More than 50 fawns have been outfitted with radio collars and tracked for the last four years to help determine predation problems on Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia.
Tracking surveys for predation and fawn recruitment have increased in many states in the last few years, especially in the Southeast. Coyote populations have surged and, some biologists fear, with the liberal doe regulations the whitetail populations may be impacted.
Tim Stamps, head of Fish, Wildlife and Agronomy at Quantico, took along a reporter for a survey route for this story at InsideNova.com.
While coyotes often are blamed as the primary predatory culprit, Quantico and other areas in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast also have bobcats, black bears and, in North Carolina, a small population of red wolves.
According to the InsideNova.com report, more than 1,200 deer were killed on Quantico during the 2003 hunting season. That was a record, with most annual numbers hitting about 1,000. But by 2005 it had dropped to between 600-650 and has remained at that level since.
John Rohm, a wildlife biologist with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, said coyote predation may be more of a hunter perception than reality.
In the case of Quantico, Rohm told InsideNova.com, “I would think if it was such a problem, with the sampling they’ve done over there, they would find more of an impact.”