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Coyotes and Whitetails- management

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Coyotes and Whitetails- management

Postby Pilgrim » Mon Nov 09, 2009 12:27 pm

Coyotes and Whitetails- How/when is it determined that coyotes be managed by professionals?

Generally safe to state that modern day coyotes and whitetails co-occupy the same turf wherever there are whitetails in the lower 48.

What I’m hoping to learn from you guys (that are practiced at coyote management) is how or why whitetails seem to be able to sustain their numbers in some areas better than others when coyotes are present- What are the variables at play when deer populations can't keep up?

Here’s a personal observation:

There’s an area I spent many days per year hunting between early ‘80s and ‘95 or so. Bow and shotgun deer, pheasants, waterfowl. Location is general w.central Minnesota south of I94 nearest Red River Valley where ground is flat, mostly tillable corn & soybeans, some wheat, shallow cattail lakes & sloughs, isolated woodlots of 10 acres or less (no contiguous woods). At the time, CRP was at its peak so each section included at least 100+ acres of grass area. Days of 20+ deer from a stand (bow) was not unusual, mostly does with twins and triplets. Very unusual to see a single fawn. You could drive around 3 or four sections most October/Nov evenings and see at least 50 deer feeding along sloughs or woods. There were many fox, no coyotes noticed until 10 years ago.

I started bowhunting the same area again 3 years ago. There is not much CRP or native grass area, less fox, and probably a coyote den per section (i have no idea other than there in every section I visit). Most does are either without fawns or a single fawn, twin fawns is unusual. Seems as though deer hunting pressure is half of what it was 10 or 15 years ago, so I don’t think deer hunting pressure or technology have anything to do with less deer.

Of course there are many examples of other areas throughout the midwest that have high populations of coyotes, but the deer seem to carry their numbers.

Ultimately, the area I’ve described has much fewer deer since coyotes entered the mix. I think it’s safe to say the total deer population is 25% of what it was 15 years ago. The buck-to-doe relationship is very high.

I’ve thought about this for three years and the only thing I can make sense of is the deer fawns are particularly vulnerable when limited to small woodlots and sloughs when crops have not yet emerged- the fawns would seem easy to find and have no where to escape once they’ve been flushed from cover. If that's the case, are measures ever introduced to help the deer get back into balance? If so, how are those decisions determined?


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Re: Coyotes and Whitetails- management

Postby lyonch » Mon Nov 09, 2009 1:23 pm

I know a lot of you don't like it when people run coyote with dogs, and i for one dont care for it either, but on a very small scale an individuals whos land i trap use to have more deer than he knew what to do with and saw deer virtually every day of the year in his back yard. The coyotes out of nowhere started booming and within in a 3 year period he had a hard time finding a single deer track. This was mentioned to some individuals who are what we call houndsmen, and they came out there and shot 27 coyotes in one winter in a 4 mile by 2 mile section of land. The year after that he ran that area hard and shot one coyote. Now the deer are back and he sees them everyday. Pilgrim in your area i know exactly what you are talking about. I have witnessed it first hand when i was in college. i went out there for a muzzleloader deer hunt and we saw one set of tracks in a whole weekend of hunting :shock: It was all prime area and we saw way more coyote tracks than anything else. It seems as though minnesota does not have a coyote predation program to speak of. I know of a lot of people that get a government trapper to come get beaver and nuiscanse animals of all kinds, but never hear anything about coyotes. This is a good question and i would think this is something that your local Deer Hunters Association should take a look into as they are the ones who will have to get the ball rolling in the right direction.
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Re: Coyotes and Whitetails- management

Postby Tim Anderson » Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:53 pm

Deer populations go up and down from year to year and area to area... Dureing a year where alot of CRP is'nt enrolled back into the program you will see more deer than say a previous year cause the cover is'nt there. Gets to be easey pickens for the deer hunter and also you will see a decrease and an increase of hunters from year to year and area to area. Joe blow down the street has some of the primest deer ground but has no one to hunt with so he invites a few friends and they may also bring along a few more. They all filled out dureing the season and come the following year not many deer to be seen..Hmmm
I'm not saying coyotes don't feed on fawns but a study was done around the Rochester area on deer vrs. coyotes and the effects of a high coyote population. The coyotes that where collared and studied were not feeding on live deer but dead deer left over from hunting season or deer killed by vehicle collisions. Coyotes maybe part of the problem but i would say loss of habitat and over harvesting is the main reason for low deer numbers. Another thing to look at is dogs that are running loose at nite which can add to the problem..
As for a coyote mangement program i don't think it would work, you would have to get all the land owners to agree with it in order for it to be effective and they would also have to get some funding from some place..

Another thing to look at is the different hunting seasons we have and the length of the seasons.
I know here when they started the multi season tag and also muzzle loading season it put a hurt on the deer numbers here. The muzzle loading season is right in line with the deer when they start to herd up for the winter, if the land canbe accessed its going to be easey pickens again for two weeks...


