Wichita Urban Coyote and Fox Project

The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks and Utah State University are interested in learning how red foxes and coyotes coexist with humans. We are conducting a study in Wichita, the largest city in Kansas, to learn more about urban coyotes and red fox populations. We will use GPS collars, trail cameras, and citizen science to gather our data. We ask that anyone who encounters a coyote or red fox in Wichita to please report your sighting. This will help us map how coyotes and foxes use various parts of the city.

Thank you!

About the Project

More than half of the world’s population lives in cities (defined as having more than 50,000 people), including over 70% of Americans. Urban development can fragment wildlife habitat, and humans are causing the decline of countless species. However, some wildlife can survive and even thrive in cities. Coyotes and red foxes are two such canids that are able to take advantage of the perks of the city including an abundance of food (e.g. rodents, trash, etc.) and a lack of larger predators (like wolves, mountain lions, and bears). However, we know very little about how these canids are successful at living among humans in the Great Plains. This lack of data impedes management. Knowledge of coyote and red fox movements, population demographics, feeding behavior, interactions with other species, social dynamics, and other behaviors is needed for more effective management of canids in urban areas in the region.

About the Team
The Wichita Urban Coyote and Fox Project is made possible by these people:
  • Neville Taraporevala, Master’s Student, Utah State University
  • Julie Young, PhD, Associate Professor, Utah State University
  • Jon Beckmann,  PhD, Wildlife Supervisor, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks

If you would like to get in touch with us, please email us at kansasurbancanids@gmail.com.

Get Involved
There are a number of ways to get involved!
  • Report your sighting!
  • Contact a Team member about placing a trail camera on your property!
  • Help in the field! 

If you would like to help us in the field, please email us at kansasurbancanids@gmail.com and we will see how you can help out! 

Thank you!
Learn More About Coyotes



Coyotes (Canis latrans) are not legally classified as furbearers in Kansas, but in many ways, they are monitored and managed as if they were. Coyotes are actually considered nongame, as a result of historic attitudes and the potential for conflict with the livestock industry. They are not afforded the protection of a harvest season like our furbearers, but their cunning and adaptability are legendary, and it is difficult to conceive a more resilient animal. After surviving decades of cyanide guns, strychnine-laced carcasses, widespread trapping and shooting, bounties, and the all-out ire of mankind, the coyote has responded by expanding its range eastward into parts of the United States where it had not previously existed. In recent times, coyotes have become increasingly adapted to urban life, and have been implicated for attacking pets and even people in a few states where trapping bans have outlawed the most effective harvest technique.

The coyote ranges throughout Kansas from woodlots in the east, through the grasslands of the Flinthills, to the intensively-managed agricultural landscape in the west. It is easily distinguishable from other wild members of the canid family in Kansas by its larger size (usually 25-35 pounds) and coloration. In captivity, the coyote’s lifespan is not unlike that of a domestic dog, but it rarely lives past six or eight years in the wild. Mortality is probably mainly due to hunting, trapping, and roadkill, but coyotes are also susceptible to various diseases and parasites including sarcoptic mange, canine distemper, and heartworm.

Most coyotes occupy and defend a distinct territory, often with a mate, but some are wide-ranging transients that persist on the fringe of the home ranges of more territorial coyotes. Home range sizes vary by food availability, pack size, and coyote density, but probably average 8-15 square miles in Kansas. Coyotes communicate by scent marking and various vocalizations. Their widely-recognized howl has long been a symbol of the lonesome prairie and adds greatly to the mystique that surrounds the species in Western and Southwestern folklore.

Coyotes usually mate in February or March, and pups are usually born in a den or hollow in April or May. Four to seven pups are common, but as many as 17 may be born when food is especially abundant. The coyote has a very diverse and seasonal diet. Though diet consists primarily of mice, voles, and rabbits, coyotes feed heavily on plums, sunflower seeds, pears, watermelons, and other fruits, berries, nuts, seeds, and invertebrates when they are available in the summer and fall. In the winter, carrion including livestock and deer often becomes an important dietary component. Coyotes also sometimes prey on domestic poultry and livestock in Kansas, though often they are blamed for the depredations of free-ranging domestic dogs.

