Factors Affecting the Elicitation of Vocal Responses From Coyotes Canis Latrans
June 15, 2019
Long-distance vocalizations by canids play an important role in communication among individuals, and researchers have elicited these vocalizations to estimate canid occurrence and relative abundance. We evaluated the efficacy of broadcasted coyote Canis latrans group-yip calls and gray wolf C. lupus lone howls to elicit vocal responses from 18 GPS-collared coyotes on 144 occasions in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula during August-September 2009 and June-September 2010-2011. We evaluated coyote responses to each call type using mixed-effects logistic regression models with time (month), residency status (resident or transient), presence in wolf territory, sex, distance, movement and call type as fixed effects hypothesized to influence coyote vocal response rates. The individual coyote and year were included as random effects. Overall, call type, sex and presence of wolf territory did not affect coyote response rates; however, coyotes did not respond to wolf calls broadcasted at distances of . 2.0 km. Resident coyotes were three times more likely to respond than transients and the greatest overall response rates occurred in August. We conclude that eliciting coyote vocalizations where wolves are present will not bias responses, and we recommend eliciting coyote vocalizations using recorded coyote group-yip howls during July-September to estimate the species’ presence or density.
Author(s): Tyler R. Petroelje, Jerrold L. Belant & Dean E. Beyer, Jr.