Razor-sharp teeth tear at flesh. Blood vessels rip. Arteries blow apart. Flaps of skin hang loose, exposing raw meat. Eyes roll around in their sockets. Distress bleats fill the air. The valiant whitetail puts up a magnificent fight. But the fight is too much to overcome. It eventually succumbs to the vicious onslaught brought on by the coyote.
I bet that imagery hits close to home for many of you. It does for me.
This is a scene that is all too real—and too common—throughout the country. Everyone who deer hunts needs to do his ir her part and help manage coyote populations. Song dogs are taking a serious toll on whitetails and other game animals.
So no mercy for the mutts. Well, half-joking, sort of. It’s probably obvious by now that I’m no fan of coyotes. I’ve seen what they can do on too many occasions. But, as with all animals, predators have to be properly managed.
The No.1 one reason: Coyotes kill a lot of fawns. A little obvious, I know. But whitetail populations can’t grow—or remain stable—if there aren’t enough fawns reaching maturity to replenish and maintain herd populations.
2. FAWN RECRUITMENT RATES ARE ALREADY TOO LOW
Fawn recruitment is the term for the number of fawns that reach maturity and are recruited into the herd. Well, fawn recruitment rates are already too low in most states. The only whitetail state in the country with an annual fawn recruitment rate over 1.0 fawns-per-doe is Kentucky. In some states, the fawn recruitment is as low as 0.3 or 0.4 fawns-per-doe. That’s staggering. And while coyotes are already contributing to that number, more coyotes will only make it worse.
3. YOTES KILL ADULT DEER
Think coyotes don’t kill adult deer? Think again. Click here, here, and here to see prime examples. Coyotes don’t kill as many adult deer as fawns, but they still kill quite a few. And the numbers add up.
4. WINTERING DEER NEED HELP
Adult deer are most vulnerable to coyotes in the colder months. Winter is already hard enough for whitetails. Throw coyotes into that mix, and it gets even worse.
5. CANINES IMPACT DAYLIGHT DEER ACTIVITY
Coyotes affect deer patterns and daylight activity just like hunters do. It’s the same concept. When hunters intrude into an area, deer respond negatively. When coyotes invade a territory and spend a lot of time there, deer respond negatively to them, as well.
6. SONG DOGS ALTER OTHER HABITS
Coyotes don’t just affect deer daylight activity. I’ve seen coyotes completely push deer out of an area. That is how severe the situation can be.
7. YOU’LL SEE MORE DEER
Kill more coyotes. See more deer. There are numerous studies out there to prove this statement. Historically speaking, deer populations decrease when coyote populations increase. When coyote populations decrease, deer populations rebound. It’s been proven time and again. Just look to all of the studies conducted in the southeastern states.
8. COYOTES NEED MANAGING, TOO
Coyotes—like all animals—must be managed. Although the coyote isn’t native to all states east of the Mississippi, many argue that it still has its place in them. That aside, we still have to effectively manage coyote populations.
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Whitetails make the hunting world go round. Josh Honeycutt, deer hunting editor and "Brow Tines and Backstrap" blogger, knows a fair bit about killing mature deer. He was raised up hunting the river bottoms of Kentucky. And he still hunts there—among other places—to this day.
Follow along as he shares his adventures, experiences and knowledge of the white-tailed deer.