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Coyotes-Wolves-Cougars.blogspot.com

Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Saturday, December 14, 2013

While it seems that Southeastern State Game Commissions consistently reveal that their Coyote/Deer studies point to Coyotes as being a significant limiting factor on fawn survival and ultimate reductions in deer herds, northern states with larger Eastern Coyotes are not seeing the same deer reduction pattern emerge..............We saw earlier this week in a Post about the fact that Maine hunters scored a +25% kill rate from a year ago ..........Our friend Sue Morse who runs KEEPING TRACK up in Vermont states that Deer populations, like those of coyotes, are largely determined by available food and not just by the forces of predation...................." When there is an ample food supply, deer populations will remain healthy despite predation from coyotes."..................."“In habitat with deep snow and during long, cold winters, when temperatures routinely dip to 20° to 30°F below zero, deer are of necessity confined to deer winter range areas, and this can invite coyote predation................ “In winter, and near the end of winter and early spring, the deer that aren’t doing well aren’t going to make it anyway"........... "They’ll likely starve and then be eaten by a coyote"................ "And there’s no question that coyotes also successfully kill other deer on the winter range"..................So my question for our Southern friends is this----- in your states where by definition there is little snow in winter and where temperatures remain more moderate, it would seem that except in the light mast years(acorn and beech nut scarcity), Deer should come through the winter strong and healthy, able to birth twin fawns and in essence "swamp" the land with babies, allowing a very healthy % of them to escape the jaws of Coyotes after their first month on the planet-----Deer population perpetuated at a stable #!!!!!

How Are Coyotes Affecting Deer? | Northern Woodlands Magazine


How Are Coyotes Affecting Deer?

