Coyotes, Predator Management, Building Deer Habitat to Reduce Predator Impacts

Show Notes

In this episode, Jon Teater (Whitetail Landscapes) and Will Gulsby (Auburn University/ Wild Turkey Science Podcast) discuss coyotes, land management, coyote removal, fawn recruitment, and predator-proofing a property. Will discusses coyote ecology, and the purpose these animals serve on the landscape. Will describes the biology of predators and how coyotes serve to the betterment of our landscape and how we sometimes paint a bad picture of their role. Will explains the historical relevance of predators and the evolution of coyotes as it pertains to their specific role in the wildlife community.

Will explains small predators, competition of food sources and the niche role coyotes can play in developed areas that have overpopulation of deer numbers, where fawn recruitment is high. Will introduces social carrying capacity and balancing deer numbers, hunting, and focuses on what many misinterpret as myths to the significance of coyotes. Will discusses coyotes’ diet, and the evolution of change as wolves have left the landscape. Will explains the variation in diets seasonally, and the misinterpretation of coyote kills based on scavenging verse predation. Will discusses primary winter diets and the transition to summer diets, specifically plant material. Will discusses scat surveys that he does with coyotes and how to better understand diets throughout each year and what scat reveals about a coyote.

Will discusses game birds (i.e. turkey) and the mortality that may persist on the landscape because of various predators. Will explains how difficult it is to evaluate predator kills, scavenging and the impact of coyotes on turkeys and the related population. Will and Jon discuss foxes, racoons and other predators on the landscape and the ecological roles. Will explains indiscriminate killing, if killing coyotes in small- or large-scale matters and if reproduction increases and what other factors like resident or nomadic, type animals are relevant to decisions to manage coyotes. Will explains compensatory immigration and how removing coyotes may be filled by other coyotes, with the potential to increase population. Will provides the scale and size of movements of coyotes and some coyotes can travel far greater than many would think.

Will discusses more on predator control programs, and factors that are relevant to assessing the impact of trapping and killing of coyotes. Will explains ideal conditions in trapping coyotes and efficiency in scale and size on the landscape. Will details annual verse occasional trapping and hunting. Will introduces the concept that habitat management is also a predator management tactic, and habitat impacts predation rates.

Jon and Will discuss habitat management and the tactics surrounding design options and how to look at properties on a large scale.  Will discusses a relevant study that details forest types and age classes that is relevant to fawn survival. Will dives deeper into landscape design philosophies and options to ensure that better habitat can exist supporting our resident deer herd. Will and Jon discuss fear ecology and the impact on deer. Will explains how this has been studied and deer behavior as it relates to predators.

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