- By Matt Hayes
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Due to the relatively high levels of predator-related mortality on mule deer fawns, especially by coyotes, we wanted to look more closely into what was influencing such high predation. To do this, we began capturing and collaring coyotes in April 2017 to better understand how they use habitat during mule deer and elk parturition time periods. To date, we have 11 coyotes collared in the study area– 4 males and 7 females. Generally, the coyotes we have captured have been young (1-3 years old) with the exception of one female that was around 6 years old. We captured this female in April of 2017, and she was pregnant with 2 pups at the time. On average, these coyotes have weighed around 25 pounds, although we have captured 2 male coyotes that weighed just over 40 pounds!
What are the coyotes doing?
Although we have not conducted any formal analyses, the GPS data from coyotes thus far is interesting to look at. On average, our coyote home ranges look to be about 56 square kilometers (21 square miles), which is typically what is reported in other areas in the West. There is, however, fairly large variation in individual coyote home range sizes with the largest spanning over 279 square kilometers (100 square miles), and the smallest at 1.84 square kilometers (0.5 square miles). The reason for the disparity among all of these home ranges is unknown at this point, but is likely in part due to some coyotes being residents and others transients searching for open territories.
Stay tuned as we continue to capture coyotes and learn more about their movements!