Let them go so they can grow would be a common statement mentioned by many hunters on and off the field but that really just focuses on the Bucks that you see in the woods. While we have seen more and more QDM (Quality Deer Management) there are many other ways to increase your deer herd. I have one focal point in this writing today and that is predator control.
Let’s face it, we have predators on all of our properties, farms, big woods, etc. I however can’t recall the last time I saw as many coyotes on properties as I have this past hunting season. In Illinois, I saw more coyotes in a week than I have seen in the past 4 years combined! You think that might play a role in destroying your deer herd? HECK YES!
A farmer that owns the property we were leasing told us to control the coyote population if we saw any. Unfortunately, with a bow, it was quite difficult to get them in close enough distance to take them down but there are many ways to control the population.
Coyotes tend to be alone when you see them running around in a field, scavenging for food. They are very similar to the jackal that you see in a national geographic show in Africa with them picking flesh off a lion kill and seeming like a pesky nuisance. Unfortunately for the deer and other animals, coyotes call one another and they can coexist in hunting as a group to take down a larger target. I have seen them down a large 5 1/2 year old buck by just nipping at his legs until he couldn’t walk. Before I knew it, he was down and getting eaten alive. Imagine what they do to fawns and smaller does.
Recently, I have noticed a lot less traffic on a close by property that I hunt. Typically I would see 10-15 different deer on camera over a 3 week time period. In the last 3 months, this has not been the case but the one trend that has occurred have been the pictures of coyotes popping up.
Now, this can mean one of two things. Either the deer are getting killed and I am seeing less of them or the coyotes are scaring the deer away and they are moving to different properties. Now, I believe that both are an issue but the clear proof is in the pictures.
Since the rut has come and gone, there is a big issue at hand that happens everywhere. The deer that are getting killed could be a fawn, doe or buck. I hate to see any of them go down but in a herd where I see a 1:1 ratio of doe to buck, there is a great chance that the animals getting killed are does and they could have fetus’ that are growing. For every deer killed, 2 in the herd are actually disappearing. And let me tell you, the coyotes don’t keep coming back to an area that doesn’t have food…
In order to increase the deer herd now has to be a pure play on managing the predators in the next few months in order to protect the doe and fawn population. A major way that this can be accomplished is through trapping.
Here are a few points that are great about trapping.
- It’s stealthy.
- It’s exciting. Nothing more enjoyable than walking up to a trap and wondering what is there!
- You will become a better hunter by trapping more animals. Being able to know where an animal will go within a few feet is amazing compared to shooting one from 20-1000 yards away.
- You can preserve the pelt and make extra income from the furbearer captured.
The hopes of catching these coyotes to help manage the predators in the area is exciting to say the least far more than one reason but the major one for any hunter is to help keep the deer population live and well. Knowing my neighborhood well, it is very easy to say that nobody is managing the predators and they are taking control. I will help take it back.
Scout, Hunt, Repeat.