by Jacob Edson
An intensive study in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan titled “Role of predators, winter weather and habitat on white-tailed deer fawn survival” has revealed that for the third straight year, coyotes killed more adult deer and more fawns than wolves, bobcats or bears.
Conducted just north of the Wisconsin-Michigan border and lead by the Carnivore Ecology Laboratory at Mississippi State University, the study uses radio collars on fawns and adult deer to log their movements, choice of habitats and causes of mortality.
GPS collars are also used to track the area’s top predators, including coyotes, bobcats, bears and wolves in the study area.
For the third straight year, coyotes killed more adult deer and more fawns than wolves, bobcats or bears. Three years of records show coyotes have preyed on seven adult deer in the study, wolves on three and bear and bobcat one each. Coyotes have also killed 22 fawns. Bobcats took 12 fawns. Bears and wolves each killed four. (Researchers also documented one fawn killed by a bald eagle.)
The study isn’t complete, but the trend is increasing awareness that coyotes might be a more significant predator than any other species besides us.