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Old 12-15-2010, 07:53 PM   #1
EagleCrag
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Unhappy Coyote Predation on Deer

I don't know how many folks here are NRA members, but in the December 2010 issue of the American Hunter, there is an article entitled, "How Coyotes Affect Deer Herds." Here is an excerpt from the article:
"When they started the study five years ago, they seldom lost a fawn to predation. But in 2008 they lost 17 of 50 fawns (34 percent) they collared, and in 2009 they lost more than half. They attribute most of the losses to coyotes; also, an Auburn study on fawn survival at a South Carolina military base found that coyotes killed eight out of nine fawns."

Here is a link to the article if you wish to read more:

http://www.americanhunter.org/articl...ct-deer-herds/

Finally, studies are starting to show what I believe are much more realistic figures regarding coyote predation on deer. Another tidbit that I learned from the article is that the coyote is not indigenous to the Eastern US and only moved east after all the wolves were killed.
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:02 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by EagleCrag View Post
I don't know how many folks here are NRA members, but in the December 2010 issue of the American Hunter, there is an article entitled, "How Coyotes Affect Deer Herds." Here is an excerpt from the article:
"When they started the study five years ago, they seldom lost a fawn to predation. But in 2008 they lost 17 of 50 fawns (34 percent) they collared, and in 2009 they lost more than half. They attribute most of the losses to coyotes; also, an Auburn study on fawn survival at a South Carolina military base found that coyotes killed eight out of nine fawns."

Here is a link to the article if you wish to read more:

http://www.americanhunter.org/articl...ct-deer-herds/

Finally, studies are starting to show what I believe are much more realistic figures regarding coyote predation on deer. Another tidbit that I learned from the article is that the coyote is not indigenous to the Eastern US and only moved east after all the wolves were killed.
The wolf is the coyotes natural predator. With the natural predator gone, the coyote proliferates and kills more deer.

Ironic since many hunters oppose the reintroduction of wolves because they are afriad the wolves will cut down the deer herds. Actually the absence of the wolf is causing the decline.

Hawk
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:43 PM   #3
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Hawk: I was aware that wolves will kill any coyotes they come across, but I didn't realize that they would completely eradicate them. It was a surprise to me that coyotes were not native east of the Mississippi. There were wolves in the west as well, yet both species were present. I wonder if the wolf were reintroduced today, if they would eradicate the coyote or just cut down on its numbers. Its my guess that wolves would not establish territory as close to urban areas as coyotes do and suspect that both species would survive, perhaps in different habitat.
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:51 PM   #4
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Seems like a good thing to me, we screw up the natural predator/prey order too much. I'd imagine that if it ever was a problem they'd open a season on coyotes.

Out west you have coyotes, cougars, and wolves and it hasn't cut into the availability of game animals to hunt.


Miller, Ditchkoff and other researchers, however, say they need more research. “We have to assess if and where we have coyote problems, and what’s the best way to address them,” Miller said. “But are coyotes going to affect the future of deer hunting? I don’t think so. Texas has had coyotes a long time, and so have parts of the Midwest, Louisiana and Mississippi, and they still have plenty of deer. That being said, I suspect coyote densities are even higher in parts of the Southeast. We need more research so we can offer specific, well-informed management decisions.”

Ditchkoff thinks coyotes have reached saturation levels in many parts of the Southeast, but that doesn’t mean deer hunting is imperiled. “I think this will eventually level off and stabilize,” he said. “Hunting will be part of the mix, but we have to figure out what the new model will be for deer management.”
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:16 PM   #5
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There is a season for coyotes. People here just don't have the interest in hunting them that there is out west. I for one, do plan on taking up that pastime in the near future. I personally wouldn't mind seeing a bounty on coyotes and a reintroduction of wolves. The wolf population could then be regulated by hunting as guided by wildlife professionals.

