Coyotes Hammer Fawns

This entry was posted by on Monday, 3 August, 2009 at

Arizona may have more coyotes than mule deer. Get after them doggies, boys!

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Findings on coyotes in area confirm theory
By Rob Pavey| Outdoors Editor
Sunday, August 02, 2009

Evidence is mounting that coyotes kill more fawns in the South than previously thought — and also eat lots of suburban house cats.

The newest findings — revealed in ongoing research at Savannah River Site and in a study published in the Journal of Wildlife Management — confirm what savvy hunters already know about the secretive predators that arrived here in the 1980s.

“The evidence we’re seeing has been remarkably consistent and it’s not changing from year to year,” said U.S. Forest Service research biologist John Kilgo, whose coyote studies at SRS are now in their fourth year.

The findings, based upon a sophisticated telemetry program to track and monitor newborn fawns, indicates coyotes are responsible for at least 50 percent, and potentially as much as 80 percent, of the documented fawn mortality.

That’s a lot of venison.

In all, Kilgo and his colleagues have studied 84 fawns. Of those, 24 were involved in this year’s studies, and final results remain incomplete because he is awaiting DNA analysis to confirm that the fawns killed were taken by coyotes.

Of the 60 fawns studied previously, however, 44 of them died within a few weeks of birth — and 35 of those deaths were attributable to coyotes.

Although the hard data is all from SRS, which has low deer populations due to hunting pressure, evidence indicates coyotes take just as high a percentage of deer from other lands.

As part of his research, Kilgo used trail camera surveys to study fawn-doe ratios in September, the end of the period in which they are most vulnerable to coyotes.

The studies were conducted both within SRS, which has a lower deer population, and on private, sparsely hunted land, where deer densities were much higher.

“We thought, if there are a lot more deer and a lot more fawns hitting the ground in the spring, maybe the impact isn’t that dramatic,” Kilgo said. “But what we found were the same percentages — suggesting that the same number of fawns are dying.”

What will the coyote’s presence mean for future deer herds in the South? It’s hard to predict.

In Western states, where coyotes have existed for centuries among mule deer and antelope, their impact appears minimal.

“In those areas, the whole system has adjusted and evolved under pressure of the coyote,” he said.

“Even when you throw hunting in there, the populations are supporting both coyotes and hunting pressure. Here in the Southeast, where coyotes were first seen in the mid 1980s, it’s a newer situation.”

Coyotes are also impacting suburban populations, according to a study in the Journal of Wildlife Management that shows they are consuming huge numbers of outdoor cats.

Shannon Grubbs, of the University of Arizona, and Paul Krausman, of the University of Montana, observed 36 coyote-cat interactions, of which 19 resulted in coyotes killing cats.

They concluded 42 percent of the coyotes’ meals in such areas were cats.

Although the cat studies were conducted in western states, Kilgo said it is no surprise — and happens here just as often.

“It’s pretty well known among people who study urban situations that they do take cats on a regular basis,” he said. “They eat pets in general and small dogs — and a lot of disappearances we see are probably attributable to coyotes.”

Reach Rob Pavey at 868-1222, ext. 119 or rob.pavey@augustachronicle.com.

4 Responses to “Coyotes Hammer Fawns”

  1. Gregory Scott

    I agree, AZ. has done nothing but give the predators a free ride, NO poison, No trapping, Made the Mtlion a big game animal, reintroduced the Mexican Gray Wolf, Ranchers cattle alot ments are cut big time, the elk seem to flourish everywhere eating the mule deer out of house and home, then the biologist fish and game in general will blame the drought for the mule deer decline.
    Amazing how any hunter with common sence can figure out what needs to be done to build the deer herds back up.
    You dont see any Rancher trying to build a herd of cattle and putting a bunch of predators in with them.
    And it doesnt take a college degree to figure out what really needs to be done. thin the predators down.

    Like the Sheep killing lion in AZ, they got rid of the lion, Amazing how much value the sheep has over the mule/cous deer.

  2. Mike Bagwell

    I can confirm that the coyotes have totally devastated the deer population on and around the 350 acre tract of land that I hunt in the southeast. I first started noticing coyotes on our property in the mid 90’s but for the past 5-7 years, I have seen as many coyotes in the woods as deer. I don’t really care how they got here or whether they migrated out of Alabama, Nationwide Insurance (another rumor that I heard) placed them in the Carolinas to cut down on auto / deer collisions or what but I want them gone. I had one incident a few years back where a young doe ran under my stand and right on her tracks was a coyote.

    You can hunt them all you want but you will never control the numbers to amount to anything and frankly I don’t have the time to trap them like I would like and poison is illegal and the ramifications are greater on a multitude of animals.

    This is what I have done for the past few years and I am starting to see the results of more deer sign, more fawns, etc….

    Get 2.25 – 2.5″ dense styrofoam balls (like the Christmas tree ornaments) and soak them in bacon grease or any thick grease that will get into the pores and stay on the balls. Place 2-3 of these balls periodically on your property. I usually put out 3 dozen per month. The yote will swallow the ball and can not pass it. Yotes will swallow them whole where other animals will chew on the foam and not really devour them. You can buy these in bulk as well. I know it sounds inhumane but you have to protect your investment!

  3. Jimmy Johnson

    Dude, you’re sick. I hope someone puts one of these inside you. And coyotes typically don’t take live prey, they are scavengers. They usually will only take fawns but not full grown does. Nice story. And let me guess, are you from California? or Texas?

  4. My neighbor watched two coyotes pull down a doe and her two fawns in his front yard. Coyotes are famous for killing fawns and calves as they are being born and when the mother abandons the young the coyote returns to finish the job. If a coyote bites and draws blood, the animal usually dies of infection if left untreated. Nasty… them coyotes!


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