Oct 25

Coyotes, Fawn recruitment and Quality Deer Management

by Clint Locklear, Predator Control Group

It is a cruel joke that fawning season is the same time that coyotes need more meat to feed their pups. Each dominate male and female coyote has an average of 4-6 pups per year. So this family group of coyotes has to kill enough to feed 6-8 mouths. Fawns are easy targets and little energy is used to prey on them. Predators can take up to 75% of your fawn recruitment. Sure, thick cover helps, but if the predator population is high, they will still take a majority of the fawns. We have seen this time and time again.

You might not be hunting fawns this fall, but on average 50% of the fawns will turn out to be male. So the higher the fawn kill, the less available future bucks on your property. Ignoring this fact will affect your future hunting experience. If you’re a commercial hunting operation, the more bucks you can grow, the more hunts you can charge for. When quality deer management started a couple of decades ago, predator control was not prevalent in most parts of the country. The reason is simple, the fur market was high and there were a lot of trappers “fur-trapping”, not today. Plus the government used poison to try to keep the predators under control, not today. Today, coyotes and bobcats are at a ridiculously high number. So parts of the country that used to have very few predators are getting over run with coyotes and bobcats. This has changed the game of quality deer and wildlife management. The landowners that stay behind the times with predators are seeing a reduction in fawn recruitment on their property. Thus, they are losing their future buck crop.

Let’s look at some studies.

(Blanton et al. 1989) found, “MS, AL, KY and TN, fawning deer were the most frequent (74%) major food of coyotes”.

(Wooding et al. 1984) found, “MS, AL (71.4%) fawn deer are the major food of coyotes, predation could potentially impact white-tail deer recruitment.”

(Bartush et al. 1981) “Fawn loss by predators commonly exceeded 70%”

(Cook et al. 1971) found, “coyote predation accounted for 79% of fawn mortalities”

(Epstein et al. Roberts 2007) found, “bobcats were responsible for 57%-82% of fawn mortalities”

(Stout et al. 1982) found, “154% increase in fawn recruitment following 2 years of predator control”

(Bartush & Lewis 1981) “fawn mortality of 90% has been reported, due to coyote predation”

We at Predator Control Group were involved in a study with the University of Georgia in 2008; we increased the fawn numbers by 186% in one year. This also increased the future buck population by 93%.




Trappers need to know these facts as much as the landowners do!


1 comment

  1. cody livingston

    I dont have a problem beleiving this I have seen one deer on my place this year and used to see plenty back in the boom days.However its hard for me to get land owners to beleive it .

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