February 01, 2012 at 7:16pm
the following is a portion of what one guy wrote up on the study in Georgia concerning coyotes.
Times have changed.
Deer management is no longer only about keeping them in check and an afterthought. The explosive growth of groups like the Quality Deer Management Association is proof.
In fact, it’s not a stretch to say that in places, deer are more valuable financially, emotionally and recreationally than the domestic stock they share ground with.
Wagner unknowingly laid the groundwork for modern coyote/deer studies by challenging early studies (1970, 1976) that he said concluded, “Predation and coyotes came to be considered by many wildlife biologists a relatively minor influence on big-game populations.”
According to Wagner, later studies more accurately described the relationship between coyotes, deer and antelope.
“Coyote predation is a major source of fawn mortality, especially in summer when the fawns are quite young,” he said. “The percentage of fawns killed has variously been reported to average 25 percent in a Wyoming study area to 37 percent in an Oregon study.”
He additionally noted that several other studies revealed the number of fawns per 100 does increased after intensive coyote control.
None of this was as important in 1988 as it is today, but to cite the information was prophetic.
Modern studies not only confirm Wagner’s conclusions, they also paint an even bleaker picture for the well being of deer forced to cohabitate with our growing coyote population.
QDMA’s 2010 Whitetail Report revealed several of those studies.
Cory VanGilder, University of Georgia, conducted a study along with Drs. Grant Woods and Karl Miller. They studied the effects of intense predator removal on whitetail deer recruitment in northeast Alabama.
They removed 22 coyotes and 10 bobcats from February through July 2007 on a 2000-acre study site. This reduced the predator abundance indices to nearly zero immediately prior to the fawning season. The result was drastically increased fawn survival from 193 to 256 percent.
University of Georgia student, Bret Howze conducted an even more ambitious study along with Drs. Robert Warren and Karl Miller of predation and whitetail deer recruitment in southwest Georgia.
Their study identified two study areas. One 11,000-acre block had 23 coyotes and 3 bobcats removed between January and August 2008. A second 700-acre block was used for a control area and no predators were removed.
They revealed that 2 fawns were recruited for every 3 does in the predator removal zone, while it took over 28 does to recruit the same number of fawns in the zone where predators weren’t removed.
Additional studies support the conclusions of both Wagner and recent QDMA studies, but what, if anything, should deer mangers and hunters do with the information?