Space use and resource selection by coyotes in the Southeastern United States
Ward, Jennifer Nicole
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Coyotes (Canis latrans) are now widespread across North America. In the southeastern United States, managers of game and non-game species have expressed concern over coyote impacts. During 2015–2017, I monitored 147 coyotes with GPS transmitters in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina to document space use and habitat selection. I collected scat (n=1100) from 25 resident coyote territories to assess prey use. Transient coyotes exhibited broader space use than residents, as transient ranges averaged 132.7 ± 105.2 km^2, whereas resident home ranges averaged 17.6 ± 14.7 km^2. Residents and transients maintained ranges with similar habitat composition, but used habitats differently. Residents selected agriculture and forests, but avoided urban and roads. Transients selected agriculture, urban, and roads, but avoided shrub. White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) was the most important food source for residents. Differential use of prey by residents was influenced by habitat heterogeneity within home ranges. Landowners interested in managing coyotes should also consider that 80% of transients traversed ≤ 200 km^2.