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Grand Teton National Park Report

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A comparative study of coyote (Canis latrans) home range, activity, habitat use, and diet in Grand Teton National Park (GTNP) and residential/agricultural areas surrounding Jackson, Wyoming was begun in May 1998 and will continue until August 1999. Twenty-seven coyotes were captured and fitted with radio collars equipped with activity and mortality sensors. Eleven of the coyotes reside in and around the residential/agricultural areas while 15 of the coyotes range from Moran Junction south to the National Elk Refuge. One coyote has remained in Bridger-Teton National Forest near Upper Slide Lake. Marked coyotes were monitored three times a week in the summer and two times a week during the winter via radio telemetry. Preliminary data suggests that the home range size of coyotes in GTNP is larger than that of coyotes in developed areas. Activity levels appear to be lower in residential/agricultural areas during daylight hours. Coyote diet is currently being assessed via scat dissection, and prey availability was determined using Sherman live traps during the summer and early fall. Habitat use will be determined by overlaying coyote home ranges onto habitat maps. Vegetation plots were conducted in five habitat types (aspen, conifer, grass, riparian, sage) to determine vegetation structure. All of the above methods will be repeated in summer 1999. During winter 1999, telemetry surveys and scat collection will continue. Additionally, snow tracking surveys and coyote observations will be conducted to determine coyote group size and behavior. If time allows, relative density estimates and social organization will be determined. The intention of this study is also to collect baseline data on coyotes before and during wolf (Canis lupus) recolonization of Jackson Hole.