Effect of Coyotes on White-tailed Deer Fawn Recruitment


Project Overview

Coyotes, though present throughout the Southeast for many years now, have rapidly increased in numbers over the past 10 years and are now found in every county in Georgia. Their increased presence has both hunters and biologists wondering how these predators are affecting white-tailed deer populations.

Although several studies have investigated the impacts of coyote predation on deer, few have been done in the Southeast. Of those, none have been done in the piedmont physiographic region of any state. Because the effects of coyotes on fawn recruitment likely vary regionally, and even locally, and this predator is so relatively new to the region, it is imperative that we gain a better understanding of this interaction through research.

Research Objectives

We hope to accomplish the following objectives through this cooperative research project, which we hope will be of great benefit to biologists, managers, and hunters:

  • Estimate coyote abundance using a cutting-edge technique that involves genotyping their scats.  This allows us to assign a unique genetic “fingerprint” to each individual.
  • Estimate the proportion of fawns taken by coyotes each year by tracking deer populations over several years, before and after an intensive coyote removal on B.F. Grant and Cedar Creek WMA’s.
  • Determine all food items of importance to coyotes by analyzing the contents of collected coyote scats, year round.
  • Develop a management model that allows biologists, managers, and hunters to estimate the effect coyotes are having on local deer populations by inputting a variety of habitat and deer population variables.

Principle investigator: William Gulsby

DNR press release