

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