October 16, 2018
A recent study by two notable Georgia biologists, Charlie Killmaster and John Bowers, looked into the effect of drastic predator control and fawn recruitment.
They sought to learn if fawn survival fared better if coyote numbers were reduced.
Trappers removed coyotes at Cedar Creek and B.F. Grant WMAs in central Georgia and monitored the numbers of coyotes and fawn survival.
At B.F. Grant, coyote numbers were reduced 81 percent and 24 percent in subsequent years and fawn survival increased from 0.65 fawns/adult female to 1.01.
However, at Cedar Creek, fawn numbers did not change after coyote removal.
So what does this mean for the deer manager? The 2015 study made this assessment:
“Although some evidence suggests coyote control can improve recruitment, success appears to be site dependent. The differential coyote impacts and variable effectiveness of trapping we observed on nearby sites suggest coyote control may not achieve management objectives in some areas. Furthermore, transient behavior and the potential for coyotes to adapt to control efforts likely reduce efficacy of this management action.”
Coyotes are adaptable, resilient predators and reducing their population may or may not help; however, a dead coyote can’t eat any more fawns.