by Daniel E. Schmidt, D&DH Editor
Longtime D&DH reader Kevin Niedoba of New Jersey recently captured some interesting
photos on his trail camera that document a rare occurrence in the deer woods: Coyote
predation of a healthy whitetail in early autumn. Although coyotes are keen predators
of newborn fawns and young, old and weak deer in winter, it is rare for a coyote to
take down a healthy deer on bare ground.
However, as we have reported over the years in D&DH, coyotes are extremely cunning
predators. In fact, some researchers, including our own Research Editor John Ozoga,
believe that coyotes are way more efficient at killing deer throughout the year, especially
the Northeastern coyote, which is pictured here.
In the first image, you notice everything appears normal. In the second photo, a coyote
has taken one of the deer.
“If you look closely at the second photo, it appears the deer is still alive; the
deer’s eyes are glowing when the picture is snapped,” Kevin writes. “My camera was
set to snap every 15 minutes. In 5 plus years of using a trail camera, this is by
far the most interesting/disturbing picture taken. It would appear from the pictures,
the coyote ambushed the deer.”
And that is exactly what they did. In fact, research has shown that coyotes (and even
wolves) will quickly learn how to hunt deer in much the same way that a human hunter
would when the deer become habituated to bait stations and even food plots. In one
Michigan study, gray wolves strategically placed themselves on the outskirts of a
traditional bait station and picked off deer one by one as they entered the area on
well-worn game trails at dawn and dusk.
Many thanks to Kevin for sharing these photos and insights with us for the D&DH Rub