The winter 2014-15 field season is well underway. Along with their excellent field crew, Justin and Carolyn are trapping deer to be fitted with radio collars. I am working on setting up giving up density trays to assess predation risk in wolf-recolonized and wolf-absent areas.
In weighing foraging options, animals tradeoff food and safety. The giving up density (GUD) is the amount of food remaining in a depletable food patch after a forager has ceased harvesting the patch, with higher GUDs in risky habitat than safe habitat. In Northeast Washington, deer may be trading off foraging due to the increased risk of predation from naturally recolonization of gray wolves. I predict higher GUD in wolf-recolonized areas compared with non-wolf areas.
Sam, one of our field technicians, spotted this coyote scat on the way to setting up a bait site. We are collecting coyote scat for Carolyn’s study.
Bait piles consist loose alfalfa, apples, molasses, and salt. It’s like making a deer sundae.
Heading towards the wolf study areas.
Technicians Bryce, Claire, and Alix checking trap signals. The frequency beeps faster if the trap door is shut.
Claire and Alix resetting a trap that was falsely triggered.
Our study area.
Raising the trap door on a clover trap.
Assembling trays to measure giving up density. The giving up density (GUD) is the amount of food remaining in a depletable food patch after a forager has ceased harvesting the patch, with higher GUDs in risky habitat than safe habitat.