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Article on coyote / deer research and trapping

Discussion in 'Ohio Trapping and Varmint Hunting' started by bluedog, Jan 10, 2017.

  1. Came across this article today and thought some of you might be interested. I found the recommendation for timing of trapping efforts to be interesting.

    Predator Control: The Truth About Coyotes vs. Deer

    Rumors of coyotes began circulating through the Southeast in the mid-20th century. Over the next several decades, the rumors became newspaper reports, and then roadside sightings. Still, coyotes remained mostly a curiosity. But in the 1990s, everything seemed to change.

    “Suddenly, people were seeing coyotes in Georgia and North Carolina, and all over the Atlantic Coast,” recalls Michael Chamberlain, a dedicated deer hunter and professor at the University of Georgia (UGA). “Those were places coyotes weren’t supposed to be.”

    Dog Days
    Like many biologists in the Southeast, Chamberlain took notice of the coyote issue around the turn of the millennium. The Western predator was expanding beyond its strongholds, quietly scattering across the South. At the time, the greatest threat to deer in that region was their own overabundance, so the coyote sightings didn’t garner much attention. But in the early 2000s, the number of tagged deer began slipping in some Southern states; South Carolina saw a 23 percent decline between 2002 and 2005. Georgia’s deer take is thought to have dipped by 28 percent from 2001 to 2005, and Alabama’s annual yield dropped by more than 48 percent between 2004 and 2011.

    Disease and more restrictive regulations no doubt played a significant role in the declines, but coyotes were also killing deer—more than many people realized. In one South Carolina study, coyotes accounted for 37 to 80 percent of all whitetail fawn mortalities. In 2007, a study of a herd near Auburn, Ala., showed a 67 percent fawn mortality rate, with coyotes accounting for 42 to 63 percent of the toll. In response to the problem, states loosened regulations on killing coyotes, and South Carolina even rolled out extensive trapping efforts, only to find them largely ineffective and costly.

    In 2009, as wildlife managers and biologists grappled with the problem, Chamberlain began a five-county study in North Carolina, in which he and his team affixed tracking collars to 41 coyotes. Over time, they discovered that there are essentially two types of coyotes: residents, which make up about 70 percent of the population; and transients, which compose the remainder. Resident coyotes, Chamberlain observed, have relatively small home ranges of 2 to 25 miles. Transients, on the other hand, may roam 150 miles, presumably looking for a home range to open up. Once a resident coyote dies, a transient will settle in and claim the territory within a matter of weeks. This helps explain why trapping efforts weren’t working. “For every 10 coyotes you remove, three were just passing through,” Chamberlain says. “And if you’re removing transients, you’re not really having any effect.” Shooting the occasional coyote really makes no difference in what happens to the deer herd.

    Spring to the Defense
    Now Chamberlain is leading a team that’s tracking coyotes on a larger scale. They’re monitoring nearly 200 animals with transmitter collars across three states (Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina); it’s the most ambitious study of its kind. The goal is to learn more about how these predators use habitat, and how land management practices can manipulate coyotes’ effect on other species. And Chamberlain’s findings may just change how sportsmen manage the beasts.

    So far, Chamberlain and his team have observed that coyotes concentrate in areas that also seem prime for deer. Though they haven’t determined how to discourage coyotes’ use of these areas, they have picked up ways to curb fawn predation in them. A leading approach, Chamberlain says, is to trap coyotes in late spring, just before the fawning season, so that fawns have time to mature before transient coyotes move in. “If you trap at any other time of year,” he says, “you’re essentially removing animals that will have their space filled before fawns ever hit the ground.”

    Kip Adams, director of education and outreach for the Quality Deer Management Association, agrees, adding that the timing of coyote removal is likely more important than the number of coyotes removed. Most hunters trap and shoot coyotes in winter, when pelts are at their prime. But if improving fawn survival is a goal, shifting those efforts to April or May makes sense. Adams notes that the management of good fawning cover can also encourage fawn recruitment. In severe cases, where coyotes are jeopardizing herd numbers, hunters may need to shoot fewer antlerless animals, too. That runs counter to the message of aggressive doe management many have embraced in the past decade, but deer management is an evolving science.

    No matter the outcome of Chamberlain’s study, hunters will have to deal with coyotes for the foreseeable future. The reality is that coyotes, with an ample food supply and quality habitat, show no signs of loosening their hold on the eastern United States. “They are here to stay,” Chamberlain says. But he believes that deer will adapt over time and improve their abilities to stave off coyote predation, and herds will resemble those that have dealt with the canines forever. “This predator is still fairly novel to them,” he says. “Talk to a deer manager in Texas, where coyotes have been present for many years. The problem isn’t really that high on the radar screen.”

  2. Those yotes are a bigger threat to the herd than I imagined. Thanks for posting that.
    bilman63 likes this.

  3. Good read, not sure I agree with all the thoughts on the 70% resident and 30% transient. And I do believe an aggressive control plan will control the population.If it's 70/30 or 50/50 there are only so many total coyotes. An aggressive control campaign now through April will have a significant impact on the population.
    bilman63, wing shooter and Nimrod like this.
  4. Interesting article. I always considered late winter for snaring to be best. Spring does make sense as far as fawn drop.
  5. The other day I watched another coyote returning from a subdivision of homes headed for the woods. I tried to take him, but I missed. That makes the third one in with the same travel pattern that I seen coming from that area in over a few months around the same time, the late morning hours. I do believe I found an area for a good set up that they frequently travel in my area now. At night they head to that subdivision to hunt domestic pets that are vulnerable I bet. I've seen the 'lost pet' signs regularly from those home owners. Like I mentioned before several times, I am making it my mission for all of 2017 to kill as many as I can, but I will be specifically hunting them from now until 'Spring Turkey Season' starts. I hope to help the fawn survival rate in my area as best as I can. The habitat that we have is ideal for the coyotes because of the deer and the CRP fields in the immediate area. I truly believe if there was the same kind of focus on coyotes as our deer, the coyote population would be managed just the same. Unfortunately it is not! I wish the state would do something about the tremendous number of coyotes they have in their parks, but it appears the coyotes are protected by them instead. Does't seem quiet right in my book!

    I have read a few articles much the same of what you posted here. Again, if there was a higher emphases on coyote killing, then we wouldn't be seeing articles like this in the future. That's what I believe.
    bilman63 likes this.
  6. I believe that coyotes are really hurting fawn recruitment. At least by what I see in my area. A lot more than what the ODNR "experts" claim.
  7. We saw countless tracks this past weekend in the snow in every area we hunted. Plenty of scat with deer hair in it thats for sure. They probably feast on all the unrecovered deer this time of year.