Most white-tailed deer hunters are always ready to place blame on the poor coyote. After all, the coyote is the one animals that kills all of the deer and keeps whitetail populations low, right? Well, no, not always. Though these photos show coyotes killing a buck, that is not really the take home message here. The fact is white-tailed deer do fairly well in predator-rich environments, but they must have good habitat.
Many deer hunters will opportunistically shoot a coyote during a hunt, and it’s often a a great bonus and an effort towards predator control for deer management. But coyotes are numerous, and I don’t think shooting coyotes has ever really lowered a coy dog population in an area unless used in combination with trapping, so don’t think for a minute that you’re saving the whitetail herd by killing a few coyotes. They are survivors. But so are whitetail deer.
Don’t get me wrong, coyotes can kill deer efficiently, but they almost always get the weakest representatives on the deer population. Coyotes can be detrimental to whitetail populations if deer numbers fall below the threshold level necessary for the animals to survive in an area. However, if this is the case, then there are likely other management concerns.
Studies have shown that newborn fawn mortality can be 20 percent to 25 percent once fawns reach four or five weeks old and become more active, so there is no doubt that coyotes CAN be a factor, but on properties that actively manage for deer there should be no major concerns. A healthy whitetail deer herd can handle that amount of fawn mortality.
The photos above show that coyotes can kill a buck deer, too. Deer hunter Marlin Smith’s game camera captured these incredible coyote-kill photos at his hunting lease in Oklahoma just this past summer. The lease is located in some foothills that are quite removed from paved roads and county highways. This is the third year he has been hunting the property, which they manage for whitetail deer.
In my opinion, coyotes would have one heck of time taking down and killing a healthy whitetail buck. I don’t think they can impact deer hunting unless habitat is poor and deer numbers are already very low. I suspect that this buck is ill. I don’t know that it is, but I would bet that EHD or blue tongue could be to blame. These widespread deer diseases are typically most prevalent during the summer, and are spread by biting midges (flies). From my experience, bucks tend to me more susceptible to these diseases since they are gregarious, running in bachelor groups at this time of the year. Any guesses?
If you love Texas, you will LOVE this video!