Won't be long until the whitetail fawns start dropping, and to that end here's some new research. In South Carolina, researchers from Clemson University tracked the movements of 49 fawns and, separately, the movements of their mothers. Seventy percent of the fawns died before September, most of them eaten by coyotes. The 14 fawns that survived tended to have more aloof mothers who kept a greater distance from their fawns when apart, and who also visited the fawns mostly during daytime hours. The study found that does that visit their fawns at night, when coyotes are more much more active, dramatically increased their fawns’ chances of dying.
In a word yes. But unlike the coyote, the bobcat is not a major killer of whitetail deer. A 6-year research project conducted in Texas found that bobcat scat contains much more deer during the month of June—the major fawning period-- than any other time of the year. This and other studies have concluded that while bobcats across their range do indeed prey on fawn deer in the spring, they are not a major predator, and only rarely kill adult deer.But a big male cat is an opportunistic eater of even big deer! A few years ago, John from North Carolina sent me this story. John was hunting the last day of deer season. A mature doe with 2 button bucks [...]
When deer season closes here in Virginia, my friend Rick is not ready to hang up his camouflage just yet. “Hunting coyotes in the winter extends my time in woods,” he says. “I’m not the greatest caller, but coyotes are mating now, and some days they run to my calls. If I call in 3 or 4 dogs this month and shoot a couple, I’ll be happy.” Here’s a quick primer if you've never done it and want to try it. Do You Need a License? Many states consider Canis latrans a nuisance species, and no hunting license is required. In other places, you’ll need a general state hunting license for varmints. Read your regs and be legal. Where to [...]
Most every scientific study conducted over the past 30 years has documented predation, largely by coyotes, as the leading cause of whitetail fawn mortality. This time of year, on websites and social media, you see unsettling images of coyotes prancing by trail cameras with spotted fawns dangling out their jaws. Outdoor television has aired countless shows focused on killing coyotes to save deer. I once filmed an episode of Big Deer TV on predators, the theme of which was to thin coyotes on your land to save a few fawns and help your deer herd. We’ve been conditioned to hate on the coyote. But wait a sec… “Predation may have less of an impact than we think,” writes Justin Dion in [...]
Years ago out in Idaho, I shot this heavy old chocolate bear that piled into an alder tangle, rolled around, popped his teeth, and roared for three minutes that seemed like three hours. I looked back and saw my buddy and guide running for the hills! Another time on a stalk in Canada, I aimed and hit a giant boar that waddled across a hillside above me. Before I could scram he was coming straight at me, rolling and flipping down the slope like a VW bug going off a cliff. I recovered both those animals, and turned out the shots had been fine, smack in the boiler room where I aimed. I think about those knee-buckling events every spring [...]