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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Using Camera Traps to Evaluate Predator Urine Avoidance by Nuisance Wildlife at a Rural Site in Central Missouri, U.S.A.


Predator urine is sold commercially and marketed as a deterrent for nuisance wildlife. Previous studies have shown mixed support for this application. We assessed the potential application of coyote urine as a mesocarnivore deterrent at the Ozark Research Field Station in south-central Missouri. The field station is a 4-ha residential university property bordered by state conservation land and national forests. In Fall of 2019, bait stations were deployed at eight sites at the field station. A bait station consisted of one game camera and one bait pile (protein). Each bait station was deployed for 21 consecutive nights (eight sites × 21 nights = 168 trap nights). From days 7-14, coyote urine was deployed at all bait stations. Bait piles were weighed and refilled daily. Camera traps were assessed for battery charge and card storage daily. Bait removal, diversity, species composition, occurrence, activity, and abundance were compared among treatments. Raccoons were the most abundant and active species at all bait stations, and Virginia opossum was the second most abundant. Raccoon occurrence and bait removal decreased during urine treatment; however, raccoon abundance and activity did not change. Bait removal was highest during and post-urine treatment. Our study concludes that coyote urine has limited effects as a raccoon deterrent at our study site.

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