© By Othmar Vohringer
A long-term study by the Carnivore Ecology Laboratory at Mississippi State University in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan revealed that coyotes killed more adult and fawn whitetail deer than wolves, bears, bobcats or any other predator. The study group uses radio collars on adult and fawn whitetails to track their movements, choice of habitat and causes of mortality. The scientists also use GPS collars to track top predators, such as coyotes, wolves, bears and bobcats.
The study revealed that, for the third straight year, coyotes are responsible for the killing of more adult and fawn deer than other predators. In one study the coyotes have preyed on seven adult deer, wolves on three deer, bear and bobcats on one each. In that same timeframe coyotes also killed 22 fawns, bobcats 12, bears and wolves each killed four fawns. Researchers also observed one fawn deer being killed by a bald eagle.
The study is still ongoing, but the trend that coyotes, besides humans, play a major role in deer kills is increasing.