Aerial hunting is an effective tool for the removal of problem coyotes (Canis latrans). However, factors that predict hunt success remain largely obscure. To address this issue, we asked USDA-APHIS-Wildlife Services pilots in five western states to record meteorological data, ground conditions, and flight circumstances (e.g., purpose of flight, whether or not a ground crew was used) between December 1998 and August 1999. We obtained 426 flight records and evaluated them in relation to coyotes seen/h and coyotes killed/h of aerial hunting, with pilot as a covariate. Air temperature, resource to be protected, use of ground crew, degree of preventative control, cloud cover, snow cover, vegetative cover, wind direction, season, and lunar phase were significantly (pâ©½0.05) related to coyotes killed/h of aerial hunting. Variables that were not significantly (pâ©¾0.05) related to coyotes killed/h were wind speed, steepness of terrain, barometric pressure and shotgun cartridge type. Our findings may have practical implications for increasing the efficiency of both aerial survey and aerial hunting operations important for coyote damage management.
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