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Re: Coyotes and Whitetails- management

Postby bucksnbears » Tue Nov 10, 2009 3:47 am

one of my best friends lives on the clay county refuge which is about 25-50 miles north of pilgrim's area.and has for 11-12 years.he's kinda a hermit that seldom goes outside other that in the shop or garage. the deer are very used to him and don't spook much when he's doing his daily stuff. now, when he moved there he would very seldom see or hear a coyote and when he did he'd call me and tell me. (big news). now they wake him up howling at night and the come through his yard quite often even during the day.as pilgrim said back than doe's with twins and tripps were common, now he has several resident doe's with 1 or none. about 5-6 years ago when coyotes srated showing up i told him to start killing them when he could or they would multipy. he didnt believe me and really didnt want to shoot any because he didnt want to shoot in his yard and scare the deer :? well now he's a believer in shooting them every chance he gets and usually takes several (5 last year) right from his decks. the area he lives in is brushy crp, willows, gravel pits . good deer habitiat but coyotes have reproduced big time in his area and the deer ## have taken a dip. however, our minn.d.n.r. is doing a horrible job at managing our deer herd also. the area pilgrim mentioned i think has more to do with miss-management of the deer herd than coyote #'s i think. the red river basin and east about 10 miles hold few coyotes from my observation
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Re: Coyotes and Whitetails- management

Postby DustyC » Tue Nov 10, 2009 3:50 am

In my uneducated opinion, I would have to disagree with with some of what Tim is saying. Everyone knows that deer populations fluctuate year by year with alot of factors to figure in. I think that coyotes are playing a larger role than what Tim is figuring on. How many people have calleed in a coyote that has been feeding on a road kill deer or a dead cow or some other form of carrion? Everyone knows that a coyote is an oppurtunistic feeder but I think he would rather have a hot meal than a cold stinky one. One example, we run our cows next door to some people that I feel that there management and animal husbandry skills are lacking. This last spring we had 2 cows get on there backs in an irrigation ditch and die in one night. We hauled the dead cows out of the way and went on calving. Those cows were never fed on until the neighbors that had been having alot of sickness in there cattle and kills do to that moved there cows out into a new pasture 6 miles from here. If there is a den every section than I think you should probably contact your trapper, he would be able to tell what was going on and probably help your deer population.
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Re: Coyotes and Whitetails- management

Postby Coyotehunter » Tue Nov 10, 2009 5:55 am

I am going to jump into this tonight...............got to go check traps.
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Re: Coyotes and Whitetails- management

Postby Dcoy » Tue Nov 10, 2009 8:08 am

Good post Pilgrim.I'm off to Illinois for a few days or I'd really weigh in.
Bottom line:In Mn you have the DNR that will NOT do anything thats unpopular and the political 'will' to control coyotes isn't there nor likely ever will be.(no real 'farmer/rancher' support cause yotes don't eat crops;too many 'cute,cuddly' type people,and on and on.)


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Re: Coyotes and Whitetails- management

Postby LeviM » Tue Nov 10, 2009 8:43 am

Dcoy wrote:Good post Pilgrim.I'm off to Illinois for a few days or I'd really weigh in.
Bottom line:In Mn you have the DNR that will NOT do anything thats unpopular and the political 'will' to control coyotes isn't there nor likely ever will be.(no real 'farmer/rancher' support cause yotes don't eat crops;too many 'cute,cuddly' type people,and on and on.)


Spot on!!!! I am sorry, if I offend anyone, but the law makers for the MN DNR is a joke. They are quick to blame eveything on coyotes, and yet dont want to do anything about it. They backed the trapping season back, and have such crazy laws that nobody wants to trap anymore. If your born, I blieve after 1987 you have take a trapping course, thats only offered in certain areas of the state, to obtain a trapping liscense. Dont get me started on the laws of snaring!
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Re: Coyotes and Whitetails- management

Postby Pilgrim » Tue Nov 10, 2009 9:53 am

Thanks to all. Looking forward to more.

Levi- Seems there's a lot of criticism of MN's deer management going on. Haven't been interested in years although this little odyssey may lead to more investigation.

I've read a bit on studies that appeal to Tim's point about coyotes not being as great a factor in terms of deer morality, and I do trust that applies in most of whitetail country where there are places for does and fawns to enjoy greater ranges, relocate and/or ultimately not be so predictable to predators. What I'm hoping to convey is that this area I'm describing is unique to much of Minnesota where the farmland is so prime and maxed out that there are no expanded parcels of cover (excluding Wildlife Management Areas)- just small woodlots/ sloughs/ ditches/ river edges that are more like bullseyes where coyotes could visit, birddog young deer to escape into plowing. It's obvious that Bucks, lyonch, Dcoy know the area. CH probably does too.

