March 20, 2018

Controlling Coyotes Saves Deer

Controlling politicians may save more deer than killing coyotes.

From Outdoors in Maine:

“We can whine and moan that the state needs to do this and that, but it may never happen soon enough due to political reasons,” he said. “We as sportsmen need to keep taking it upon ourselves to do everything we can. Why? We are the effective ones! Keep up the great work.”


Poliquin supports, Pingree opposes bill to allow killing of denning wolves and bears in Alaska refuges

*Editor’s Note* – I find it interesting the name of this joint resolution is called “Killing Baby Animals in Alaska Act.” Also, the information provided in the article that I have linked to is incorrect – or should I say it is untruthful. If Congress can cede authority to manage animals on wildlife refuges to the states, they can just as easily take it away. Making laws to take freedom and rights from everyone is what they do best. The idea of lifting this ban is to not take away needed tools to manage and control these large predators. Those with knowledge understand that you don’t “manage” large predators. They have to be controlled at all times and should never receive blanket protection.

“The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a joint resolution (H.J. res 69 aka the Killing Baby Animals in Alaska Act) that would allow the killing of wolf pups and bear cubs, and their mothers, in their dens on National Wildlife Refuge lands in Alaska. The vote was 225 to 193.”<<<Read More>>>


Biggest Coyote/Deer Study Ongoing

*Editor’s Note* – In the teaser I placed just below, the author of the article about the relationship between coyotes in the East and deer, says, “Shooting the occasional coyote really makes no difference in what happens to the deer herd.” In the context of the article the “occasional” coyote is described as a “transient” coyote, i.e. one looking to establish a new territory. I have to somewhat disagree with this statement. I understand the dynamics of “resident” coyotes versus “transient” coyotes, but to state that shooting a transient coyote makes no difference in what happens to the deer herd is not completely an accurate or honest statement. It would make sense if all that was being targeted were transient coyotes, but such is not the case. While targeting the resident crop of coyotes is probably more effective at protecting a local deer herd, stopping a transient from continuing its search for another territory to take over certainly has its benefits. Perhaps not a direct effect but nonetheless it could slow down or stop the progression of more coyotes in more places.

Regardless, all this reminds me of what Dr. Val Geist, in 1994, told the annual Southeast Deer Study Group meeting in Charlottesville, Virginia, as they were facing perceived problems of what to do about too many deer. Geist told them, “Enjoy your problem while it lasts, because the coyote is coming. Once he’s here, you’ll miss your deer problems.”

“Resident coyotes, Chamberlain observed, have relatively small home ranges of 2 to 25 miles. Transients, on the other hand, may roam 150 miles, presumably looking for a home range to open up. Once a resident coyote dies, a transient will settle in and claim the territory within a matter of weeks. This helps explain why trapping efforts weren’t working. “For every 10 coyotes you remove, three were just passing through,” Chamberlain says. “And if you’re removing transients, you’re not really having any effect.” Shooting the occasional coyote really makes no difference in what happens to the deer herd.”<<<Read More>>>


As Part of a 3-Year Study, Colorado will kill bears and lions to see if it will boost deer herds

*Editor’s Note* – I changed the headline for this story to one that is quite a bit more honest as it pertains to what is actually going on in Colorado. Reading the article that is in the link, will give you understanding as to what I mean.

“We remain well below where we would like to be in terms of overall mule deer numbers,” said Northwest Regional Manager Ron Velarde. “There is no one reason and no silver bullet solution to this problem, but many in the public identified predator management as one factor that could yield positive results, and we agree.”<<<Read More>>>


Rational Predator Control for Sensible Wildlife Management

Steve Alder, executive director of Idaho for Wildlife, was quoted in the Lewiston Tribune:

Steve Alder of Lewiston, executive director of Idaho For Wildlife, said elk have no other relief from wolves in remote areas such as the Lolo zone. He contends wolves in areas closer to rural populations are exposed to higher hunting pressure and are also killed when they prey on livestock.

“Anywhere in the state we have backcountry areas, the elk numbers have plummeted,” he said. “We can have a lot of nothing, or we can do control measures to have a few elk and a few wolves.”


Hunter gives high praise to West Forks hunting lodge

I am an 80-year-old deer hunter, and I remember when there were deer in Maine, especially up north, like these 200 pounds and up. I have many 200-plus patches and two beauties, 8-point and 10-point, on my wall. Then came the coyote problem, which was never addressed or recognized by the fish and game department. Before 1985, we did not see a coyote track any where up north. Then they appeared, and the deer disappeared.

