I determined seasonal diet composition of gray wolves (Canis lupus) in northeastern Minnesota from 2011 to 2013. Average occurrence of prey items was identified in 1,000 scats collected in the Grand Portage Indian Reservation, Voyageurs National Park area, and the 1854 Ceded Territory (greater northeastern Minnesota). Deer (Odocoileus virginianus), moose (Alces alces), and beaver (Castor canadensis) composed the majority of wolf diet, with moose the primary prey in Grand Portage and deer the primary prey in the Ceded Territory and Voyageurs National Park. Beaver were important in spring and summer in Grand Portage and Voyageurs National Park. I performed a sensitivity analysis of expected densities of deer, moose, and beaver to calculate prey preference and determined that at most prey densities, moose were preferred and deer avoided in Grand Portage and the Ceded Territory and beaver were preferred in Voyageurs National Park. Small mammals, black bear (Ursus americanus), snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus), and canids composed a minor portion of wolf diet. Calves were important prey in spring in the Ceded Territory and fawns were important prey in spring and summer in Grand Portage and in summer in Voyageurs National Park. I estimated that wolves consumed about 30% of calves born each year in Grand Portage. I performed a sensitivity analysis to test how selecting 3, 6, 12, and 25 hairs per scat affects accuracy in determining diet composition. Prey items were occasionally missed when selecting fewer hairs, thus I recommend selecting 12 hairs per scat when using the point-frame method to determine wolf diet.
University of Minnesota M.S. thesis. August 2015. Major: Integrated Biosciences. Advisor: Ron Moen. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 86 pages.
Seasonal Diet Composition of Gray Wolves (Canis lupus) in Northeastern Minnesota Determined by Scat Analysis.
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