Are Coyotes Negatively Impacting Our Deer Herds?

dogdinger

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Sagauache County, Co...3170 sq miles, not a single
jamesmc2, you are woefully misinformed about the impact of the oil and gas industry on wildlife, if anything they improve the habitat. Now on the statement of housing going up in sensitive areas, yes that is happening everywhere, but what do you do about that , short of depriving us of our private property rights and letting goverment take control of all the land?
 

jamesmc2

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Misinformed in what way? The multi-year research project by the Wyoming Fish and Game showed that gas wells have pushed deer on to less ideal habitat. They development of that industry on public lands is directly linked to disruption of habitat and a decline in deer numbers. Mule deer collar studies show they are creatures of habit and don't adapt well to human activity in their habitat. If you have some other research data I would be interested to see it. The decline of mule deer numbers all over the west is a multi-factorial problem. The single biggest factor that has been proven with actual research is human activity. I agree that you can't get excessive with regulations and private land is private land and can be developed as the owners see fit. However when it comes to public land I think that we as hunters should be proactive in preserving the natural resources, animals and places we enjoy for the future.
 

jamesmc2

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Also I am not trying to extrapolate one the impact of oil/gas on wildlife in other areas of the country because I don't know much about that. Just speaking of where I live and hunt in Southwest Wyoming.
 

elimsprint

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Kelowna. BC
Mule deer collar studies show they are creatures of habit and don't adapt well to human activity in their habitat.

I really don't know who does these studies, here's the impact of human activity at my place.
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That said when I first moved here there were no fawns to be seen with the does in the fall but now after 5 years of actively "managing" the coyote population in my small area of operation I see lots of fawns with the does.
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My active coyote management plan at work.
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Not exactly long range hunting but very effective.
Kim
 

jamesmc2

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Actually the studies were well designed. They put radio tracking devices on mule deer in the Wyoming. Year after year the mule deer spent the summer in the mountains and came down to the sagebrush plains for the winter. When this area was heavily developed with gas wells and 1,000s of miles of new roads the deer moved to other winter areas that were less suitable and winter mortality increased. The overall population of the herd has dropped a lot. I sure this is not the only factor involved in the population decline but it is definitely playing a role.

Obviously some deer due get used to humans. In your experience it looks like it has benefited the deer, but that is not always the case. My mother-in-law lives in a large housing development that was built in the foothills of mule deer winter range. The deer now spend the winter amongst the houses. At first they were novel but now they are viewed as pests. In the winter the city now exterminates many of the "problem" deer that eat people shrubs. Others get hit by cars.

Nice work on the Coyotes by the way, as I posted earlier in the thread I have witnessed Coyotes preying on mule deer fawns.
 

SBruce

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I find myself needing to respond to this.

I've hunted/trapped and watched/studied coyotes quite extensively for over 20 years. Although not a whole lot during the past couple years due to other recent obligations and interests.

I've observed coyotes and their behavior as it relates to livestock, game animals and rodents.

Simply put, yes coyotes feed on game animals. But they are truly oportunistic and actually prefer the easiest and safest meal they can get. Coyotes survive soo well mostly because they are just big cowards.

If there are alot of rabbits and other rodent type prey around, the predation on deer/antelope is greatly reduced. If there is alot of winter kill on deer/antelope they prefer to eat the carrion over using the effort to catch and kill a rabbit. If there is a cow having a calf that is paralized and cant fight back......the coyote will eat the calf and the *** end of the cow, however; they rarely bother healthy cattle, young or old, it's just too risky to the coyotes' survival. Adult deer and antelope will defend their fawns from coyotes if able. I've watched this first hand. Likewise, cattle will defend their calves from coyotes if able. IME, attacks on healthy living fawns and calves are actually rare. Obviously, this varies some from year to year and prey population/density has alot to do with this, as does coyote population and natural occuring wildlife deaths due to disease, winter kill, and other naturally occuring deaths.

