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Coyotes and deer fawns

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I have been hearing this fall that lots of areas have few fawns and that coyotes are eating them in the spring.

One guy I talked to said his neighbor dug up a yote den and found 23 fawn skulls in it.

What do you folks see this way?

Is it a real problem state wide?


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There is no doubt in my mind that a yote would take a fawn if he had the chance. But I think they have more success with rodents and small birds. They would have to go through a mature doe to get to a fawn, and I would put my money on the doe.


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I just found a coyote kill behind my home in the North Metro. They took a forkhorn. We used to have close to two dozen deer in that area and never heard coyotes. In the last year, we hear them at night several times per week and we see about 10% of the deer we used to. Based upon that, I think they can take adult deer and do it in packs. Again, we often hear them just go crazy in the middle of the night. If you've ever shot one, you know they are thicker, heavier, and stronger than they look.

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Coyotes eat anything they can catch. That means deer, as often as they can get them. There's no doubt coyotes can kill full-grown deer if they hunt in groups, but it doesn't seem to happen that often. Coyotes, especially in semi-urban areas, will hit garbage cans, dumps and any place that has food. They generally stick with smaller prey than deer.

I'd have to see that number of fawn skulls in one den to believe it. You have to know what you're doing to tell the difference between the skull of a fawn and of a yearling. And if the coyotes have used the den more than one year, those skulls could have been built up over more time than it appears.

That number of fawn skulls in a den also may not mean coyotes killed them all. They're great scavengers, and likely will drag parts of deer carcasses dead for other reasons back to the den if possible.

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Coyotes are what they are fellas....lets not demonize them beyond that.Little doubt they would take an abandoned or injured fawn or an animal hit by a truck.Baby ducks, little squirrels, baby birds-you bet. Raspberries,acorns, walnuts-yoiu bet. They eat what they gotta eat.

They are predators.When they start going after the same prey WE want then they get into trouble with the biggest, baddest predator of all: MAN!

Shoot them if you must but don't turn them into devils with skull collections in thier living rooms.

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Not that finding deer skulls in a coyote den isn't possible, but I find this a little suspect. I have heard this story in so many different variations in so many areas (Pipestone, Alexandria, Ely, Winona) that if it were true, you would most definitely see something with more credibility or physical proof i.e. Outdoor News or other media outlets or even a report from the DNR on their findings.

I'm not calling anyone here a liar. As I mentioned earlier, it is possible.

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Did they say how old the skulls dated? I can see this happening during a big winter kill year like 1997, but most healthy fawns are with a doe and I've seen many a doe fend off a coyote or two.....seems a little far fetched to me.

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The post relating to demonizing coyotes...No. that is not the point at all.

It's just a process of enlightenment relative to just what is going on. No more, but no less.

I think it is possible it is a larger problem than suspected.

Too many stories, albeit stories, but stories have a level of credibility, especially when I hear the same story again and again.

You want proof?

Sorry, not possible right now.

Maybe if there was a sense of agreement that it is worth a look, we can convince the powers that be to look at it...?

I have no doubt that 23 fawn skulls in a den could be a product of a decade of use.

I can't argue against how well a doe will fight to protect their fawns.

But how often will a pack of coyotes get a fawn?

What if the outdoor news did a survey on mn. sportsmen (and gals) what they have seen/heard?

If yotes are not that big of a deal, then we know there is a reason for few or no young deer in an area.

Weather, food supplies, etc. are also factors that can be included as stressors along with anything else that should be included.

But don't just dismiss it as far fetched and blow it off.


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I think more studies need to be done to verify the impacts of coyotes v. deer. If they are indeed killing off that many fawns, imagine what deer populations could be in areas the need it.

In the area that I deer hunt we find numerous dens and we're well aware of the increase in the coyote population. One side effect that we also noticed is the lack of turkeys. We would seeon average, 50-75 turkeys during deer season. This year I didn't see one turkey. But this could also be due to the increase in the barred owl population or disease.

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This was the first year that we didnt see any turkeys on our private land in wisconsin, and it was also the first year that we saw and heard numerous coyotes, so I think that they definetly chase away the turkeys. We did, however see as many if not more deer than normal so I dont think they had any impact on the deer in our area.

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One of the biological reasons for the rut/lots of does coming in heat at the same time is so that lots of fawns are born at the same time in the spring, the predators are overwhelmed with young fawns, they'll eat a few but by the time they finish them up, the remaining fawns are big enough to escape. Theres a biological term for this but I can't remember what it is.

I've lived north of Willmar now for 10 years, theres been coyotes here the whole time, and I've also seen lots of deer. I don't think coyotes affect the population that much, they eat more mice and rabbits and carrion. But where they do present a problem is leaving archery wounded deer overnight, I've had them find it first and eat the choice parts frown.gif

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Take it for what it's worth but most of the coyote scat I have found over the years have deer hair in it.

The problem I see with Coyotes and western MN is that because we are an agricultural based area most of the ground is tilled. And, because of this we maybe have 80% tilled and 20% ground cover for the fawns to be born in. So, I figure when a coyote is feeding the heaviest (during the gestation and lactation)a coyote hunts hard. My thinking is that it is not hard for a coyote to come up with as many fawns as needed when there such limited cover to hunt in. This makes a fawn easy pickins for a coyote.

Nowadays, I see a lot of dry does or does with one fawn. Back in the days that we had fox and very few coyotes we mostly had does with two fawns so, I have to believe there has been an adverse affect on our deer herd. We have not had any bad winters for the does to abort their fawns so I have believe the fawns are being born and then taken by predators.

When you are talking about an animal with the strength that a coyote has how can you not think they are not killing fawns.

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Nowadays, I see a lot of dry does or does with one fawn. Back in the days that we had fox and very few coyotes we mostly had does with two fawns so, I have to believe there has been an adverse affect on our deer herd. We have not had any bad winters for the does to abort their fawns so I have believe the fawns are being born and then taken by predators.

DING DING DING... We have a winner!!

Coyotes seldom hunt alone. They generally stay paired up and often hunt with their pups from a previous year. A pair or a trio of coyotes will frequently go after a doe and pair of fawns. The doe is extremely effective at protecting a single fawn. When there's more than one coyote she can't protect both fawns and the coyotes will generally get one fawn killed, leave and wait for the doe to lead the other fawn away and then return to eat the dead one.

If anyone thinks coyotes are not a major predator of deer in this manner, all they have to do is wait for late spring next year when the does start bringing their fawns out in the evenings to feed and see how many twin fawns there are. You'll be surprised at how few you see.

A healthy adult doe coming off of a mild winter like this SHOULD have twins.

And, don't even get me started on Turkeys. Sure they won't get them all but in the spring when the hens are on the nests, it's like thanksgiving all over again to the coyotes.


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