Source: Hunter gives high praise to West Forks hunting lodge – Central Maine



Bill Hoppe: Eye of the Hunter (Video)


Maine’s Deer Harvest Data Missing, Something Going on With Moose?

The last of the Maine deer hunting for 2013 ended on December 13, 2013. It is now March 11, 2014 and not one breath of information coming out of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) about harvest data. And as is always the case, the longer we wait the more reason we have to believe there must be something to hide. I mean seriously, how long can it take? Or am I the only one who cares enough about factual information to make my own assessments as to what is and what is not going on with the state’s deer and deer management (or lack thereof)? After all, there was all this pre-season hype about a restored and surging deer herd with projected increases in deer harvest expected.

Maine counts about 20,000 deer of late, most all of that information being collected from tagging stations spread out across the state. I hate to make this comparison but New Jersey counted just shy of 50,000 tagged deer in their harvest and the last of their deer hunting, winter bow, didn’t end until January 31, 2014.

Not to pick just on the deer harvest, where’s Maine’s bear harvest data? Gee, the newspapers are always full of bear stories, of the great work the bear biologists are doing studying bears etc. but no bear harvest data.

So what’s new with whitetail deer management in Maine? Nothing, I guess, unless it’s a really well kept secret. Hoping for some more serious global warming I guess. And where’s that increased communication we were promised in Maine’s Plan for Deer?

There is some good news about deer management coming from Downeast Maine. Sorry, but this management has nothing to do with MDIFW. Downeast, they kill coyotes, they kill bears, they kill bobcats, that kill deer. Oh, don’t worry. They aren’t going to kill all the coyotes, bears and bobcats. They just MANAGE them. Instead they are going to prevent the extirpation of whitetail deer.

Unofficial reports I have just received show deer harvest numbers are great. Coyote tracks and other signs are at minimum levels compared with previous years and with a spring bear hunt on Indian Reservation lands, over 50 bears were taken last year.

And by the way, with a continued abundance of snowshoe hare, the Canada lynx, supposedly in danger of extirpation, is thriving Downeast.

But there is something going on with moose Downeast. One observer says he doesn’t believe it to be winter ticks, as the usual signs of tick infestation aren’t showing up.

I also have an unconfirmed report that 4 of the 40 moose officials collared, as part of their moose study, have already died. I believe those 4 dead moose were yearlings. No cause given yet but it is being reported that when those 4 moose were collared, officials knew they were sick then. But what were they sick with?

Maine has already determined how many moose permits they will issue for the 2014 hunt by lottery. Was this decision made knowing that there may be disease running its course? Should MDIFW reconsider moose permit allotments. If only there was better communication. I think sportsmen and others would be more concerned if they actually knew what was going on. Or maybe that’s the plan.


Wolf Management and Hunter Manipulation_ The Cause of the Destruction of Our Herds.

The following video clip is from a work in production by Rockholm Media, “Ghosts of the Rockies.” Whether intended by the author or not, what I find inexplicable is the contrasting care and attention being given to a nasty, disease ridden, useless wild dog, and that of the elk, what’s left of them, left to rot and be destroyed. The elk is a useful creature for many things including a food source to thousands of people and human beings. With mixed-up priorities, valuable money and resources are being spent to protect a useless creature, where life existed just fine for many, many years without it, allowing for the destruction of the elk, deer and moose.

Talk about screwed up in the head.


80% of Fawn Deaths Attributed to Coyotes

coyotestakedownbuckBack in 1994, Dr. Valerius Geist, professor emeritus, University of Calgary, spoke to the Southeast Deer Study Group who were lamenting what to do about their whitetail deer management problems. What was their “problem?” Too many deer. In response, Dr. Geist was quoted as saying:

Enjoy your problem while it lasts, because the coyote is coming. Once he’s here, you’ll miss your deer problems.

Apparently Dr. Geist’s crystal ball was accurate. The coyotes, of the so-called “Eastern” variety are well established in the eastern portion of the United States, on up into the Northeast, where those coyotes have been determined to be a hybrid of coyote, wolf and domestic dog. In addition, nearly 20 years later, it appears the problem of too many deer in some southeast locations has evolved into a problem of asking, where are the deer going?

Be it also known that the western coyote and eastern coyote are not the same and therefore to transfer deer and coyote management problems from one region to the other is a lesson in fool’s folly.

There’s an article in the Grandview Outdoors on how coyotes affect whitetail deer. In this article, the author makes reference to a six-year study that took place in the Southeast pertaining to interactions between coyotes and whitetail deer. I have written in the past about this study and other more recent studies on coyote/deer behavior and interaction. Please find some of those articles here, here, here, here, here.

