Coyotes search for food is bringing them closer to residential areas -- and humans--than ever before.
The four-legged wild canines are also blamed for attacking many small pets.
Dina Roberts lost her 13-month old Schitzu mix Cooper last year, after letting him out in the backyard of her Schaumburg home.
"Not two minutes went by and our neighbor Dave knocked on the door, and said Cooper had been attacked by a coyote."
Roberts knew there were coyotes in her area but just never imagned they would jump a fence and end up in her yard. Roberts took Cooper to two animal hospitals, but it was too late.
"We got a call about 4:30 in the morning that he wasn't okay...they couldn't save him with all the money in the world."
Coyotes prefer to hunt alone and in wooded areas away from humans.
But food is limited in those areas and coyotes end up wandering near residential areas, where many people intentionally and accidentally feed them. Coyotes often times feast on pet food or garbage left outdoors.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources estimates there are 30-thousand coyotes in Illinois. The number of coyotes caught in the metro area has jumped from about 20 a year in the 1990's to more than 300 a year.
In 2010 Grundy County became the only county in Illinois to offer a $15 dollar bounty for coyotes. Grundy County Board Chariman Ron Severson spearheaded the effort. Hunters bring in the coyote's ears to claim their cash, so far 54 pairs of ears have been brought in.
Severson got the idea after one of his cows was killed by coyotes.
"When we found her, coyotes basically ripped her to pieces. It's not like we are trying to get rid of them, it's just that we need to get the population down."
Most coyotes are afraid of humans, a firm yell will usually send them running away.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says there a few things you can do to avoid attracting coyotes.
- Never leave pet food outdoors
- Secure your garbage
- Never leave small pets alone if you suspect coyotes
In some counties you can get a license to hunt coyotes, but in Chicago and other metro areas you should call Animal Control if a coyote becomes a pest.