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Old 12-15-2010, 10:32 PM   #6
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The area I hunt (vicinity of Tupper Lake) has a greatly diminished herd. One can argue that it is due to a variety of reasons, but the downslide coincided with the advent of the coyote in the area. I recall one hunting season when there was snow on the ground that you could not find a deer track that did not have a coyote track following it. I do note that I see a much higher proportion of bucks now though. I believe the buck to doe ratio in the area I hunt used to be pretty unbalanced, but no longer. Its also possible that it is due to a change in hunting tactics on my part too--I spend much more time sitting now than in my younger days. On thing the southern states do not have to cope with that the deer in our area do, is the winters. After a bad winter kill, it takes the herd much longer to recover due to coyote predation.

backwoodsman: If you have lots of coyotes in your area, pay attention next spring and summer and see how many adult does have fawns with them. Its my guess that you will see far fewer than you used to. Years ago nearly every doe had a fawn or two with them and now it is actually unusual to see one with fawns and the ones that do are in near the camps where the coyotes are more reluctant to go during the summer months when the campers are present. In our area I would guess that perhaps only one in 4 does will have fawns with them. It used to be nearly 90% with fawns.
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:04 AM   #7
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I have no scientific evidince just my opinion. I think more fawns are killed in the street than by coyotes. Obviously the location plays a part as in the more secluded areas the yotes probably get more.

Fields support much more deer than a forest would so round and round we go.

The problem with introducing a wolf pack or several into the park is that there are a lot of people who use the woods and we all know what happens when the media gets hold of a sensational incident. Not to mention folks are scared of wolves (and mountain lions) and people have homes all over the park.

We need an apex predator that consumes beer cans and plastic.
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:26 AM   #8
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Coyote predation on deer varies from area to area, based on available food sources, deer/small game populations, and snow depth. In farm country and suburban areas with high deer populations predation is lower. This is due to lot's of available food for the coyotes ie. corn, rabbits and other small game, and generally lower snow depths than much of the ADK's.

I don't know about other areas but coyote predation in the Southwestern ADK's has been very heavy the last few years. The coyote population has steadily grown to the point where they are regularly seen in town. At the same time the deer population has declined severely.

There is no other explanation for the lack of deer other than coyote predation. Nothing has changed in the ecosystem other than the explosion of the coyote population in the last 10-20 years. Many of the areas I hunt have been recently logged, creating excellent deer habitat with plenty of browse. Hunting pressure is minimal and success rates are very low. We've had a few mild winters in a row with no extended periods of deep snow. All of these factors should lead to a healthy deer herd, but they are not there.

A trapper in Old Forge trapped 30 coyotes this fall within 5 miles of town and that hasn't even dented the population.
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:39 AM   #9
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There's no need for wolves in the ADK's because the coyotes already occupy that niche. Over time the wolves would kill every coyote the the ADK's and when they ate all the deer, grouse, rabbits, and turkeys they would move down to farm country and start poaching sheep, cows etc... Just like what is going on in parts of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana right now.

Our coyotes are not like the little suburban farm country animals you see crossing a field. These are big aggressive animals with wolf DNA.
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:46 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by EagleCrag View Post
"When they started the study five years ago, they seldom lost a fawn to predation. But in 2008 they lost 17 of 50 fawns (34 percent) they collared, and in 2009 they lost more than half."
Sounds like the coyotes learned to look for collars; probably easier to spot than fawns.
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:56 AM   #11
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The coyote's major prey is snowshoe hare. They have pretty much disappeared from the Adirondacks as a result of predation. As the smaller game disappears, the coyotes move to different prey.

Now it's whitetail. If and when the day comes that the whitetail numbers get low and the coyote numbers continue to grow, then the coyotes will become more of a danger to humans and their domesticated pets. Don't know what the time frame is, but unless something changes the cycle, it's inevitable.

Problem is that with more and more land being developed ( less in the Adirondacks then other places) and being posted (In the Adirondacks) In the last few years I have seen more and more Posted signs on property that is being bought by non natives who don't want anyone on THEIR property, for any reason, especially hunting, the coyote growth remains unchecked. Without a natural predator the relationship of predator- prey is out of balance.

In my opinion one thing that is needed is honest, fact driven, non emotional education, about the balance between predator and prey as well as the benefits of hunting and the conservation that most hunters practice. It's also important for those hunters who view predator reintroduction as "competition" to understand that the predator will enhance, not lessen their hunting.

Today the general public seems to have lost their understanding or acceptance of natural selection, or the call of the wild, or the balance of nature, whatever you prefer to call it. A perfect instance was someone on the forum recently remarking on a video of a predator bringing down a deer of "how cruel it was". Yet dogs, cats, birds, and many "cute" little animals do the same thing every day. So that's a mentality that has to be changed as well. It's the way things are meant to be.

