Coyotes dominated the conversation at a public meeting Tuesday in Rockford. Officials from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources discussed why coyotes are attracted to urban areas, and how to avoid attacks. Many residents expressed concern about the canines, but Conservation Policeman Nathan Murry said education is an important first step.
“There’s a lot of communities that don’t do this. So, this is showing the City of Rockford is like, 'Hey we know there’s a problem, let’s work together to get it done.' It’s a good thing and I wish it would happen with more communities,” he said.
The chief presenter was Stanley McTaggart, Wildlife Diversity Program Manager for the State’s Department of Natural Resources. He said outright culling of coyotes is ineffective. Instead, problem animals should be dealt with, and by, professionals. These are known as nuisance wildlife control operators.
“It takes up a lot of my time to work with the licensing," he said. "All these folks have passed a test that’s issued by DNR and they provide a service to their communities. You can see we had almost 100,000 animals removed by nuisance wildlife control operators in 2018.”
The rest of McTaggart’s presentation focused on how coyotes behave and ways to avoid attracting coyotes to urban areas. This didn’t completely address everyone’s concerns, but multiple residents thanked him and other DNR staff for providing more information.