Abstract

Title:  Coyote Effects on White-tailed Deer: A South Texas Perspective
Author(s): Chase R. Currie, David G. Hewitt, Charles A. DeYoung
Year: 2012
Abstract: Coyote (Canis latrans) predation has implications for white-tailed deer management and has been extensively studied in southern Texas. The proportion of fawns killed by coyotes has varied from 17 – 83% depending on the location and year, however it is not clear if this mortality was additive, especially during drought. Coyote predation seems to have little impact on adult deer populations, although adult males may be vulnerable following the breeding season, when most mortality occurs. The effect of coyote removal on fawn production has varied from no effect to 70% and 43% more fawns produced on coyote removal sites. In two studies where coyotes were experimentally excluded, deer numbers initially increased as a result of increased fawn survival (25%, 40.4 to 50.8 deer/mile2; 96%, 101 to 198 deer/mile2). Deer populations later declined on these sites from disease and nutrition problems. Intensive annual coyote removal is necessary to increase fawn survival and may not be feasible in many cases because coyote populations recover rapidly after removal ceases. The interaction between coyotes and deer in south Texas is still unclear, although coyote predation appears to impact fawn survival in some cases. White-tailed deer populations persist in southern Texas even in areas with little deer management, periodic drought induced reproductive failures, and high coyote densities. As coyote populations increase in the southeastern U.S., managers may need to lower harvest rates of female deer to compensate for coyote related fawn mortality.

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