Coyotes have usually ranked second or third annually in total value of pelts harvested in Kansas. In recent times, about 15,000 have been harvested each year by licensed furharvesters, with perhaps another 60,000 to 70,000 taken by hunting license holders. Even though the cunning nature of the coyote makes it one of the most difficult species to trap, foothold trapping is usually the most effective harvest technique. Coyotes are also the most common quarry of predator callers.

Season Information
Current Seasons
Coyote - Statewide

Dates: 01/01/2024 - 01/01/2025

Season Dates (statewide): All year
Season Limit: No limit

There is no closed season for trapping or hunting coyotes. Motor vehicles and radios in vehicles may be used to hunt coyotes only. Furharvester license is required to trap and sell; hunting license is required to hunt and sell.

Learn More About Red Foxes

Red Fox

Red Fox

The red fox ( Vulpes vulpes) is the most widely distributed carnivore in the world. Although native red foxes existed in the boreal regions of northern North America at the time of European settlement, the red foxes in the United States today are probably descendants of European foxes released along the U.S. Coasts for sport hunting in the 1700s and 1800s. Woodlots interspersed with cropland are typically thought of as prime red fox habitat, but the majority of red foxes in Kansas inhabit the suburban fringes of towns and cities, which offer refuge from coyotes. Red foxes occur statewide, but are most common in eastern Kansas, where urban areas and woodlots are most abundant.

The red fox is identified by its long, bushy tail and characteristic color - orange to red upper parts, black ears and legs, and white underparts and tip of tail. Weighing 10-15 pounds, red foxes are seldom twice the size of a house cat, but their long fur makes them appear larger.

Red fox reproductive rates are highly variable, increasing with the level of exploitation or mortality of the population. In Kansas, the vixen, or female fox, gives birth to an average of five pups usually in April. The male initially provides food for the vixen and the pups, and the family group stays together until the pups disperse in the fall. There is typically little overlap between the home ranges of these family units, but one male will sometimes tend to several females.

The diverse diet of the red fox is similar to that of the coyote, consisting primarily of mice, voles, and cottontail rabbits. Red foxes will also prey on other small to medium sized mammals and ground- nesting birds, or scavenge deer and livestock. Seasonal food items primarily include fruits, vegetables, insects, and eggs. Most notorious for their depredations of domestic poultry, non-native red foxes, also pose a significant threat to native wildlife populations, which evolved without the presence of a similar predator. Red fox depredations have also been implicated for significantly reducing waterfowl survival and nesting success in the prairie pothole region of the Dakotas.

Given the red fox's dietary overlap with larger coyotes, it is no surprise that coyotes may competitively displace or even kill their smaller cousins. Roadkill may also be an important mortality factor for red foxes prevalent in urban areas, as is disease. Sarcoptic mange probably has the most significant impact on Kansas populations, but it is the red fox's susceptibility to the furious form of rabies that has led to their status as a pest in many parts of the world. However, red foxes have not been an important rabies vector in Kansas.

Because of the red fox's limited abundance in Kansas compared to other furbearers, foxes have little importance to our fur trade. About 500 red foxes have been harvested annually over the past few seasons, though double this were harvested several years in the mid-1990s. Like coyotes, red foxes are too wary to enter cage traps, and are most often captured in foothold traps - though they are considered one of the more difficult species to trap. Hunters account for less than one-third of the annual harvest.

Season Information
Current Seasons
Running - Statewide

Dates: 03/01/2024 - 11/08/2024

Species: bobcat, red fox, and gray fox.

Legal hours for running furbearers is 24 hours daily. Furbearers cannot be killed or taken during the running season. A furharvester license is required to run furbearers. It is illegal to possess any firearm or other hunting or trapping equipment while pursuing these animals during the running season.

Upcoming Seasons
Furbearer Hunting & Trapping - Statewide

Dates: 11/13/2024 - 02/28/2025

NOTE: All furbearer hunting, trapping, and running seasons begin at 12:00 a.m. on opening day and close at midnight of closing day.

Species: badger, bobcat, mink, muskrat, raccoon, opossum, swift fox, red fox, gray fox, striped skunk, weasel.


To contact the Wichita Urban Coyote and Fox Project team, please fill out the following form.