The Lake County Forest Preserve District has closed a popular trail for hikers with dogs after several close encounters with coyotes.
According to Allison Frederick with the Lake County Forest Preserve District, there have been several reports of aggressive behavior involving coyotes at Libertyville’s Old School Forest Preserve this month.
“The coyote would either rush [dog walkers] or follow for a long while and snarl,” Frederick said. “They do little yips and barks.”
So far, no injuries have been reported but signs stand on a section of the trail warning dog walkers about the animals.
“This may be the first, second time tops in the past few years where we’ve closed it to dog walkers,” Frederick said.
The behavior signals the animals are getting more comfortable around humans, Frederick said, adding that if a hiker with a dog is approached by a coyote they should stand their ground.
“Be loud and be big,” she said. “’Hey coyote! Get on out of here!’”
If that doesn’t work, she suggests using crushed gravel on the trail and throwing it. Another option would be finding a stick, she said.
“Don’t throw it, don’t whack it, don’t cause any fights,” she said, noting to instead use it to “shoo” the animal away.