John's Journal...

The Latest Research on Deer

More on How Coyotes Impact Deer Herds

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Today outdoorsmen have begun to learn more about the white-tailed deer. In the past, we haven’t known the right questions to ask. But now scientists and researchers have started studying deer more intensely. Brian Murphy, QDMA executive director, has kept his finger on the pulse of new deer research to inform the members of QDMA and outdoors enthusiasts how to better manage whitetails. This week, we’ll bring you the latest research concerning deer.

Brian Murphy,Click to enlarge QDMA executive director, reports that, “A study in Illinois shows that the size, the shape and the distribution of fawning cover also greatly impacts fawn mortality. If blocks of wood are next to some low-growing habitat, fawn mortality due to coyotes will be much less than if there’s 1,000 acres of open fields with little or no understory. In the Illinois study area, predators have accounted for 64 percent of fawn mortality, with coyotes being the primary predator. Predation by coyotes is higher in places with less fawning cover. However, an impenetrable understory isn’t good because does have to be able to get into that fawning habitat. Fawning habitat needs to be in blocks of 10 to 20 acres instead of in blocks of 1 to 2 acres.” Murphy also mentions that if a deer herd has reached the carrying capacity of the land, then coyotes will become hunters’ new best friends, since coyotes will take more antlerless deer. If an area has a small deer herd, and sportsmen have concerns about those deer numbers, then they need to consider a coyote-control program.

Places Where Coyotes Can Have a Detrimental Effect on Deer Herds:
Research names three types of situations where coyotes can have a detrimental impact on deer populations, including areas with:Click to enlarge
* extremely-high coyote populations like south Texas;
* poor fawningClick to enlarge habitat; and
* deep snow in the extreme northern section of the country where the migrating deer are in a stressed condition. The coyotes learn about these migratory deer routes and feed heavily on these deer. Since coyotes don’t sink in the snow as deeply as deer, coyotes can move faster across the snow than the deer do. In these types of regions, coyotes can have a detrimental effect not only on fawns, but also on mature deer.

In the South, hunters consider coyotes incidental predators on adult deer but effective predators on fawns. Coyotes have learned to hunt deer hunters because the coyote knows that when it hears gunfire, that there’s a chance for a free meal. In many parts of the South, if a hunter leaves a shot deer out overnight, the coyotes will find and take the wounded deer before the hunter does.

To learn more about QDMA, go to or call 1-800-209-DEER.

Tomorrow: The Truth about the Effects of Breeder White-Tailed Bucks


Check back each day this week for more about "The Latest Research on Deer"

Day 1: How Coyotes Impact Deer Herds
Day 2: More on How Coyotes Impact Deer Herds
Day 3: The Truth about the Effects of Breeder White-Tailed Bucks
Day 4: Whether to Cull White-Tailed Bucks, and What about the Possible Inferiority of Spike Bucks
Day 5: The Importance of Photographing Deer and Developing a Hit List to Learn the Most about Your Land’s Deer Herd



Entry 393, Day 2