Are Coyotes Decimating The Deer Herd?


It’s largely a localized problem, but predators do wreck havoc on the deer population. Coyotes effect deer herds the most by killing fawns, but deep snow can also result in reduced herd numbers. That’s because the coyotes can better ensnare their prey with the snow to bog them down. If the coyotes are killing half or more of the fawns, wildlife biologist recommend that action be taken.

Predation problems are worse in the Southeast, American Hunter explains why:



So why the high predation rate in areas of the Southeast? Habitat might be the answer, as much of the areas being studied have been pine plantations. These areas often have little undergrowth beneath the trees. The pines are also planted in rows, which makes it easy for coyotes to walk the rows looking for fawns. (Anyone who has trapped coyotes will tell you coyotes love to walk on paths.)

What all the deer managers agree on is the coyote is here to stay. Many studies have determined that 75 percent or more of coyotes have to be removed from a population to cause it to decrease; in fact, in a coyote-saturated area, beta males and females actually might not breed unless available habitat with food sources opens to them.


How many deer can coyotes and other predators kill? Here’s some interesting studies on the subject:


Biologists have found that coyotes can be particularly hard on fawns in the Southeast. In South Carolina, for example, a three-year study at the U.S. Forest Service’s Southern Research Station, a 300-square-mile area, found that only 16 of 60 radio-collared fawns lived past nine weeks—just 27 percent of the fawns lived that long. Researchers confirmed that coyotes killed at least 65 percent of those fawns and were probably responsible for 85 percent of the fawns killed. Other studies in the Southeast have found predation rates on fawns to be well over 50 percent.

Most other areas of the country don’t generally seem to be as affected by coyote predation on fawns.

“Results from several Midwestern and Northeastern studies indicate that coyotes are responsible for taking, on average, 10 to 20 percent of fawns,” says Dr. Karl V. Miller, a professor of wildlife ecology and management at the University of Georgia. “This level of fawn predation likely has minimal impact on the overall recruitment rates, particularly in highly productive herds.”

A comprehensive study of available research by Duane Diefenbach, adjunct professor of wildlife ecology and leader of the Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit based at Penn State, found that in the East “an average of one in two [fawns] survives its first three months of life, which is when most mortality occurs. Predation by coyotes, black bears and bobcats accounts for most mortality.”


On the Macro-level the deer population is abundant (probably over-abundant in the Northeast) and fairly stable. Again, it all depends on where you live. However, localized destruction of herds from predators can escalate quickly, especially in the Southeast. If you didn’t bag your deer in South Carolina this year, it might be because Wiley Coyote got it first. Read the entire article American Hunter article here.




  1. All predators take a toll on the deer population, coyotes especially , here in my area of the southwest if you had to leave your deer overnight it would be eaten before you retrieved it in the morning, thats a fact

    • I guess it depends on where you live, but they’ve hit our area very hard! We can’t even let our little house dogs out at night without shining a light to check for coyotes, and it’s very common to see 3 or 4 in the yard a couple of times a week at night! We had a great deer population for years, now we see nothing but coyotes on our cameras! So now we kill them anyway and every possible!! We’ve even had neighbors to lose pets to these creatures, we’re basically at war because so much timber has been cut around us the past 3 years and forced them on us! Consider yourself lucky!!

    • Here in lower Alabama, the coyotes kill all small pets left out at dark. They killed our cat on our front porch. I don’t see that is keeping our pets healthy.

    • Kill as many as possible! In some areas you can’t even have a cat outside in your yard. I can no longer free range chickens and the ground nesting birds are basically extinct. Rabbits are much less common.

  2. Really? While the Yellowstone experience suggests that predators are a necessity to healthy ruminant (deer and elk, chiefly) herds, there is such a thing as “over predation”. Deer and elk herds in Oregon, for instance, are under major assault (estimates suggest declines in the herds of as much as 60%, which is, itself, unhealthy for the environment). The major problem is predation – burgeoning coyote populations, the reintroduction of wolves (via Yellowstone, with wolf populations having become established as far south as southern Oregon and northern California by 2010), and, most tellingly, the huge increase in cougar (and, to a lesser extent) bear populations, secondary to hunting restrictions instituted in the early 1990’s (cougar populations in Oregon were stable at around 2,500 animals prior to 1993, when hunting them was virtually eliminated; Cougar populations are now officially estimated at 7,500 and probably actually exceed 9,000 to 10,000 animals). Not only are those cougar more numerous, but they have lost all fear of men (there have been 200X the documented cougar attacks since 1993 as there were in the preceding 200 years) and dogs (which are now viewed as prey). It has gotten so bad that Portland (where over half the state’s 3 Million+ population resides) has been under a “cougar alert” for the last 4+ years (meanwhile, in southern Oregon, where cougar have become a major problem, you cannot even stroll into Lithia Park, in Ashland, from the world famous – and adjacent – Oregon Shakespeare Festival, without risking a run-in). I never worried about going into the woods, unarmed, prior to 1993, despite being so close to cougar in the wild that I could smell them (they didn’t let you see them). I have now had several threatening encounters with them, in which they exhibited decidedly aggressive behavior. Coyote populations, in some counties, have gotten so bad that packs of them will invade camping areas, showing absolutely no fear of people. We desperately need to thin these predator populations or our woods are going to become deerless and dangerous. Any hunting at least has the benefit of reinstilling fear of humans (and, thereby, of lessening the danger to both species from unwelcome encounters). Like it or not, hunting is also a needful part of the ecology. Rural homesteads in Oregon used to invariably keep a couple of goats around, to keep down poison oak and invasive species such as star thistle. The coyotes and cougar having eaten these portable larders (“meals on hooves”?), our ability to control those nuisance plants have collapsed. I’m glad you like the coyotes. Now let us deal with the problems created by your Disney-fied version of nature.

