Abstract

Title:  A Silver Lining: Coyotes as a Management Tool in High Density Deer Populations
Author(s): Steve Demarais, Bob Zaiglin
Year: 2012
Abstract: The bad news: there is evidence that coyote predation can significantly reduce fawn recruitment across the Southeast. The good news: there is evidence that coyote predation can significantly reduce fawn recruitment across the Southeast. One recent project documented that up to 62% of monitored fawns died from coyote predation. Concern about the increased impact of coyotes on fawn recruitment in the SE is certainly justified for those management units where abundant recruitment is needed to support relatively high harvest rates of older-aged males. However, declining hunter recruitment has been heralded as a significant issue across the Southeast at previous Deer Study Group meetings. Problems related to deer over-abundance in exurban and suburban areas, where hunting is problematic, continue to escalate. Additionally, some large-scale private property owners hesitate to allow access to the number of hunters required to properly control deer density. We argue that large-scale inability to control deer density will be the greatest deer management issue facing state management agencies in the future and that coyotes may be a key component of any realistically effective effort within the Southeast. Before we sound too loud or too widespread of an alarm over coyote predation of deer fawns, we should carefully clarify the target audience and circumstances under which this issue is pertinent.

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