This time of year–or any time of year, really–hunters are eager to get out in the field with their trusty rifles to do a little predator hunting.
But probably the last place hunters would look for wild game would be outside the second-oldest ballpark in America.
Chicago photographer Will Byington was snapping photos of a local band at a bar near Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, when he heard the doormen mention a pair of coyotes near the statue of Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, providing Clark and Addison streets with more excitement than the Cubs provided all year.
Check out the video from NBC Chicago.
Byington rushed outside with his camera and was able to snap a few shots of the wayward predators, which he told NBC Chicago didn’t act like they were out of place.
“The scary thing is that they didn’t seem afraid. You’d think they’d be cowering, but they didn’t seem vicious,” Byington told reporters. “Some people were laughing, and started following them, but they didn’t seem concerned. They seemed to be checking out the neighborhood and enjoying it.”
Surprising as it may be, however, coyotes aren’t actually that uncommon in Chicago. A study by Ohio State University estimated the Windy City’s coyote population to be somewhere between several hundred and a couple thousand–and they’re everywhere.
“We couldn’t find an area in Chicago where there weren’t coyotes,” said Stanley Gehrt, an assistant professor of environmental and natural resources at OSU. “They’ve learned to exploit all parts of their landscape.”
In addition, the study found that urban coyotes tend to hunt in packs, as opposed to their rural relatives. Urban coyotes also tend to live longer, the study said; while rural coyotes have about a 30-percent chance of living through another year, urban coyotes have a 60-percent chance of survival.
Check out these photos of the Cubbie coyotes, courtesy of Byington.