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Tndeerhunter's picture
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Coyotes & Deer Predation

Some say that coyotes are no threat to any deer other than a newborn fawn. I'm not of that opinion. This is a very compelling set of pictures, IMHO.


Incredible Whitetail Deer Pictures: Coyotes Kill Buck | Deer & Deer Hunting | Whitetail Deer Advice and Instruction

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Those that think that coyotes

Those that think that coyotes don't have impacts on deer populations specifically and game populations in general either have never ventured out into a natural environment other than the local city park or actually believe that lions and lambs can really live in harmony together.  The idea that predators only kill the sick, injured and old is equally fanciful.

groovy mike's picture
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Pictures tell a story for sure.  That is a sad end to a magnificent buck.  Lets hope PETA is proud.  Pretty smart of teh deer to stay near the flashing light to try to keep those coyotes at bay.  It might have bought him a little time.  That is an amazing set of photograohs.  Thank you for linking them to us here.

There is one more coyote down at my place today thanks to a friend of mine.  I don't know about deer and coyoye population interaction from first hand experience, but I can tell you that they eat turkeys!  I can tell you that would much rather have the deer and turkeys on my land than the coyotes!

hunter25's picture
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An amazing set of pictures

An amazing set of pictures but no sirprise at all. The only surprise is that the buck stayed right in front of the camera for the entire duration of the attack and his death. I have seen similar after pictures of a big healthy buck killed by wolves before also. Whwn I was a kid a pack of coyotes even killed a dairy cow on the farm I worked on. They actually bit her tongue off and she slowly bled out from the injury. I didn't even see a coyote in Colorado this year or hear any  on our way in. Usually we see and hear a lot of them so maybe our population is down a little.

Ca_Vermonster's picture
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Call me a negative nancy, but

Call me a negative nancy, but I still don't entirely believe it.  Sorry to say, but I am a believer in that a healthy adult deer, in this time of year with no snow or other equalizing factors, will not succomb to a coyote, or pack of coyotes.  There has to be more to the story. 

Look the that deer's hind quarters.  Obviously there is fresh blood from one or 2 of ther critters getting ahold of it prior to coming into camera range, however, what's the black stuff?  Look around the tail, inside the legs.  That's days old injury, sickness, something.  The rack on that deer shows it's been really healthy in general, but I think something happened to that guy within a week of those photos that made it weakened.

Not trying to argue with you guys, but I have seen manty coyotes trying to get to a deer from a distance, and it never, never happens.  They pick on the young or sick.  A healthy adult deer leaves them in their tailights in 99.9% of the cases.  Wolves are one thing, coyotes are a whole different animal.  These photos are way, way more of the exception than the rule.  Can it happen?  Sure.  Does it very often?  Not likely.  I still put my money on this guy being injured. 

Critter's picture
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I was also wondering why a

I was also wondering why a deer such as the one in the photos would just stand around in one place and let a predator attack it, and all this while a flash is going off from a camera.  I first thought that it may of been a infra red flash but it isn't.  Also from what I have seen in the wilds a coyote will hamstring a deer to bring it down, and while you get the impression that they may be two coyotes at times all you ever see is just the one. 

I'm not saying that it isn't possible but I have my doubts on this one.  I think that there was something else wrong with this deer in the beginning.   

COMeatHunter's picture
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I'd have to agree with

I'd have to agree with Vermonster on this.  The time of year that these pics are taken must be August or so and it's hard for me to believe this is common.  Part of the story off camera is missing here.  One good smack with a front or rear hoof and the coyote is in a world of hurt.  A healthy deer, buck or doe, could easily face down a coyote.  I'm sure coyotes take a full size deer that isn't sick or old or otherwise injured occassionally, but not regularly.  The young deer, or the weakened deer in the middle of winter, those are surely a much more likely target for coyotes.

These were some pretty incredible pictures though.  Kind of gruesome for sure.  Nature isn't a kind mistress.  A quick and ethical death at the hands of a hunter would be much preferrable to that of a predator.  We think our lives can be harsh sometimes, try being eaten alive...yikes!

Tndeerhunter's picture
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I was wondering just how any of you have actually seen coyotes chasing deer before?? I've seen it myself, along with 2 coyotes chasing my dog back to me in the woods, wanting to eat him (50 pound English Setter), until I took a couple shots at them. I have also seen does running in front of coyotes and then killed them (coyotes). If wolves kill elk, and there is ZERO question of that, then coyotes kill deer on a regular basis. My opinion is that the coyotes dogged this deer for miles, got it exhausted and then killed it. Let me ask you. "Ever seen a coyote walking?" Nope! They simply jog/lope along and are built to "dog" a deer to death.

chrisp's picture
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Yes i have Tennessee,couple

Yes i have Tennessee,couple year's ago durin bow season had about 5 or 6 chase'n a full grown deer.Dont no weather they got it or not but i do believe they'll chase it to death.They take turn's on who is leed dog,and everytime that deer stop's they'll nip at it.Them dog's get it in their head i believe they'll take an Elephant down.But that same year i watched a kowyote aggravate a calf for hour's.Calf could'nt have been a few week's old,dont no why kowyote did'nt Dvour it,he finally walk'd on off.The next week i found out that the calf had died,not from kowyote.

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  I would have to say that


I would have to say that the pictures do tell the story.  I can't tell how many coyotes were attacking this deer but it appears that they had been attacking it for far longer than what the trail cam has captured.  So I am of the opinion they wore this deer down to the point of total fatigue that all it could finally do is find a spot and defend itself to the end.  I think the wounds on the back end are from the continous battle he had with those coyotes.  As more of the pictures are seen the more that rear end wound begins to open up with more blood draining plus you see new wounds created and bleeding as the pictures continue.  Do I think it happens all of the time - no... but I do think if the coyotes are relentless and they take turns in the battle of wearing out the deer then we see what happens within these trail cam shots.  The sick and the young are definitely the most likely focus of coyotes - an easy kill and an easy meal.  Like wolves, coyotes can continue a pursuit for long periods.  Who knows - this could have happened within a fenced in area so the deer only had limited fleeing distance.  Hard to tell but based on these pictures it is easy to agree that it does happen. 



buffybr's picture
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coyotes and deer

On two separate occasions, I've seen a single coyote chasing an adult mule deer doe.  No, I did not see the yote kill the deer, but in both cases, the yote was close on the heels of the deer.  One of the times, the coyote chased the doe down a steep road cutbank, and when the doe hit the road, she stumbled and fell.  She was not hurt in the fall, but if she had been, the yote could have easily caught her.

An otherwise healthy deer can be easily hurt in a chase, and then be easily caught by a predator.

On another occasion, I saw three coyotes stalking several feeding deer.  A couple of shots with a .22 LR into the ground near the yotes chased them away.  Multiple coyotes have a better chance of taking down a deer than a single yote does.

Several years ago the Montana FWP did a study on the mule deer in the Bridger Mountains near Bozeman (actually one biologist spent much of his career studying those deer).  The study found that within the first six months after the mule deer fawns were born, 45% of them were killed by coyotes. 

I no longer shoot to scare coyotes.

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