New Study Shows Coyotes DO NOT Reduce Deer Populations

They may effect populations on a local level but across the country there is no correlation

A new study that is undoubtedly going to ruffle some feathers. The conventional wisdom suggests that deer populations have been reduced since coyotes colonized the east coast and the way to bring deer populations back is to shoot more coyotes.

According to the Wildlife Society, the conventional wisdom is wrong. The Study just released show zero correlation between the increase of coyote numbers across the east coast and overall deer populations.

Coyote with fawn

“I hear lots of people arguing about coyotes impacting deer populations,” said TWS member Roland Kays, a professor at North Carolina State University and head of the lab at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. “If you look broadly at the trends we see in deer populations, they’re generally going up. And coyotes have overall. It struck me that it seemed like people had this intuition, but if coyotes have such an impact on deer, why do we have so many deer?”

The study used deer harvest numbers from 1980 to 2017 in 384 counties in six eastern states. They compared them with coyote numbers extrapolated from trapping data. Along with other data relating to the environment, weather, and climate just to name a few.

Their research found that despite their growing numbers of coyotes, the researchers found no indication that they are bringing down deer numbers across the country.

“There have been studies that show coyotes can have an impact, but in terms of having an impact on a large scale across the entire continent, we didn’t find any evidence,” he said.

The study did concede that local deer populations can be and are impacted by coyotes. And that coyote removal may help in certain situation, but it would be ineffective in increasing the deer populations across large area.

We detected no signal for eastern coyotes causing a decline of white‐tailed deer over time, our results imply that coyote removal would have little effect on increasing deer numbers in this region. Although coyote control may influence local deer dynamics for short periods of time in some situations, we do not expect coyote removal would be able to increase deer population size at large spatial scales.

Another thing the study pointed to was that the local places deer number were affected the greatest were areas with sub-par fawning habitat.

Rates of coyote predation and the effects of kill rate on deer dynamics are likely to vary across the landscape. For example, deer fawn protection from predation is directly linked to landscape heterogeneity.

Habitat work helps deer more than shooting coyotes

This means if you really want to help deer and fawn recruitment in your local area concentrate on habitat work. Give the deer safe places to fawn and plenty of cover. This will do way more than shooting a few coyotes each year and saying your good.

In fact do both. Shoot the coyotes and improve the habitat. Just know where the main focus should be and what is environment going to be effective.