Coyote and Deer
The tough winter conditions this year have caused deer stress throughout the whitetail’s range. Warmer temperatures are finally in the forecast for many states. The warmer temperatures will cause native and planted vegetation to grow and provide quality forage.
Does this mean deer are now living stress free? No way! Spring green up means fawning season will occur soon and coyotes will be seeking and eating fawns. Coyote depredation on fawns probably varies by area, but has clearly been documented by several researchers in different states during the past few years.
Some researchers at the University of Georgia took a different approach. They fenced four 105 acre areas with coyote proof fences also monitored four nearby 105 acre control areas (no fence to exclude coyotes).
They found that bucks and does preferred feeding/being in the coyote proof exclosures 1.5 times more than in the control areas. Deer literally had to jump a fence to get into the coyote proof exclosures while the same habitat and resources were just outside the fence. Deer made a clear choice to seek an area where the number of predators was reduced. This choice to be away from predators was especially pronounced during the post-rut and fawning season for bucks and does respectively.
Want more deer to use the property where you hunt compared to the neighborhood in general? You might try reducing the predator population where you hunt, especially during the post-rut and fawning season.
Next week I’ll share how this research has applications to how I select which stands to hunt on a day to day basis.
Growing and hunting deer together,
Dr. Grant Woods was raised and began his love of white-tailed deer as a bow hunter in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri.
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