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Nov 11

True story about Rancher loosing Deer and Black Bucks from Coyotes and Bobcats

by Clint Locklear, Predator Control group

We were working on a Texas hunting ranch that was also a deer breeder. The year before we were called in, the ranch was hit hard by predators. The ranch had turned loose a stock trailer of black buck deer. The purpose of the black bucks was to get a nice herd established on the ranch for future hunting. Within just a few months the black bucks were nothing but a painful memory and a substantial waste of money and time. The coyotes and cats ate very well until the black bucks were gone.

To add insult to injury, predators found a way into one of the ranch’s breeder pens. It was a wet year and the cover was up and thick. The ranch manager had a hard time counting each doe and fawn in the pen, so the exact number of fawns inside the pen was not known. They did have 13 artificial inseminated doe that had some high powered genetics that showed great promise. The ranch manager went into the pens every other day to check on the fawns and doe. Then on a nice sunny South Texas day, the ranch manager had trouble seeing any of the deer from the fence perimeter. So he went into the pen. A nice day turned extremely ugly in a hurry. All 13 doe were dead, most were eaten. No fawns where found alive. It almost seemed that the fawns where packed off to outside of the pen. He could not find many fawn parts or bodies inside of the pen. In just two days, 13 inseminated doe and 9-15 fawns were lost.

This land owner did somewhat try predator control. He had a ranch hand set snares in the fence when he had time. The ranch hand did the best he could, but he only caught 17 coyotes in the fence in a year’s time. He had no foot hold traps or knowledge on how to use them. His snaring technique was the same as we see all over Texas. The snare he was using was the same kind that is found in feed stores all across Texas. We came in and caught more coyotes in five days than he did in 365 days. He is a great ranch hand; he knows deer and exotics, but not trapping and professional snaring.

It is depressing to really think about how much this ranch owner lost in money and time due to predators. He lost the cost and travel to buy the black bucks. He lost out on the revenue he would have received for the hunting fees and the lost revenue by not raising the fawns from the black bucks for future income. He had a lot of money on the killed whitetail doe, plus the cost of artificial insemination. In the controlled pens, he should have had a minimum of 1 fawn survive from each doe. He lost all of the future income from the fawns (hunting, semen, and building up genetics, deer sales and the chance of having put together the monster buck of his future). The true cost that the predators cost him was easily over $100,000.00. Professional predator control only costs a very small percentage of his losses. I hear the same kind of story all over the country. This type of gambling is no different than what happens in casinos in Vegas every day. The only difference is that the predators are the “House” and they have the odds in their favor.

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