Analysis of coyote predation on deer and elk during winter in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Gese, E.M.

The American Midland Naturalist, Vol. 133 Issue 1 pp. 36-43


Direct observations of coyote (Canis latrans) predation on large wild prey are rare. We observed nine predation attempts by coyotes on deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and elk (Cervus elaphus) during winter in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Coyotes were successful in five attempts. The alpha male coyote led the attack in eight of nine observations. Snow depth was significantly deeper during successful kills compared to unsuccessful attempts. Two adult coyotes could successfully kill calf and adult elk when there was deep snowcover and the prey was in poor nutritional condition.

Patrick Cross1995