Coyote Population Study

This study measured the population dynamics of coyotes in the grasslands and creosote shrublands of McKenzie Flats, Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge. The study was begun in January, 1992, and continued quarterly each year. Coyotes were sampled via scat counts along the roads of McKenzie Flats during winter, spring, summer, and fall of each year. The entire road transect was 21.5 miles in length. Scat counts over a week period (number of scats/mile/day) in each season along the roads were used to calculate the densities of coyotes (number of coyotes per square kilometer). Results from 1992 to 2002 indicated that autumn was the peak density period of the year, with generally steady declines through the year until the following autumn. Coyote populations appeared to fluctuate seasonally, but remained relatively stable at 0.27 +/- 0.03 (SE) coyotes per km2 during summer periods (this likely represents the "breeding pair" density, during which coyote pairs have set up territories and are raising young, but the pups have not as yet joined the parents in foraging activities).