Chicago Sun-Times
Stray Casts will intelligently report and observe, hopefully with a touch of wit, on daily occurrences, reports and releases related to Chicago-area outdoors from bucks to bass to birds to bugs

Wild Sunday: IDing canids

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With the probable wolf stories floating around Illinois for the past month, I have received a good many photos and stories.


Three of them made me look closely, including this one roaming a neighborhood in Oak Forest sent by Michael Wyatt.

However, all three (different animals) appear to be coyotes or hybrids.

First I checked the site (click here) recommended by Wisconsin wolf specialist Adrian Wydeven to help differentiate wolves, dogs, coyotes and wolf-dog hybrids.

Then I checked all three with a naturalist.


This is the one that really made me look. It came from David Ernstmeyer in Beach Park.

For that matter so did this one in Plainfiled, sent by Dennis who said his father took the photos last winter.


That he held the photos for more than a year is a good example of people being afraid to cry wolf. I think that is changing.

At least for me, there's been a big shift in Chicago outdoors. I stopped thinking every wolf or cougar report I received came from either a crackpot or an urban person with no concept of wildlife.

In fact, i can just about name the date that my attitude to those reports changed.

On Feb. 17, 2005, a wolf was hit by a vehicle outside of Chain O'Lakes State Park--the first confirmed report in modern times around Chicago outdoors of a wolf--and a fisherman contacted me almost immediately about it.

I should have immediately followed up on the story, but blew it off as a huge coyote.

Our wild world is changing. Many things seem possible.

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Dale, I just ran across the story this morning, I cannot for the life of me figure out how to email this so I could pass along to Aunt and Uncle in Minnesota, would you email this article to me so I can pass along, thanks Dave

E-mail me at, exactly what you're looking for.

The story about the wolves in Illinois, I sent the picture of the wolf in my yard in Beach Park, Illinois

wow,wolves in illinois? this is amazing. I was looking up animals that lived there becuase I'm going there this summer to visit my grandparents,I thought we'd see a coyote or two but this is awesome ^_^

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on March 28, 2010 6:54 AM.

Lake Erie: Solid fishing prospects was the previous entry in this blog.

MWC: Illinois River prime is the next entry in this blog.

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