Coyote Management Tip: Feed Them Fawns

Deer Fawn

This is a portion of Andrew Lewands’s story “Sounds That Satisfy,” which appeared in the December 2014 Trapper & Predator Caller issue.

By Andrew Lewand

Deer, whether mule deer or whitetails, are nearly everywhere and so are coyotes. What a perfect blend of opportunity. While coyotes have been observed taking down adult deer, the real issue is the killing of fawns. Various studies indicate that up to 35 to 80 percent of fawn deaths can be attributed to coyote predation.

Fawn distress sounds can be made easily by using mouth-blown calls or an electronic caller. When using mouth calls, Quaker Boy’s Distressed Fawn Deer call is highly recommended. This is a closed reed call that produces realistic sound and volume and is simple to use. Myriad digital deer sounds can be programmed into today’s state-of-the-art electronic calls. My FOXPRO Shockwave is loaded with five variations of fawn distress.

My favorite hunt involving the use of fawn distress took place a few seasons ago as I competed in a statewide calling contest. I had just set up for an afternoon stand when I observed several deer moving about the terrain. The deer started to run about nervously, and I wondered if a coyote had made them anxious. I selected fawn distress on my FOXPRO remote and the let the sound echo across the frozen landscape.

The sound had only played for two minutes when I noticed movement from my immediate left. A coyote was honed in on the sound of the fawn distress. The coyote was so close to me that I could stare right into its yellow eyes. The coyote noticed me and bounded off across the valley. My Randy Anderson-style bark stopped the coyote, and I dropped it at 60 yards.

Hunters can create some realistic scenarios while calling with fawn distress sounds. It would be a wise idea to obtain a 3-D fawn decoy to accomplish the task. Flambeau’s Foam Fawn and Lucky Duck’s (formerly Edge by Expedite) Fawn decoy are lightweight, durable and realistic enough to fool the keen coyote eye.

One scenario I like to present is to place the decoy right next to a barbed-wire fence. I sit along the fence, using any available brush to mask me, and pluck the fence as the fawn distress sounds emit from my remotely placed e-call. The sound of the vibrating fence will travel for hundreds of yards and gives the impression that a fawn is stuck in the barbed wire. For the coyote, this is a free meal waiting.

When no fences are present, I simply place the decoy out in the middle of a field where approaching coyotes will see it as they respond to the distress sounds. Hunters do not have to worry about the fact that a spotted fawn is present in the middle of January. Coyotes react on instinct, not higher level reasoning. A fawn that appears to be stuck in the snow is an easy meal, and that is what is important to a hungry coyote.

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Lewand’s full “Sounds That Satisfy” story appeared in the December 2014 Trapper & Predator Caller issue.

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