Coyotes prefer to make their homes in semi-open country, but it's not that uncommon to see a few in the suburbs or city.
This week, a family in Alton was startled to find a coyote in their garage at their home on Alby Street. Their 11 year old walked to the garage to feed a stray cat the family adopted, then spotted what she thought was another "big cat." Mom was right behind her and saw that "big cat" was actually a coyote.
The family called animal control and the police arrived. An officer, says the family, shot the coyote.
The Department of Natural Resources in Illinois says there is no season on coyotes and they are hunted year-round.
The issue is urban sprawl and the enticing food that can be found in residential areas. My colleague, Matt Sczesny, reported on sightings across Saint Louis County last month.
Kent Boyles, a wildlife biologist for the DNR, says coyotes typically shy away from human contact. They are just looking for a "free meal" in the form of leftovers in the trash, or pet food stored outside.
No one at the DNR could recall a case of an attack on humans in Illinois. We couldn't find any cases in Missouri either.
That doesn't mean it never happens. A 19 year old woman was killed on a hike in Canada.
The key to prevent a problem, stress biologists, is to secure trash lids and anything that may draw a coyote into your yard or porch.