Goff, Gary R. Analysis and evaluation of three indices of eastern coyote abundance. M.S. Thesis, State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, 101 pp.

Abstract: The use of vocalization, scent station, and winter track count indices as measures of relative eastern coyote (Canis latrans var.) abundance were investigated. the vocalization index was based on howling response rates to electronic police siren wails or taped wolf howls. The scent station index was based on the visitation rate of coyotes to stations of sifted soil which used a scent lure as an attractant. The winter track count index was based on coyote crossings along truck trails.

The following environmental variables were analyzed for their effect upon index values: (1) barometric pressure and trends, (2) temperature trend, (3) relative humidity, (4) lunar phase and trend, (5) photo period, (6) snow condition, and (7) habitat.

Taped wolf howls elicited a higher response rate (25.6%) than the electronic siren (5.7%) over the same time span. Late summer surveys received the highest response rates. Howling response rates were positively correlated with barometric pressure, temperature, relative humidity and length of photo period. Scent station visitation rates were not significantly correlated with any of the environmental variables. Track count index values were positively correlated with lunar cycle, negatively correlated with depth of snow, and were influenced by quarterly lunar phase. No significant relationship was found, for any of the three indices, between values obtained within prime white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) habitat and values obtained outside such habitat. More intensive study is advised before final assessment of the effects of environmental variables on these indices.

Daily survey values for each of the three indices varied considerably due to an apparent sparse and highly mobile population. the coyotes' use of roadways as travel lanes strongly biased scent station and track count indices. Further refinement based on social and behavioral characteristics of the eastern coyote is needed before the indices can be used in an efficient manner.