If small rodent populations are relatively low, then coyotes are more apt to take fawns. They can survive quite easily eating on stuff that is already dead, example winter kill.

So, I guess what I am trying to say here is that yes coyotes will kill fawn deer, but it is definately not their prefered food in my experience.
Why would a coyote risk the hooves of an adult deer when they can easily get a rabbit without any risk. Why spend the massive amounts of energy if there are safer and easier food supplies available................this is what I've observed with coyotes. They will eat just about whatever they can find to survive. I've watched them eat mice and rats, birds, grass, grasshoppers and other bugs, and even the worms out of cow pies.

I submit that if they are feeding extensively on deer fawns, it is because there isn't enough other varieties of prey/food available for the current population of coyotes.

I truly believe that the growing population of wolves and encroachment on deer habitat by humans will ultimately (in the long run) affect the deer population more than coyotes ever did. Besides, once the **** wolves get spread out all over the county, coyotes populations will reduce greatly and we'll have another, bigger issue.

Sorry for the long rant, just my .02.
 

SBruce

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Actually the studies were well designed. They put radio tracking devices on mule deer in the Wyoming. Year after year the mule deer spent the summer in the mountains and came down to the sagebrush plains for the winter. When this area was heavily developed with gas wells and 1,000s of miles of new roads the deer moved to other winter areas that were less suitable and winter mortality increased. The overall population of the herd has dropped a lot. I sure this is not the only factor involved in the population decline but it is definitely playing a role.

Obviously some deer due get used to humans. In your experience it looks like it has benefited the deer, but that is not always the case. My mother-in-law lives in a large housing development that was built in the foothills of mule deer winter range. The deer now spend the winter amongst the houses. At first they were novel but now they are viewed as pests. In the winter the city now exterminates many of the "problem" deer that eat people shrubs. Others get hit by cars.

Nice work on the Coyotes by the way, as I posted earlier in the thread I have witnessed Coyotes preying on mule deer fawns.

The deer do get used to the roads and will come back into the area once the "development" kinda subsides. It's all the traffic during the develpment that seems to bother them..........speaking of oil and gas development. Once the field has the drilling finished and the gas/oil is flowing through pipelines, the traffic is reduced back to somewhat "reasonable" levels.

Just my take on the oil/gas development, as an oilfield worker and also as a rancher with oil/gas wells on my property.
 

HARPERC

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While there are many factors influencing deer and antelope numbers it's clear predation by coyotes is an issue. What circumstances lead to higher incidences of predation I don't know, but there are enough instances of fawn survival increasing significantly after control measures were instituted. It does take more than a few guys with Foxpros to achieve. Aerial gunning timed in spring to give fawns a chance to get up and running has worked in Oregon and Utah that I know of. Improvements range from 20 fawns per 100 mule deer does, to 80 antelope fawns per 100 does. The article I just read reports Utah (doesn't say which unit or units) fawn production was increased by 2000 animals. The Oregon Hunters Association provided grant money for some predator control. I believe if sportsmans groups wish to boost hunting opportunities this is where the bulk of their support should be directed. Especially following hard winters, and in units that are way below desired levels.
 

Yotekiller

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In my area the only small game left is squirrels. If I went out today and tried to kill a pheasant or a rabbit I would be very lucky to find one. With crop prices the way they are the farmers have eliminated any standing weeds, brush, and fence lines to plant crops. Deer seem to be the only thing the coyotes can find and they kill a lot of them. Full grown healthy deer are no match for 4 coyotes. I chased a group of nine out of a small ravine just last week.

I believe you guys out west who don't think you have a problem, but the eastern coyotes we have here are a very different animal. Adult males weigh between 35-44 lbs and females 30-39 lbs. The packs are getting larger every year as the population gets higher. The idea that they don't have as many pups when the population gets to high is false the groups are just getting larger. Here they have exploded out of control and continue to multiply like rats.
 

