Year of Publication

2012

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture

Department

Forestry

First Advisor

Dr. John J. Cox

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael J. Lacki & Dr. Paul J. Kalisz

Abstract

Harvest data are typically used to evaluate mesocarnivore population dynamics in many states, including Kentucky. While relatively easy to collect, these data are subject to reporting biases, and inferences about population trends can often only be made at coarse spatial scales. Gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), bobcat (Lynx rufus), and coyote (Canis latrans) populations in Kentucky are managed primarily through harvest data used to establish future harvest quotas. Increasingly, noninvasive survey methods have been used to characterize a number of population parameters for a variety of species; however, successful use of these methods is often site-specific. We assessed the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of two noninvasive survey methods, scat detection dogs and rub-pad hair snares, for surveying mesocarnivore species at two sites in the mixed-mesophytic forest of northeastern Kentucky. We sampled 100 hair snares covering approximately 100km2 and 27 transects covering approximately 27km2 from which 7 hair samples and 261 scat samples were collected respectively. Hair snares cost $397/sample at 6.4 hours/day, while scat detection dogs cost $47/sample at 4.9 hours/day. Genetic methods were used to identify biological samples to species and individual. Our findings should prove useful to state wildlife managers in comparatively evaluating methods for future mesocarnivore monitoring.

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