Coyotes Changing Deer Dynamics, Getting More Scrutiny

It’s no secret that coyotes love to eat deer, whether it’s fawns they find or older deer brought down by two or more songdogs working as a team.

A scene some believe is too prevalent in the Southeast and elsewhere.

A scene some believe is too prevalent in the Southeast and elsewhere.

Researchers in Pennsylvania have been studying the expansion and impacts of the Eastern Coyote on deer populations. They looked at information from Canada to the Southeast and took into account all kinds of data including weather for their study.

“The concern is that coyotes may be changing the established population dynamics of white-tailed deer herds through increased predation on fawns,” Duane Diefenbach, adjunct professor of wildlife ecology and leader of the Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit based at Penn State, said in this report.

“If that’s true, then deer managers need to adjust how they make harvest-management decisions, because manipulating doe harvests is typically how wildlife agencies maintain, increase or decrease deer populations.”

They concluded that coyote predation isn’t widespread enough to cause deer populations to decline, other than possibly in the Southeast. And even there it wasn’t a certainty.

“However, we couldn’t find any published research on adult-doe-survival rates in the Southeast, so it is possible that if doe hunting were stopped, deer populations would stabilize despite the heavy predation,” Diefenbach said.

Check out the full report here.

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