Natural Resources, School of


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Published in The Prairie Naturalist 29(2): June 1997


Coyote (Canis latrans) food habits were detennined from 490 scats collected from October 1994 to October 1995 at DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge (DNWR), along the Nebraska/Iowa border. Mammals occurred most frequently, as measured by percent-of-scats (POS) , followed by vegetation, birds, and invertebrates. Mammals also constituted the largest portion of coyote diet, as determined by fresh weight correction factors. Within the mammalian category, white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) occurred most frequently and constituted the largest portion of diet by fresh weight correction factors. White-tailed deer occurrence and importance in diet peaked in June, which corresponds to the fawning period of white-tailed deer at DNWR. Mammals occurred in greater than 75 POS in all months except July and August, when mammals occurred in 38 and 30 POS, respectively. In July and August, vegetation in coyote scats, primarily mulberries (Morus spp.), was highest at 88 and 83 POS, respectively. Invertebrate occurrence peaked in May and in September. Bird occurrence peaked in December, which corresponded with the snow goose (Chen caerulescens) migration, and May, which corresponded with the nesting period for several species of ground nesting birds.