Coyote Predation on Fawns Gaining Attention

Georgia hunters and biologists are taking a harder look at the possible impacts of coyote predation on fawns, joining other states in the Southeast addressing the issue.

According to The Augusta Chronicle, researchers are seeing more evidence of fawns being targeted and consumed by an increasing number of coyotes.

U.S. Forest Service research biologist John Kilgo has been studying coyote-fawn predation at Savannah River Site since 2006, with sobering conclusions.

Using radio collars, DNA and other modern tools, his team concluded – in studies from 2006 to 2009 – that coyotes are killing at least 37 percent of newborn fawns, and most likely as many as 80 percent, based on the ones studied at SRS.

In a peer-reviewed article scheduled for publication in August in the Journal of Wildlife Management, Kilgo and co-authors including S.C. Department of Natural Resources deer and turkey project leader Charles Ruth share the latest observations about the coyote’s future impact on whitetails in the Southeast.

The bottom line, they say, is that if coyote predation on fawns is as high as studies say it is, the current hunter harvest levels appear unsustainable. Thus, wildlife agencies might have to amend seasons or bag limits to compensate for the number of deer killed as fawns.

Read the full Chronicle report here.