How Are Coyotes Affecting Deer? image
Illustration by Adelaide Tyrol
In recent years, the crepuscular wailing of coyotes has become as much a part of autumn in Vermont and New Hampshire as falling leaves and wood smoke. But coyote voices are not music to everyone’s ears. Deer hunters, in particular, often view coyotes as unwelcome competitors and associate their howling with a lost prize.
“Coyotes howl to communicate with each other, not to hunt,” says Susan Morse, founder and director of Keeping Track in Huntington, Vermont, who has spent many years studying them in the wild. “Calls are often between mothers and pups of the year. It’s ludicrous to think that the howls in the night are some sort of pre-kill call-to-arms. Predators know better than that. Secrecy and stealth are key.”
Depending on the season and food availability, coyotes eat a wide variety of foods, including rabbits, insects, squirrels, muskrats, songbirds, poultry, beavers, woodchucks, and deer. In wetter areas, coyotes will partake of frogs, turtles, snakes, lizards, and crayfish, with small rodents, including mice and meadow voles, always on the menu.
“Coyotes eat just about anything,” says Charles W. Johnson, Vermont’s retired state naturalist. “They’re like a big version of the fox.” In fact, when food is scarce, coyotes have been known to kill red foxes living within their home range in order to decrease the competition for food.
“Coyotes are opportunistic and omnivorous with a capital “O,” and their effect on deer can vary by place and season, and from year to year,” says Morse. “They eat a lot of berries in summer: cherries, viburnums, huckleberries, blueberries, and raspberries. The red dripping from a coyote’s mouth isn’t necessarily blood: just as often, it’s berry juice.”
Morse says, “Coyotes sometimes hunt alone, sometimes with a few together in family groups. In northern New England, coyotes have evolved social behaviors to help them hunt larger game.”
After the snow falls, coyotes spend long periods of time resting to save scarce energy reserves. When they do hunt, they conserve energy and avoid breaking new trails in deep snow. Coyote tracks often follow snow trails that have been established by deer or hares, even matching deer tracks print-for-print and traveling in single file.
Hares and rabbits are important coyote foods in winter, a time when coyotes may eat three times more carrion, in the form of deer, moose, and domestic animals, than in summer. Most of the time, coyotes catch individual or lone animals that are smaller, slower, and weaker than other members of their group.
“In habitat with deep snow and during long, cold winters, when temperatures routinely dip to 20° to 30°F below zero, deer are of necessity confined to deer winter range areas, and this can invite coyote predation,” Morse says. “In winter, and near the end of winter and early spring, the deer that aren’t doing well aren’t going to make it anyway. They’ll likely starve and then be eaten by a coyote. And there’s no question that coyotes also successfully kill other deer on the winter range.”
Deer populations, like those of coyotes, are largely determined by available food and not just by the forces of predation. When there is an ample food supply, deer populations will remain healthy despite predation from coyotes.
Jonathan G. Way of Boston College’s department of environmental studies, who has extensively researched coyote behavior in southern New England, has observed that, “Coyotes hunt the most vulnerable animals, which tend to be fawns and older deer. But something that makes a prime deer susceptible, such as a wound from a gunshot or collision with a car, can make that animal vulnerable as well. However, killing a large mammal like a deer is not an easy undertaking. Rather, it is dangerous, and, likely, some coyotes die from these attempts.”
According to Way, hunting coyotes can upset their population balance, and not in the way most hunters expect. “Coyotes live at low densities, probably in groups of 3 to 4 in well over 10 square miles in the North Country. Killing coyotes actually opens up a territory for others. We have evidence on Cape Cod that doing that can actually cause an increase in coyote numbers in a local area as an unguarded territory is claimed by more than one group.” Because coyote populations are food-limited, killing coyotes simply invites new coyotes to move in and take over the food supply.
Says Morse: “People are a menace to deer insofar as our thoughtless development patterns and irresponsible logging practices can remove and/or degrade deer habitat considerably. In so doing, we render deer more susceptible to predation by coyotes and, just as often, our own domestic dogs. It behooves us, therefore, to conserve adequate quality habitat for deer so that the impact of predation is more natural and balanced.”
Michael J. Caduto is an author and ecologist who lives in Chester, Vermont.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Okay, mate, here's a Southern U. S. coyote/deer perspective--there are frikkin' deer EVERYWHERE(and coyotes too) throughout the South in huge numbers!!! How in the world anyone could think coyotes were threatening deer numbers is ignorance off-the-charts of ignorance! I'm SURE some coyotes get some deer fawns, just as bobcats, foxes, black bears, dogs, farm machinery, and autos nail quite a few too! And unless you are blind, deaf, and very dumb, you will realize that deer numbers are higher than ever, to the point where many people consider them pests! Only a very greedy hunter(and probably a BAD, UNSKILLED hunter!) would be so stingy as to be unwilling to share the OVERabundance of deer with other predators! I think this is just typical overly civilized, modern hunter mentality(and I AM NOT dissing ALL hunters, here)--there is NEVER enough game of their choice around, in their eyes, if they don't see their favorite critters jumping from behind every tree! I've seen it with coon hunters and fox hunters, too--actually(illegally) importing and releasing coons or foxes in areas well populated already with these animals, so they can have "more" to hunt(or so they imagine). This kind of mentality, more and more common now, including the feeding of preferred game animals, is really more like RANCHING or FARMING than hunting, and these "hunters" develop the same, overly possessive attitude towards the game animals of their choice and ANY predator competition on them, similar to a rancher resenting predator inroads on their livestock. And I ain't saying there's anything WRONG with this perspective(it goes back to Native American views of the game in their territory as being "theirs" too, which that most destructive invasive predator of all--Europeans--DID extirpate many game species--AND their entire habitats!), except the unrealistic(and downright stingy, in my opinion) view that other, natural predators are somehow harming game animal populations--totally ignoring long term checks and balances(including disease epidemics) that are part of the natural system, and always will be, and that the picture is just a lot bigger than whether or not some unskilled individual hunter can get a trophy this year or not! Geez!.....L.B.

Rick Meril said...

L.B.,,,,,,,,as always, you come with the raw, unfettered truth.......In a baseball game, the analogy would be you "coming with a hard inside fastball".......Spot on you are with your commentary with this author in your camp!

Dave Messineo said...

I have heard coyotes howling in Yellowstone, Arizona, Florida, etc. as well as right here around my home in central New York.
Perhaps I can be enlightened by some one but I have never heard a coyote during the day or at dusk or dawn i.e. crepuscular. Coyotes in my experience only howl during the night, well after dusk and well before dawn.
Often during the night here in New York I awaken to what sounds like scores of howling coyote howling all around my house.. I would interested to hear if indeed the do howl at dusk or dawn in other area.

Rick Meril said...

Dave..........never thought of this before........will attempt to do some digging and get back to you about "howling, yipping and barking during daytime hours as it relates to Wolves, Coyotes and Foxes