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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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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The subject of Coyotes being limiting agents on White Tailed Deer has been thoroughly debated over the past few years with most northern states acknowledging that Coyotes do kill Fawns in the Spring when they come across them..............Also true, is that Coyotes do not fulfill the niche of the extirpated Wolf(in the East) as it relates to preying on adult deer to any great extent..............No question that Coyotes scavenge dead adult deer(especially in Winter) ...............Bottom line is that even the Eastern Coyotes that can go 30 to 60 pounds in size are not ever going to bring deer populations into equilibrium with the historical ecological restoration needs of the woodlands(Only Wolves and Pumas are going to be able to accomplish this),,,,,,,,,,,,,Once again, if we can revise how we fund state game agencies and not have them rely on hunter tags(and federal funds--something that state agencies do not really want to talk about much), then biologists could focus on ecosystem management rather than hunter satisfaction-------Click on the link below to read about the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry Study from 2008-09 that focused specifically on the dietary habits of Eastern Coyotes in central NY State

click on this link the 2008-09 SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Report on Coyote Predation(or not) of Deer

Coyotes will kill fawns but are not large enough to be reliable hunters of adult deer


Anonymous said...

Dang, man, I'm having a hard time keeping up with all your posts! But I really enjoy reading them all! I'd comment on more if I had time.....I DID want to comment on this one, to add another perspective that is probably rather unique, regarding coyotes' abilities to take down full grown deer. Though I agree that generally in wild circumstances, full grown whitetails in the East are not normally(so far) taken down by coyotes, one REALLY must not generalize! Incredibly adaptable coyotes(and Eastern coywolves!) have a way of making any generalization about them erroneous! And different ones in different areas may show very different behaviours! I saw an amazing example of coyote hunting/learning adaption, when I worked many years ago at a "Deer Farm" in Tennessee, where I don't think local wild coyotes' DNA has been tested for wolf genetic influence(although the Red Wolf release at that time was not far away in the Great Smoky Mountains Natl. Park, and these animals very well could have had a bit of "red wolf" in their ancestry). Anyway, in a large pastured compound, various ages and sexes of European FALLOW DEER were kept(somewhat larger and more formidable than the native whitetails). Of course they were in fenced enclosures and could not completely escape, although these enclosures were many acres in size. The local coyotes began taking fawns at first--virtually wiped them out! Then they started on smaller does, and in time worked their way up to full grown, antlered bucks, but they ALWAYS targeted deer that were wounded or ailing in some way(common, alas, at this facility in those days--especially when the bucks in rut were fighting), and once they killed one, they ate on it until it was completely consumed(usually about a week with an adult deer carcass). I monitored all this as an employee on the place, but had no antipathy towards the coyotes, who were eating somewhat neglected, excess deer that would've been sold as targets for "canned hunts" eventually anyway--I'd rather the coyotes got them than that! With that attitude, I didn't last overly long at this place as an employee, I might add! Anyway, it was a FASCINATING episode watching the coyotes' hunting ability evolve, from fawns to bucks! So, I would not personally be surprised, if in time, some of these coywolves, especially, readapt to becoming effective deer predators, which we NEED, of course!....L.B.

Rick Meril said...

interesting story L.B.............but as you say, an enclosed "coliseum" atmosphere where there was no where to hide, no where to run for the deer........Get those wolves back with Pumas.............those are the deer hunters we need.........and let the coyotes have their share of the fawns they find(as well with the black bears)--the woods will sing our praises

Anonymous said...

....Oh, aye, man, I'm ALL FOR Wolves and Cougars returning throughout the East! If it was up to me, I'd do the "Ghost Dance" and roll up the entire whiteman world and have the pre-European invasion influence replaced by the good, old ways! Ahem! But, of course, folks like us are considered NUTS to most people(alas). Even if cougars DO repopulate some areas(and I'm confidant they WILL, at least the Appalachian chain, and some of the larger swamp areas), their influence will be limited to certain areas, and not terribly widespread(in my theorizing--I hope the pumas prove me wrong!) And gray wolves will have a super hard time getting established, I fear, anywhere very populous in the East. Whereas coyotes(and coywolves, it seems) appear to be THE PERFECT predator for living in even densely human populated areas, despite the (misguided? ignorant? stooooopid?) severe human persecution they must endure. So I got my fingers crossed that the "new red wolves"(coywolves) WILL eventually adapt and fill this niche. The old bloodline of Red Wolves(so much like the new coywolves) most definitely ARE capable of taking down fully grown deer(although no doubt they are selecting ones that are old and sick or wounded, as any natural predators tend to do). But I am a dreamer......An interesting sidenote regarding predation on that Deer Farm--I encouraged the owners to get some LIVESTOCK PROTECTION dogs--and suggested MY personal favorites of that genera--Anatolian Shepherds. They DID, and in the main part of the park where the dogs had access(they did not have access to the back pastures where the "excess" fallow deer were being picked off by the local coyote pack), they had ZERO losses from predation afterwards!....L.B.