The distribution and abundance of mammalian predators are difficult to monitor because of their elusive nature. One tool used to monitor predators is strategically placed tracking stations. Precipitation often renders tracking stations unreadable by obscuring tracks and other sign. In our study we sought to evaluate the feasibility of placing covers over stations to protect tracking surfaces from precipitation. Survival of the cover structures was negatively correlated with wind speed and positively correlated with woodlands. This suggested that covers might be best used in areas with low wind speeds and/or in forests or other sites that provide shelter from wind. Covers appeared to negatively affect visitations by coyotes (Canis latrans), bobcats (Lynx rufus), and eastern cottontails (Sylvilagus floridanus), but not raccoons (Procyon lotor) or Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana). Track quality was not substantially different for covered stations during light rain or snow.
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Vol. 109 • No. 1