So, the 2 extremes, anti predator and the anti hunting, have to be moderated and people need to work together rather then vilify each other to help solve the problem.

Hawk
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Old 12-16-2010, 10:02 AM   #12
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Here's what my favorite deer hunting magazine, Deer and Deer Hunting, had to say:

Quote:
Summary

Research shows — with some exceptions — that coyotes are maligned predators when they live among healthy deer herds.

Conclusion

If coyote predation on deer is a natural fact, should hunters never kill coyotes? No. As previously mentioned, taking a coyote with a bow or gun can provide for an exciting hunt. However, if your main purpose of shooting a coyote is simply just to “take it off the landscape,” and you have no intention of utilizing the animal, let it walk. Wanton waste of game is not only illegal, it’s immoral.
http://www.deeranddeerhunting.com/article/CoyoteKill

I did some additional research a while back, and apparently you have to kill an insane percentage of coyotes to put a dent in their population.

Probably the best thing we all can do for Adirondack deer is keep our fingers crossed that we aren't hit with a nasty winter, and make sure the deer yards where they congregate when they are most vulnerable are left intact.
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Old 12-16-2010, 10:05 AM   #13
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The coyote's major prey is snowshoe hare. They have pretty much disappeared from the Adirondacks as a result of predation. As the smaller game disappears, the coyotes move to different prey.
The first part's certainly true, but in the right spots, hares are everywhere. If you want to find the coyotes, find where the hares are.

I think declines in hare populations in specific areas probably has to do with the maturation of forests. They seem to really favor early successional habitat, particularly young red maples mixed with young spruces.
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Old 12-16-2010, 10:07 AM   #14
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Coyotes are extremely opportunistic, guessing that's why they have been so prolific. They really don't have much time to get a deer fawn, usually in early spring or in winter when they are weak but I see mostly mouse like hairs in their feces year round.

Look they also cull the weak (and non-cautious) too its very rare a pack can take a full healthy reproducing deer.

The deer population is live and well. My area saw much reduced harvest this season but tracks and sign and road kill are all over the place. I can't blame the yotes because deer smell my cologne in the woods.
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Old 12-16-2010, 10:09 AM   #15
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Here's what my favorite deer hunting magazine, Deer and Deer Hunting, had to say:



http://www.deeranddeerhunting.com/article/CoyoteKill

I did some additional research a while back, and apparently you have to kill an insane percentage of coyotes to put a dent in their population.

Probably the best thing we all can do for Adirondack deer is keep our fingers crossed that we aren't hit with a nasty winter, and make sure the deer yards where they congregate when they are most vulnerable are left intact.
well said.
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Old 12-16-2010, 10:26 AM   #16
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There's no need for wolves in the ADK's because the coyotes already occupy that niche. Over time the wolves would kill every coyote the the ADK's and when they ate all the deer, grouse, rabbits, and turkeys they would move down to farm country and start poaching sheep, cows etc... Just like what is going on in parts of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana right now.

Our coyotes are not like the little suburban farm country animals you see crossing a field. These are big aggressive animals with wolf DNA.
That's not accurate. Wolves would not kill ALL the coyote's but they would put the population in check. Also wolf packs do not proliferate like coyotes do, they seem to stay in check themselves, based on the available game.

As far as what is going on in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho right now, it's more the propaganda that the same old anti-wolf gang has been preaching for years with little scientific evidence that the claims are accurate.

In reality there are very few CONFIRMED ranch animal kills by wolves, confirmed. There have been cases of ranchers taking animals that have died from natural causes and putting them where wolves would find them and eat the carcasses (wolves will scavenge if the carcass is fresh). Since the government reimburses ranchers for any livestock killed by wolves, there is also a financial incentive for the ranchers.

You mention Idaho. A few (maybe 20) there was a documentary about the release of a pack of wolves in the Sawtooth range. the release was successful and when the time and money for the recovery ran out, the wolves were moved to a Nez Perce reservation. Now the Nez Perce raise sheep and horses, and in all the years the pack has existed there (and still exists), there has never been a problem with wolf predation despite the proximity. In fact, the introduction of the wolf pack curtailed the predation that was being carried on by coyotes.
Studies on the Yellowstone packs after some left the park found them walking through fields of domestic animals without predating them as long as their was an abundance of elk, deer and other natural prey.

