Illinois Homeowners and Wildlife Report

Craig A. Miller, Molly R. Spacapan, Erin E. Harper, Meghan E. McCleary, Linda K. Campbell

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingTechnical report


We conducted a mail survey designed to replicate the 2000 study “Attitudes of Homeowners in the Greater Chicago Metropolitan Region (GCMR) Toward Nuisance Wildlife.” The purpose of this study was to determine homeowners’ attitudes toward wildlife around their home, extent and types of wildlife damages experienced,and interactions with and preferences for management actions related to coyotes. A stratified random sample of 5,000 homeowners in the Greater Chicago Metropolitan Region was selected for this study. A total of 1,624 questionnaires (34%) were received. Forty percent of residents responded they fed wildlife on their property during the 12 months prior to the study, and 71% of those respondents were actively feeding wildlife at the time of the survey. Most wildlife feeding was done all year (56%), whereas fewer respondents fed wildlife during winter (22%), spring,summer,and fall (16% for each, respectively) only. Respondents (45%) were not sure if their neighbors were feeding wildlife. Approximately one-third(35%) of homeowners planted flowers, shrubs,provided water or nest boxes on property to specifically benefit wildlife.About 80% of homeowners enjoyed most or all wildlife species around their home, and the same proportion felt wildlife was not a threat or was only as light threat to their home or property. Seeing wildlife on a daily basis was important for 80% of respondents. Problems with wildlife were experienced by 54% of survey respondents, with digging or burrowing being the most frequent problem reported (52%), and45%of respondents had damage to shrubs, yard, or landscaping. Raccoons, skunk, and squirrels were the wildlife species identified to cause the greatest problems to residents.Half (50%) of respondents took action themselves to correct the problem, and a majority (51%) spent less than $50 on the problem during the 12 months prior to this study. Of the residents who hired private professional services (14%), most (65%) rated the services provided as “Good” or “Excellent.” A minority of residents (9%) received information about preventing wildlife damage, or requested information(5%) about wildlife from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Of those who did request information from the IDNR, a majority (72%) rated the information provided as “Good” or “Excellent.” Most (69%) survey respondents had not visited the University of Illinois Extension website “Living with Wildlife in Illinois.”A majority(68%)of survey respondents were aware of coyotes in their current community;62% of respondents or their family members observed a coyote in their current community and 55% saw one in a forest preserve. There was no or slight concern for homeowners ’perceived risks of coyotes in their community. When given the options to let the coyote live or to“trap and destroy,” most survey respondents preferred to let coyotes live regardless of frequency or location of coyote situation. Only when a coyote made a den on one’s property did 49% of respondents favor the “trap and destroy” option.
Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherIllinois Natural History Survey
StatePublished - Mar 21 2013

Publication series

NameINHS Technical Report 2013 (45)


  • INHS


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