U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version

January 2004


We studied the seasonal movement patterns and dispersal of coyotes (Canis latrans) in the Bear River Mountains of northern Utah and southern Idaho to determine whether coyotes in this montane region exhibit an altitudinal migration on a seasonal basis. We used 3 locational parameters to assess whether a seasonal altitudinal migration was evident, including overlap in seasonal activity areas, distance between harmonic mean centers of activity, and seasonal differences in mean elevations of locations. Winter and summer activity areas of every mature coyote overlapped, with mean distances between harmonic centers of seasonal activity of 1.5 km (range = 0.4–3.3 km). Conversely, there was no overlap between summer and winter activity areas of any subadult coyotes, with mean distances between their harmonic seasonal centers of activity of 35.8 km (range = 16.7–68.4 km). Significant changes in elevation of seasonal locations were not evident for any sex or age group. We conclude that the movement of subadult coyotes in the Bear River Range was part of typical dispersal behavior and was not motivated by seasonal change, with such wandering generally ceasing during the coyotes’ second year of age. We also conclude that adult coyotes utilized similar areas in summer as in winter, with no evidence of seasonal movements between mountain and locations at lower elevations.