Pertaining to one study the author in reference says:

If the collar stopped moving for a set period of time, indicating the fawn had died, researchers went to the site and determined the cause of mortality.

The results were astounding. Researchers involved in the study, which took place on the grounds of the Savannah River nuclear facility site, knew coyotes ate deer fawns. They had no idea they ate so many. As it turned out, 80 percent of the fawns that died from all causes were killed by coyotes.

Most of us understand that large predators, i.e. coyotes, wolves, bears, lions, etc. kill whitetail deer. Some think this only happens to the fawns but study after study, along with photo documentation, has shown that coyotes, for example, take down full grown adult deer and similarly sized livestock. What must be remembered is that what is good deer and predator management in South Carolina, may not work so well in Maine or any other state.

There’s another issue that comes up in this article that disturbs me. In extolling the virtuous benefits of the results of this study to determine how coyotes affect whitetail deer herds, the author spends a good amount of time telling of how researchers had to kill off virtually all of the coyotes within the study area in order to make a determination of how the deer herd reacted without coyotes. It was a difficult task but it was undertaken and, I assume, was successful, otherwise the study would not have produced reliable results.

With all the fuss and rigamarole about killing off all the coyotes for the study, the author then makes this statement:

In other words, the random shooting of the occasional coyote will likely have no noticeable effect on fawn recruitment rates. That’s not to say shooting every coyote you see won’t help at all, but South Carolina deer hunters shoot about 30,000 coyotes each year. Still, the state’s deer population has declined by about 30 percent since 2002.

However, toward the end of the article, we learn the real feelings about predators, or at least coyotes, from the project leader of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Charles Ruth:

Adams agrees with Ruth that killing the occasional coyote will have little effect on deer populations. Removing a few predators from the landscape only creates a void that others from surrounding areas will fill. Numerous studies have found that at least 75 percent of coyotes must be removed from an area in order to have an impact on fawn survival. No hunter or hunt club can achieve that rate through recreational hunting alone.

“Focus on the things you can have an impact on, like habitat and reducing the harvest of antlerless deer,” says Adams. “Coyotes are here to stay, and the sooner hunters realize that we can’t shoot or trap our way out of them, the quicker we can focus on things that we can do that will make a difference.”

Spoken as a true, modern day predator lover and destroyer of hunting opportunities.

Prior to this profound statement, the author talks at length about everything a hunter can do in his hunting area to improve the deer herd – anything from counting deer, determining fawn/doe ratios, and hacking up the forest to create better cover so coyotes can’t find a fawn hidden in the brush. I wonder if these people understand the sense of smell a coyote, bear, wolf, etc has, in that they can smell a newborn fawn from great distances away? Having thick undergrowth may help with escape but how many hunters can actually manipulate the forests where they hunt in the fashion suggested.

But all of this isn’t the worst of it. The suggestion from the officials is to don’t bother with attempting any kind of predator management and that hunters need to learn to live with predators by giving up more and more hunting opportunity.

On the surface this may sound like good advice if you live in a state where multiple deer can be harvested. Reducing the number of antlerless deer permits to increase the number of fawns to ultimately boost fawn recruitment, in most cases, has proven to be a viable tool. However, are hunters supposed to settle for less opportunity and give up on predator management?

The author states that South Carolina’s deer population has shrunk 30%. This kind of attitude of making hunters to continue giving up more and more opportunities to harvest deer, is THE trend nationwide. Reality is, this approach isn’t working – at least as it may pertain to protecting the investment that hunters have and continue to make over the years.

So, what good are any of these suggestions in states, like Maine, where the deer herd is struggling, hunters are allowed one deer, antlered only, unless by permit and in some cases of archery hunting? Maine hunters have been giving up deer hunting harvest opportunity for years and in some of those years, permits for antlerless deer have all but been eliminated statewide. And yet, predation from coyotes, bears, bobcat, lynx and others, is taking it’s toll on the deer herd.

Perhaps when Dr. Val Geist was looking into his crystal ball nearly 20 years ago, he should have told these guys that when the deer herd begins to drop because of an overgrown population of coyotes, reducing opportunities, while thinking there is nothing that can be done about predator control, is a pretty good recipe for a failed deer management plan. There must be predator control as part of any game management plan.

Absolutely hunters need to understand that they compete with predators for the valued venison but they should not allow fish and game, so-called experts, to dictate that there is nothing that can be done about predators, and that hunters should just be prepared to give up their chances to harvest game.

The last thing hunters should be doing, and the last thing fellow hunters should be suggesting, is giving up hunting opportunities.