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Monday, January 29 • 1:40pm - 2:00pm
CARNIVORES: Do Wolves Ambush Beavers from Downwind Hunting Beds?

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AUTHORS. Thomas Gable, University of Minnesota; Steve K. Windels, Voyageurs National Park; Austin T. Homkes, Northern Michigan University; Joseph K. Bump, University of Minnesota

ABSTRACT. Beavers can be important prey for wolves in boreal ecosystems but little is known about wolf-beaver interactions. Wolves actively hunt beavers by bedding down and waiting near beaver habitat features (e.g., feeding trails, dams), however, there is almost no information on how wolves choose where to wait for beavers. Because beavers rely predominantly on olfaction to detect predators, we hypothesized that an effective strategy for a wolf to hunt beavers is to wait in areas where beavers cannot detect wolf scent. From 2015 to 2017 in Voyageurs National Park, we searched clusters of locations from wolves fitted with Global Positioning Systems collars to identify likely hunting attempts of beavers. We determined whether beavers could have detected wolves during hunting attempts based on the wind direction and speed during a hunting attempt, and the direction of the wolf relative to beaver habitat features and water. We identified 137 hunting attempts from 11 wolves. During these attempts, wolves bedded down 2.7 ± 2.6 m (SD) from beaver habitat features and 3.9 ± 4.1 m from water. We estimated wolves were undetected by beavers at more hunting attempts than they were detected at (110 attempts undetected vs. 8 detected; ?2=88.17; p

Monday January 29, 2018 1:40pm - 2:00pm CST