Tim's point about muzzleloader kills may be worth considering. Muzzleloader hunting had virtually no effect 15 years ago may be a factor considering greater technology and opportunities, but I'm more willing to doubt there's much of a dent made, mostly to do with the high private land ownership relationship and the general lack of fawns, other reasons...

You could add doe tags, youth hunts, more sophisticated and successful bowhunters... Can't be so as there's just no where near the volume of hunters there used to be, which was few to begin with.

I suppose advocating for professional management is less common and likely considering the land owners don't raise much livestock (Dcoy's point) and someone has to pay. As Lyonch commented, dealing with the matter is probably isolated to anyone interested in deer herds, and probably quite a commitment.

Last thing is I'm not an experienced coyote hunter- I'm willing to believe there may be more coyotes in these areas than people think. My family members who spend alot of time on machinery will tell you that they frequently see singles and multiples of unalerted coyotes from tractors and combines, but rarely noticed otherwise. Even so, there isn't much killing of coyotes going on either so those around are better equipped to kill and evade.

Please don't think that I thinkI possess any answers- I do trust many of you have a good handle on this sort of thing, which is why I brought it up. Looking forward to CH's response.


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Re: Coyotes and Whitetails- management

Postby lyonch » Tue Nov 10, 2009 11:54 am

MN is a gay state not matter how you look at it when it comes to managing any part of wildlife :evil:
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Re: Coyotes and Whitetails- management

Postby Tim Anderson » Tue Nov 10, 2009 6:03 pm

As far as the DNR goes there is always room for improvement but i think they are doing the best they can with what funding they have.. You know when the state runs short of cash or needs to make cuts the NDR is one of the first to be cut..
As for deer management it go three ways, one group wants a higher population so more can harvest a deer another group wants more throphy deer and the third group wants a reduction in deer numbers and that group is the insurance companies. At the moument the DNR is trying to cattor to the group thats wants more deer and more chances to harvest one..
If you would look in a hand-book you will see that the DNR is giveing out more tags for deer in certain areas. A resident could harvest up to five Deer with the proper tags.. Go to the DNR site and look up stats for the last 5 years on how many hunters the state has and how many deer are harvested. The number of deer taken from year to year is going up to record levels or just a little short..


How many people have calleed in a coyote that has been feeding on a road kill deer or a dead cow or some other form of carrion? Everyone knows that a coyote is an oppurtunistic feeder but I think he would rather have a hot meal than a cold stinky one



They will take what ever they can get and they can still be called in when there belly is full..

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Re: Coyotes and Whitetails- management

Postby Tim Anderson » Tue Nov 10, 2009 6:05 pm

P.S. Where is this area in Mn. that the coyotes are causeing so much trouble and two can you get me in the door so to speak..


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Re: Coyotes and Whitetails- management

Postby Tbush » Wed Nov 11, 2009 7:41 am

I don't have much time here. But here's what Iv'e read from you guys for multiple reasons the deer numbers are down HABITAT being a big factor but like you have all said coyotes, DNR,over harvesting,dogs, cars,bigger farming, chemicals, cold wet springs during fawning and the lack of fur prices and no trappers are all a piece of the issue, and higher pedator numbers both ground and in the air.. do the most reduction on deer ,pheasants,mice etc... soooo a good ped. managment program needs be addressed, and don't wait for the state to do it make a plan your self. Example: 13 years ago I moved here from MN no pheasants,deer # were ok with the neibors (sp) pushing all the land for deer and happy when they shot a 130 class deer, I trapped hard for 3 years, let pheasants go and started to manage the deer herd shooting does and only mature bucks, now we shoot 140in to 160in deer ,house about 200 pheasants, and I still keep the pred. numbers down all on about 1500 acres... My point is YOU can help your own area out by killing some pred. :D Oh ya and 4 years ago I had a lion on my land and would see on a few deer but once the lion was gone :wink: the deer came back
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Re: Coyotes and Whitetails- management

Postby bucksnbears » Wed Nov 11, 2009 4:34 pm

speaking of coyotes howling, i asume they do it towards or right after dark for a community-territory thing. when they start in at 2-3 a.m. does it mean the have a kill or what??? sometimes my friend has them sound off right in his back yard late at night and the deer seem teal spooky the next few days.he's only got about 30 yards visability in the back than its solid swamp-willows. and thats where he see's most of the coyotes in right inside the thick stuff.
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Re: Coyotes and Whitetails- management

Postby Tim Anderson » Wed Nov 11, 2009 5:21 pm

Another thing to look at is the takeing of doe"s. Come springtime the deer herds break up and each doe has its own little area where it will have it young and the doe will stay with-in 1 mile of this area till hunting season rolls around. As long as the doe is left alone and not driven from this area it will attract other deer that have been kicked out of there honey hole and also attract bucks to this area..You could call it a pre stageing area for them to gather in prior to herding up for the winter or a safe hideaway.. If the breeding doe is taken a year prior it may take some time for this one particular area to fill back in again, alot depends on the popalation of deer and cover and so on..


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