Most of the land used by those ranchers is PUBLIC land that is leased for a ridiculously cheap sum and the truth be told, the cattle and sheep that graze upon it present a much bigger danger to the ecology then any wolves ever will. The wolf was hated before the reintroduction, and that mentality will not change regardless of the results.

Which is why I said in an earlier reply that we need education on both extremes of this issue.

And these coyotes you speak of that are big and have "wolf DNA". That's not the reason that they are so aggressive, they are aggressive because they have wiped out most of their natural prey (rabbits and small animals) and are now going to the easiest opportunity. They are big because they have an abundance of deer to feed on.

Hawk
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Old 12-16-2010, 10:26 AM   #17
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I must say that I take all of this with a very large grain of salt. In my area of the Poconos here in Pa. the deer population is estimated to be at least 25 per square mile on average. And we have a very substantial coyote population here as well - probably more per square mile than in the ADKs. And despite that - nearly very hunter I come into contact with bemoans the scarcity of deer. It seems to be a common hunter complaint no matter where you go.

At my place in the southern ADKs I have no problem spotting multiple deer and turkeys on a pretty much daily basis EXCEPT when hunting season starts when they suddenly melt away. Snowshoe hare are also common - I sight them occasionally and when winter comes their tracks are all over.

According to Ed Reed, a DEC wildlife biologist:

"The Adirondacks will never attain the deer-population densities found in other parts of the state. Roughly 85 percent of the state’s one million deer dwell in the state’s Southern Zone—the hunting region outside the Adirondacks, Tug Hill, and adjacent counties.

“It’s never going to be the Southern Zone,” Reed said. “The Adirondacks have value as a wilderness hunting experience.
With long winters, deep snows, and rough terrain, the Adirondacks have always been marginal habitat for white-tailed deer. There is little information about the deer herd in the early days of European settlement. However, the herd increased markedly in the late 1800s as selective logging of mature pine and spruce opened up the forest. It crashed around the turn of the century after clear cuts and forest fires destroyed huge swaths of forestland and overhunting took its toll. Eventually, the habitat recovered and the state enacted game laws to protect deer, setting the stage for an unprecedented boom."


Here are recent stats from the ADK Explorer website:

Over the past dozen years, Adirondack hunters have killed on average 7,931 bucks a year. By way of comparison, in the twelve years from 1954 to 1965, hunters killed an average of 8,003 bucks—slightly more than today, but there were more hunters back then. In 2000, hunters had their second-best year ever, taking 9,632 bucks.

The bottom line is that if the original Eastern wolves and cougars were still here - they would be blamed for taking all the deer. But since hunters way back when wiped 'em all out, the coyotes have moved back in. Now it's the coyotes taking all the deer.

CONCLUSION: Most homo sapien hunters don't want anything touching their deer.
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Old 12-16-2010, 10:38 AM   #18
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" The caribou feeds the wolf, but it is the wolf who keeps the caribou strong "
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Old 12-16-2010, 10:45 AM   #19
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"Studies on the Yellowstone packs after some left the park found them walking through fields of domestic animals without predating them as long as their was an abundance of elk, deer and other natural prey"

I dunno....

http://www.christisall.org/wp-conten...0-%20sheep.jpg
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Old 12-16-2010, 11:12 AM   #20
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Hawk, wolves most certainly do attack livestock. A quick Google search turned up a lot of articles on recent confirmed attacks, here are a few...

Don't get me wrong I'm not anti wolf. There's nothing I enjoy more than being in wild country where wolves live. But to successfully coexist with humans and livestock in the West they need to be hunted. If they're not hunted they have no fear of humans and they will continue to cause problems.


120 sheep killed by wolves in Montana in one night
http://billingsgazette.com/news/stat...cc4c002e0.html

Landowner kills wolf attacking sheep
http://missoulian.com/news/state-and...cc4c002e0.html

Wolves kill sheep, cows
http://www.hpj.com/archives/2008/nov...tockinsout.cfm

365 sheep, cattle, horses and dogs killed by wolves have been tallied in Montana for 2009...
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/unle...-backlash.html

Wolf attacks livestock in Oregon
http://www.oregonlive.com/environmen...rn_oregon.html

Wolf attacks cattle in Idaho
http://www.messenger-index.com/news/...fc0b6dd17.html
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