    • It’s gotten to the point that when we do hunt, there has been times that after climbing down from a tree, we have been surrounded by these creatures and we’ve started carrying pistols with us also! These have gotten very brave!!

  3. Coyote’s,wolves, cougars are all predators and are very detrimental to deer and elk herds.and should be eradicated before they start preying on cattle,pets and people which they will. Do once the deer and elk herds are depleted.

  4. Wolf ‘s in the northwest do more damage to deer, In my mind anyway. I would ask the same question in your neck of the woods.its a valid question. Wolf ‘s hunt in packs which do more damage than coyotes. Wolf’s are becoming a major problem in the northwest which the game commission will not accept. They kill sheep,dogs,deer. Anything they can get there mouth around.My take in your area could be a desease and including poachers.

  5. Coyotes, Wolves, Cougars are actually extremely hard on deer and elk herds and once the herds are wiped out in an area the predators will start killing live stock people’s pets and eventually people but the bleeding heart animal activists do not consider this a problem. Maybe if a Coyote, Wolf or Cougar kills one of their loved ones they might wise up !!

  6. Cayotes,Wolves,Desease and poaching. I’ll be 69 in April and have NEVER seen as much snow as we have gotten this year.You would have to see it to believe it! I will not live long enough to see this much snow again,Honestly probably not 1/2 this much! This winter will absolutely devestate all four legged animals in the northwest.
    Forrest: You and yours have a great new year I pray!

  7. Listen coyotes are killing our deer herd New York State biologist are scum bags like the governor of New York State they think and want you to believe that they know nothing farmers of New York see all kill all the coyotes

  8. We had no problem until man took over God plan for maintaining the population by bring in the predator and cutting down all the trees when they do logging . At least that what they did in the Erwin, NEW YORK. Just outside of Painted Post New York Lyle E Cook

  9. Even in Wisconsin, wolves are becoming a problem. We used to have a hunt to control the wolves until they were put back on the endangered species list by some bleeding heart activist judge. Now it’s much, much harder to bag a deer than it used to be. I’d rather a deer go to feed a hungry family than a stupid wolf or coyote.

  10. Up here in the Adirondacks where I live, Coyotes ARE a problem, BUT the WORST problem is the “problem” Black Bears that are brought in from OUT-OF-State (even though the DEC Denys it,) but I have witnessed it first hand. (bear traps going right down the road in front of my house) I had 4 “sets” of female bears with cubs in my yard and have game cam pictures to prove it. They associate humans with food and are NOT afraid.
    Friends I have in Pennsylvania have told me that their DEC trap the “problem”bears from picnic areas and dump them up here. They go after the fawns as they are born and the mother is helpless. Also the logging crews are devastating the forests up here. The way logging is done has changed..They “chip” up everything, leave no “tops” for the deer, do NOT “replant as in years past, and leave a wasteland all in the name of PROFIT.

    • New York State government is run by venal weasel Commies, Dead Wood Tokens and The Insane.
      Cut NYC and other Libtard/A A Untermenchen areas OUT, however it can be done.
      Or, SECEDE.

  11. Coyotes have just about eradicated our bobwhite/ quail, turkey and rabbit populations, also the deer population is hurt also here in south Louisiana! But the environmentalists want to blame the farmers and hunters!

  12. I don’t know about anywhere else……but, the Black Tail Deer in my rural area…are NOT suffering. In fact, on any given day….I can look out my windows (any of my windows) and see at least 20 deer. In some areas of the country…..thinning the coyotes is possibly the necessary option, but in my area our coyote population is down enough to not be any issue for the deer, or even our wild turkeys.

  13. Coyotes are the murderous rampaging Hood Rats of wild nature.
    Kill On Sight…regardless of what the whiney PETA Nudniks blabber about.
    There are Whitetail Deer in Worthington, OH, just North of Columbus; AND there are also Coyotes there that eat Little Fluffy and Mister Whiskers, along with fawns, rabbits, Pheasants (nest on the ground), other Gamebirds and anything else the Canid scumbags can get their teeth on.
    There are Coyotes on Martha’s Vineyard that run the deer there and savage pets and small game; but GAWDFAHBID that they can be blasted, because The Volvo/Land Rover Libtards there would be put off Lunch and be noisily sad, for all to see and hear.
    Wherever Coyotes are established you will see, if you take the trouble to notice, a dearth of small animals and birds.

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