Can managers compensate for coyote predation of white-tailed deer?

Journal of Wildlife Management
By: , and 

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Abstract

Many studies have documented that coyotes (Canis latrans) are the greatest source of natural mortality for white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) neonates (<3 months old). With the range expansion of coyotes eastward in North America, many stakeholders are concerned that coyote predation may be affecting deer populations adversely. We hypothesized that declines in neonate survival, perhaps caused by increasing coyote predation, could be offset by adjusting or eliminating antlerless harvest allocations. We used a stochastic, age-based population simulation model to evaluate combinations of low neonate survival rates, severe winters, and low adult deer survival rates to determine the effectiveness of reduced antlerless harvest at stabilizing deer populations. We found that even in regions with high winter mortality, reduced antlerless harvest rates could stabilize deer populations with recruitment and survival rates reported in the literature. When neonate survival rates were low (25%) and yearling and adult female survival rates were reduced by 10%, elimination of antlerless harvests failed to stabilize populations. Our results suggest increased deer mortality from coyotes can be addressed through reduced hunting harvest of adult female deer in most circumstances throughout eastern North America. However, specific knowledge of adult female survival rates is important for making management decisions in areas where both neonate and adult survival may be affected by predation and other mortality factors.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Can managers compensate for coyote predation of white-tailed deer?
Series title Journal of Wildlife Management
DOI 10.1002/jwmg.693
Volume 78
Issue 4
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Leetown
Description 9 p.
First page 571
Last page 579
Country United States