SBruce

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In my area the only small game left is squirrels. If I went out today and tried to kill a pheasant or a rabbit I would be very lucky to find one. With crop prices the way they are the farmers have eliminated any standing weeds, brush, and fence lines to plant crops. Deer seem to be the only thing the coyotes can find and they kill a lot of them. Full grown healthy deer are no match for 4 coyotes. I chased a group of nine out of a small ravine just last week.

Yes, I'd agree that if deer are the only food source in the area, especially winter months, the coyotes will take them down. In my experience, coyotes don't normally "pack up" this time of year unless big game is all that is available. In fact, this time of year is coming into breeding season real soon and most coyotes are extremely territorial right now. Not uncommon where I live to only see singles and occasional doubles this time of year. Now a couple months ago, seeing "packs" would be more of a normal thing, because they haven't always dispersed the pups by then. This dispersal is also somewhat dependant upon prey populations and coyote densities.

In some years past, I've personally seen as many as 15 coyotes in one group, but that is certainly not the usual.

4 coyotes would probably get a deer down, but they would no doubt sustain some injuries doing it. I've called in many a deer with coyote calls, both howlers and distress sounds, and they come in ****ed off; I mean ready to stomp some coyotes butt into the dirt, snorting and jumping up and down and pawing the dirt type of thing. I've even had coyotes coming to the call and deer would sometimes actually get get there first.....once the deer are on the scene, usually the coyote won't approach much closer. They are alot more brazen when their "packed up" though.

You have a valid point, in that the Eastern coyotes are bigger, and they probably do act differently than our western ones. Similar can be said of the wolves inhabiting the great lakes areas, they are simply not the same wolf that is killing all the elk and moose in the Rockies right now. I knew the wolves would breed and multiply way above and beyond their (the supporting peoples') expectations, because of my experience with coyotes. I've seen 3 coyote dens within a mile of each other, and one of the bitches had 12 pups, one had 9 and one had 5. This was in the same week............why would wolves be any different when they have an unlimited food suppy and are protected to boot.
 
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Yotekiller

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Here they almost can't disperse in smaller groups the density is too high and they would be in someone else's territory. They become hard to call after you get one or two out of the group and teach the rest of them what is happening. Most of the people who call them only get pups anyway.
 

szeitner

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Yes, I'd agree that if deer are the only food source in the area, especially winter months, the coyotes will take them down. In my experience, coyotes don't normally "pack up" this time of year unless big game is all that is available. In fact, this time of year is coming into breeding season real soon and most coyotes are extremely territorial right now. Not uncommon where I live to only see singles and occasional doubles this time of year. Now a couple months ago, seeing "packs" would be more of a normal thing, because they haven't always dispersed the pups by then. This dispersal is also somewhat dependant upon prey populations and coyote densities.

In some years past, I've personally seen as many as 15 coyotes in one group, but that is certainly not the usual.

4 coyotes would probably get a deer down, but they would no doubt sustain some injuries doing it. I've called in many a deer with coyote calls, both howlers and distress sounds, and they come in ****ed off; I mean ready to stomp some coyotes butt into the dirt, snorting and jumping up and down and pawing the dirt type of thing. I've even had coyotes coming to the call and deer would sometimes actually get get there first.....once the deer are on the scene, usually the coyote won't approach much closer. They are alot more brazen when their "packed up" though.

You have a valid point, in that the Eastern coyotes are bigger, and they probably do act differently than our western ones. Similar can be said of the wolves inhabiting the great lakes areas, they are simply not the same wolf that is killing all the elk and moose in the Rockies right now.


Have to agree with you, I've called in alot of deer over the years while calling coyotes. And your point about wolves is spot on....now that is one predator that is definetly having a huge impact on fawn-calf populations, as well as adult deer, moose, and elk.
 

SBruce

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Have to agree with you, I've called in alot of deer over the years while calling coyotes. And your point about wolves is spot on....now that is one predator that is definetly having a huge impact on fawn-calf populations, as well as adult deer, moose, and elk.

Yea, here in a few more years, I'm afraid coyotes will be the least of our worries.
 
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