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Grand Teton National Park Report

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A study of coyote (Canis latrans) habitat use and mortality in Grand Teton National Park and the suburban-agricultural land surrounding Jackson, WY was conducted between September 1999 and August 2000. This research focused on the influence of human development, habitat type, topography, and simulated wolf presence on coyote habitat use and on coyote mortality patterns in undeveloped and suburban-agricultural land. The overall goal of this project was to provide baseline information on the coyote population in Jackson Hole that can be used in the future to determine what, if any, impact wolves and human developments may have on coyotes. There were a total of fifteen radio-collared coyotes in the suburban-agricultural area and fourteen radio collared coyotes in Grand Teton National Park and adjacent areas in the National Elk Refuge and Bridger-Teton National Forest. Marked coyotes were tracked weekly using short interval telemetry relocations and triangulation to determine habitat use patterns. During the winter, track transects were skied weekly and coyote trails were backtracked and mapped using hand held GPS units to determine fine scale habitat use patterns. Coyote mortality was determined via telemetry and direct observation. Preliminary data analyses suggest that coyotes use mainly sagebrush-grasslands or forest-shrub-grass edge areas and avoid forest interior areas. Coyotes frequently use trails and roads in the undeveloped area when moving long distances. Preliminary analysis also indicates that roads and trails are used in a greater proportion than their abundance on the landscape. Coyotes were frequently observed using riparian corridors to move between open meadows in the suburban-agricultural area. There is some evidence that suggests coyotes selectively travel fences and irrigation ditches for long distances in agricultural areas. The movement data also suggests that coyotes avoid developed areas during the day and travel in these developed areas at night. The data on coyote locations suggests some avoidance of wolf urine scent grids in the undeveloped area, but not in the developed area. Coyote mortality was primarily human caused, and coyotes that were male, transient, and lived in the suburban-agricultural area were the most commonly killed animals.