Bobcat scat were collected from roads during 1992-1997; whereas coyote scat were collected from 1991-1997. Scat were identified based on odor, shape, and tracks if present. Only fresh (<1 week old) identifiable scat were collected. Scats were placed in paper bags and individually labeled with date, species, and location collected. Scats were air-dried, frozen, then thawed and oven-dried at 60-80 C for 48 hours to kill eggs of Echinococcus spp..
Material not considered part of each scat, primarily rocks and sand, was removed. Dried scats were placed in hand-sewn rip-stop nylon bags and soaked for 48 hours. Following soaking, bags were kneaded to facilitate breakdown of the fecal matrix and washed in a washing machine until rinse water was clear. Scats were again dried at 60-80 C for 48 hours. Contents of each bag were emptied into a metal pan and remains identified to species, if possible, using a reference collection at Mississippi State University. Keys to mammalian hair and skulls were used when necessary.
We used percentage of scat and frequency of occurrence information between seasons and species to examine differences in diets between bobcats and coyotes. Percentage of scat was defined as the percentage of a sample of scats in which a prey species occurred. We defined frequency of occurrence as the number of times a prey species occurred as a percentage of total number of occurrences for all prey species. Seasons for dietary analyses were defined as breeding/young-rearing (15 January - 15 August) and fall/winter (16 August - 14 January).