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Population status and foraging ecology of Coyotes in New York State

Occurring in NY State only since the 1920s, coyotes today are likely the most widespread and abundant large predator in the region. Coyotes play a role in regulating populations of mid-sized carnivores and, in some circumstances, may influence populations of deer (Ballard et al. 2001). The importance of coyote predation for deer populations will depend fundamentally on the density of both coyotes and deer, coyote hunting behavior, and the availability of alternative prey (Gompper 2002). Each of these factors can vary greatly over space and time. Importantly, the status of coyote populations and their interactions with deer have not been studied across the heterogeneous habitats of NY State outside of the Adirondack Park. Recent studies are focusing on the role of coyotes in urban and peri-urban areas (see www.nycoyote.org). Our research focuses on the population status and ecological role of coyotes throughout the state, outside of urban areas. We take a two-pronged Coyoteapproach to address this issue with intensive study of collared coyotes in focal areas and broad-scale, low intensity sampling of coyote populations and diet statewide. This research got underway during summer 2007 with plans for completion in 2012.

Literature Cited

Ballard, W.B, Lutz, D., Keegan, T.W., Carpenter, L.H., and deVos, J.C., Jr. 2001. Deer-predator relationships: a review of recent North American studies with emphasis on mule and black-tailed deer. Wildlife Society Bulletin 29:99-115.

Gompper, M.E. 2002. The ecology of northeast coyotes: current knowledge and priorities for future research. Wildlife Conservation Society, Working Paper No. 17, Bronx, New York.

Coyote in woods
Photo Credit: Harry Minskey